Ten days into my UK foray, this is a belated first blog post! I've been travelling around with intermittent wifi, and I've also had trouble with my camera battery. In fact, I thought it had died and it's meant I haven't been able to take as many scenic photos as I otherwise would have wanted to share. However, that problem now seems solved, so I'm hoping I'll be able to share more of the next part of the trip.
But let me backtrack a bit! I arrived in London to chilly spring weather. I am staying at Meditatio House where a small oblate community of the World Community for Christian Meditation is resident. There is meditation three times a day in the lovely meditation room overlooking the garden.
The hanging on the wall in the meditation room was a gift from the Dalai Lama to the community - it depicts a beautiful nativity scene in Eastern idiom - and is a sign of the Dalai Lama's friendship with Father Laurence and our fellowship in contemplation.
The next day I was on a train up to Penrith in Cumbria (the Lakes district) - though I got to see a little of the beautiful gardens in Regents Park on the way to the station.
The countryside in the Lakes District was extraordinarily beautiful, and I MUCH regretted my malfunctioning camera. But a couple of glimpses were had.
The retreat day I led in Windermere went well, and then I repeated the same talks the next day in Northumbria on the other side of the Pennines. In both places, I was beautifully looked after by the meditators in those areas and it is wonderful to make these connections and feel we're embarked on the same work.
Next stop was also in Northumberland - the retreat centre of Minsteracres - where I was helping Father Laurence with an intensive eight day silent retreat for about 30 people. This is an international retreat for meditators, and involved eight meditation periods per day as well as contemplative walking and short spiritual direction sessions with each participant. The way the quality of the silence deepened over the week was very noticeable and I found it personally really renewing and helpful.
The retreat finished yesterday afternoon, and Father Laurence took me and a couple of other 'foreigners' to visit Hadrian's Wall before we left the north. That was a lovely experience (and the weather has finally warmed up) - though a little confusing. There were so many dry stone walls in the sheep paddocks that we couldn't work out which wall we were supposed to be admiring! (we did figure it out eventually!)
I'm now back in Meditatio House in London, and doing some work towards the next round of engagements.
I have been mindful of the Benedictus community gathering this Saturday and holding you in my heart. I send my love to you all and blessings for this coming week.