Many of us often first dip our toes into the spiritual waters by visiting a retreat centre. Modern life is rushed and harried and does not allow for the long, slow thoughts that our heart and soul longs for. Life is crammed with action and deadlines, and one of the ways to calm it down is to leave it all behind and travel to the place of retreat, the temenos, which invites us to turn within.
We arrive at the sanctuary door which beckons us into the emptiness of ourselves, into the garden of rest and repose where angels hover to protect our inner journey. In the company of a Buddha in a green shady grove of forested nature we are invited to a quiet contemplation and to listen to our heart’s deepest urges. Or we may pray, meditate and sing sacred chants in a simple chapel to re-remember the rhythms of the sacred. With our breath and attention we return to the present, to the real, and discover again the true, deep meaning of our life.
What We Need Is Here
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
In the ancient faith; what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
--- Wendell Berry ---
For some, the interval spent in the enclosed container of the mystic garden is enough to rejuvenate us and we follow the arched pathway back into daily life again. For others the gentle nudges within turn into a burning desire, a fire that cannot be quenched with anything but a full immersion into the Beloved. Now the temple becomes a portal to the journey with the teacher, and whilst still a place of retreat and quiet begins to reveal its fiery challenges. We will explore this more hidden aspect of the hermitage. in more detail next month when we pick up the story of our seeker again.
All photos were taken in McGregor by myself, at Temenos and in the gardens of the village. Whilst on my webpage I invite you to explore my offerings, book a consultation or send me an email sharing an experience or a dream, or just to stay in touch!