....."40 days ago I began this retreat course full of high octane enthusiasm. I’d felt inwardly drawn to apply for the course since hearing about the previous 40-day Course held last year. This prompted me to formally retire from work on my 70th birthday, and to go freelance. This easy arrangement made it possible for me to be here.
My intention was to put myself under the ‘order’ this school is under, as a student. I understand that order to be non-dualistic and according to ‘From the Real to the Real. This is what I hoped to follow.
Although I was familiar to some extent with the course study material,
in the study sessions it opened in fresh ways and I found myself given both confidence
and even some valuable insights.
But was this a bit of a trap?
Based on past glimpses and memories I fully expected even more to be revealed to me! And this in spite of the fact that what I had actually asked for was constancy. Frankly, I do find constancy of awareness a bit hard going when it comes to it – very unsettled meditations and of course being so easily distracted most of the time.
Suddenly I was left feeling not very authentic, having tried too hard in the wrong way, been more than a bit too knowing and deeply afraid of leaving here unchanged.
Hopefully, I am now more of a student than when I first got here 40 days ago.
As for the question of what has been realised during the course:
For me, it’s that if I’m serious about this matter I need to devote more time to it each day. God willing I still have time – so no excuses.
And the other thing is, I need all the help I can get.
A couple of days ago a line of verse came to mind.
‘If thy thought be a rose…’
I looked it up and it was from Rumi.
‘If your thought is a rose
You are a rose garden
And if it is a thorny bush
You are fuel for the fire’
I now feel there is much more to this verse than my first sense of it, and I truly hope to be drawn deeply into its meaning and mystery.
And finally, love and gratitude to all who have prepared for and supported this course, past and present, seen and unseen.
This school shouldn’t be possible – but it is.
Thank God for it all, and for the beautiful food.
And so the caravan moves on…"
40 day Course
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The Red Sail
Katharine Tiernan writes about St Cuthbert's years
in retreat, for Beshara Magazine
The Twenty-Nine Pages
An Introduction to Ibn 'Arabi's Metaphysics of Unity
is available from Beshara Publications