Posted on: Friday 20 August 2021
Posted in: Videos and Conversations
Oceans or Mountains, which is your go-to place?
I was reminded at a weekend retreat of the importance many of us attach to a sacred place. I have shared with students that one of my favourite restorative practices is walking on Main Beach.
When considering the question above, I fondly recalled sitting on a hillside outside a village in the Lake Como district of Italy. The memory took me back to a contemplative afternoon over a decade ago, but one that continues to enliven my sense of spiritual connection.
Serious contemplative teaching is firmly located in the traditions of Celtic Christianity, and in recent times has regained its popularity in Anglican practice. Many will be familiar with the walking of a labyrinth as a contemplative tradition; in contemporary times it is a practice that invites those who may not be aligned in religion, but seek the opportunity to walk, take time, and find a little more space in their lives. The labyrinth we planted earlier this year as part of our Community Garden is beginning to show some growth. As it gets established, we hope that walking the gravel trail between the hedges will provide a contemplative space for all.
In late July, our Pre-Prep students, teachers, and our Grounds and Maintenance team, continued the extension of our gardens. Father Patrick was on hand for the Blessing and assisted the small hands with maneuvering the spaces of soil. The beauty of our campus and the joy of the students are often remarked upon by our visitors. The stewardship of our environment, as well as time to be in this space to think, restores our sense of wellbeing – so important in this present time.
The words of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (2002-2012), are well worth considering, “To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter”.
I am grateful, and I believe students share this appreciation, that our Religious Education curriculum also facilitates an opportunity to find a little space in our lives to take time to think, and to connect.
Our Year 12 students are completing their RE studies this year with an examination of identity. We contemplate the following:
Serious contemplative teaching is located in Celtic Christianity (R.Rohr, 2018). In addition to our environment, the space to consider texts such as the well-known Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) enable us to wonder, what it means to be Christian.
In my class, our time with the text was not driven by discussion or argument; our time was spent individually creating patterns, motifs, and patterns to surround the text, as we sat with the language.
A little time and a little space in our lives to ponder and restore.
Our families, their friends and relationships continue to endure uncertain and difficult times, I hope that each one of you finds time and space in your own day to contemplate and restore.