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The still point of the turning world: finding rest amidst suffering

This event has ended

n this 5-day retreat we will explore how the spiritual philosophy of medieval mystic Meister Eckhart can help us in life’s ‘why me?’ moments. After getting to know the principles of Eckhart’s theological outlook in philosophical lectures and group discussions, we will move on to consider how they form the foundation of Ursula Fleming’s pioneering work in pain relief. Practical demonstration and practice will take place in daily guided sessions of restorative Yin Yoga. There will be time each day for reflection, questions and journaling.

Above all, we will seek together to find stillness – to hold space at what Ursula Fleming called ‘the centre of the tornado’ – a place of peace amongst the world’s turmoil.

Ursula, who worked in the field of pain control, found that a doctrine of acceptance and self-grounding, through focus on breath and letting-go, enabled even those experiencing insupportable pain to reduce their suffering. Her simple and practical approach was profoundly influenced by her study of Meister Eckhart.

The Fleming Method has much in common with restorative practices such as Yin Yoga. Together we will work through simple floor-based relaxation suitable for all bodies and levels of experience (with chair-based variations for those unable to lie).

As we learn to let go of each moment and accept each new moment in all its objective reality, we will find ourselves able to change our reaction to seemingly intractable circumstances, as we allow ourselves to surrender into the (literal and metaphorical) ground.

This retreat is both for the beginning and ongoing meditators. There will be four periods of meditation a day to accommodate your level of practice. Mornings will be in silence through breakfast and lunch, with the afternoon opening to times of rest and solitude and a convivial dinner where you can get to know your neighbour.
This event takes place at Bonnevaux and offers an opportunity to discover the rich cultural and historical French and European heritage of the 12th-century Abbaye de Bonnevaux, as well as to explore the varied and natural beauty of the land which we cultivate as a model of ecological responsibility.

Rebecca Stephens

Dr Rebecca Stephens is a scholar and a teacher in her daily life. Chair of The Eckhart Society, Rebecca is a regular speaker at the Society’s annual conference, co-organises and presents Eckhartian One Day Events in York and Cambridge, and is an Associate Editor of the journal, Medieval Mystical Theology.

ArrivalWednesday 22 May 2024, check-in: 13h30 – 15h30
DepartureMonday 27 May 2024, after lunch (14h00)
Monastic Retreats