The Dorset region has an active community of members who join together to meditate in groups and also hold regular days for sharing, learning and supporting one another's contemplative practice.
Some feedback from days held within Dorset:
"Beyond all expectations"
"What an interesting informative day. I shall certainly come next year"
The quiet days and events are open to all - those who have been meditating for some time but also those who are completely new and interested in finding out more. Many find that these events give them the confidence to join a regular meditation group or begin their own meditation journey. Although meditation is very simple, it is not easy and events such as these are a great opportunity for meditators to come together and share their experiences and their difficulties and realise they are not alone. Many tell us that they enjoyed the reflective nature of the days. Simply sharing the silence with others can be of great support.
Groups meet in Bridport, Christchurch, Dorchester, Poole, Sharftesbury, Wimborne and Weymouth.
Dorset Meditators Day 2019 - Deep Simplicity: The Freeing Wisdom of Meister Eckhart
A date for your diary...
This year's Dorset Meditators Day will take place on Saturday 5th October 9.30am to 4pm at the Brownsword Hall, Pummery Square, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3GW.
Prof. Mark Burrows is the leader for the day and the theme is "Deep Simplicity: The Freeing Wisdom of Meister Eckhart".
Contact Anita Finnigan - 01305 259032 firstname.lastname@example.org - for more details. Donation £12. Please bring your own lunch. Tea and coffee provided.
Sedgehill Quiet Day
“One is nearer God's Heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth”
While it’s been over 100 years since Dorothy Frances Gurney first penned those lines, had she joined a group of Dorset meditatorsfor our day of reflection and meditation at Sedgehill’s Quiet Garden on 23rd April she would have realised just how true her words remain today.
Sedgehill, situated just north of Shaftesbury is part of the Quiet Garden’s Movement where outdoor spaces are nurtured for prayer and contemplation. Sedgehill’s garden is attached to a private house and on arrival we were warmly welcomed by a smiling Pepi, our host for the day, who showed us into her kitchen, very much the heart of this happy family home. There we shared coffee and lively conversation before moving into one of the other rooms for the first of two meditations of the day.
After this, the opportunity we had all been waiting for – our chance to explore the garden! We were free to roam as we wished and, with Pepi encouraging us to keep silence while outside, our minds were also free to wander. I began my own personal tour of Sedgehill by exploring the Bluebell wood, really at its best when we visited. Seemingly endless swathes of blue flowers stretched out like a colourful carpet between the trees. Next, it was up into the amazing tree house, the envy of any school child: a large wooden structure built into the branches, much like the crow’s nest of a ship, offering shelter and solace and a bird’s eye view of the garden.
Climbing down, I sat for a while at the back of the house, sheep gently grazing to my right and birds singing in one of the nearby trees; the sun appearing from time to time and adding to the beauty of the scene.
Being April, sunshine was limited and following the afternoon meditation I stayed inside and read, enjoying the warmth of the large open fire. Then, just before we left, there was still time for one more foray into the Garden. Standing and admiring the view of the fields stretching out in front of the house I did feel that there is a different type of silence in nature than is found indoors. Perhaps too it is that very silence that brings us closer to the heart of God.
Lauretta Kerridge, Dorchester
Dorset Meditators Day 2016 - Thomas Merton
‘Listen to the depths within your own heart’ – A day on Thomas Merton with Bridget Hewitt organised by the Christian Meditation groups in Dorset.
Meditation is, by its very nature, a uniquely personal and individual activity. There is however much to be gained from meditating within a group and more so from attending a day such as the one led by Bridget Hewitt (a member of the World Community for Christian Meditation) on the theme of Thomas Merton. Bridget was an excellent speaker, her enthusiasm for the teachings of Merton was infectious and the depth of her knowledge was incredible. Information about Merton’s life and works was interspersed throughout the day with contemplative activities and periods set aside for meditation.
The activities included a ‘Lectio’ style study of one of Merton’s teachings where, in silence, we became aware of the words which were speaking directly to us. The passage Bridget chose for this spoke of a ‘cosmic dance’ wherein by taking God seriously we were somehow freed from our own ‘self-important’ and ‘tragic seriousness’ to a life of ‘joy and spontaneity’. There was also chance to share our responses and we began to consider how these teachings would relate to present day situations such as the war in Syria. None of us could deny the freedom or the power of the contemplative life but a further quote from Merton gave the most definitive answer, written though it was more than half a century ago.
For me, one of the most enlightening activities of the day was when Bridget gave us all a photograph of a countryside path to reflect on as if it were our own life’s journey. Mine showed a rocky foreground stretching down towards a dark and foreboding wood – frankly a rather depressing outlook. Thankfully, as the exercise was opened out for discussion a fellow Meditator noted that while our pictures may show where we were going they could just as easily be photographing where we had been. It was with some relief that I could then imagine myself glancing back to where I’d already walked before heading onwards and upwards on my way.
In many ways, we learnt that Merton himself had trod quite a rocky path before turning to the monastic life. From someone who had categorically stated in his younger years “I believe in nothing” Bridget introduced us to a man who came to live in ‘awareness of the cosmic dance’ and to move ‘in time with the Dancer’. By the end of our Meditation Day we had come to discover someone who recognised the depths within the human heart and who was able to profess the belief: “Our real journey in life is interior: it is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the action of love and growth in our hearts”
1st October, 2016
Meditation and the Art of Managing Distractions
On a Saturday in September 2014, following on from the example given by the two Dorchester groups in meeting up to share meditation and lunch, the 3 groups in the east of Dorset did the same. On a nice warm Saturday, congregating in the hall underneath the church of St Joseph’s in Branksome Park, about 20 meditators settled down to pray. We then meditated, or at least we tried to. As soon as we started, the church organist began to play wedding music in the church above.
We knew that there was a wedding later in the day but we hadn’t allowed for the possibility that the organist would need to practice. This did not deter us, however, and we meditated despite the tuneful wedding marches. After our twenty minutes of ‘silence’, the facilitator for the day asked each person to introduce themselves. She also asked them to comment on how they had coped with the distraction. Some wonderful responses showed that whilst the music was evident, on the whole it did not prevent most people from meditating. And we all felt a camaraderie at having managed to be still and silent in such challenging circumstances. And it enabled us to feel more connected as we ate our lunch together. This was a wonderful sharing and the three groups have decided to meet up again next May.