Being Peace Cottage
Being on mindful retreat with the Community of Interbeing means you get up early.
Your reward? Seeing the sun rise over the gentle hills of Dorset. We follow the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, and the early morning chant before the first meditation of the day is softly heard on the still air:-
The Dharma body is bringing morning light.
In concentration , our hearts are at peace, a half-smile is borne upon our lips.
This is a new day, we vow to go through it in mindfulness.
The sun of wisdom has now risen, shining in every direction.
Bring your mind into meditation.....
The CoI has bought a small cottage in a quiet spot in Dorset, to act as a place to practice in small groups of up to six (or in solitude if you wish). They have been fundraising over many years, and had grand ideas of a big centre, but realised that small beginnings are easier to live with.
Monks from the monastery at Plum Village came to stay for a while and join in the celebrations on the first retreat.
We all walked in silence up to the cottage where the monks had offered to ceremonially plant a tree (an amelanchier, a small tree ideally suited to the chalky downland soil and windy conditions)
There was a respectful atmosphere, but great fun too. They had put traditional bowls of fruit and incense in what was the small front room, but is now set aside for quiet meditation. Some of us did wonder if the smoke alarm would go off with all the incense being wafted around!
They carried bowls of water with small flowers sprinkled on top of the water to water in the new tree. A very happy time. Great views from the cottage too!
The area around the cottage is used as a field study centre for children, and has a small collection of old fashioned animal breeds and an orchard. The blossom is gorgeous among primroses.
They also ensure that the cowslip meadow has excellent conditions. I dont think I have ever witnessed such a mass of cowslips ever before. A path through the field has been mown so that you can walk down the hill without worrying about crushing the delicate flowers.
An amazing sight today. But you can also see modern farming on the hill opposite - this bright yellow splash of a rape field is a crop that is very recent in English farming.
Its very lovely to have such a place so close to my house - only ten minutes drive away!