States and stages of Meeting for Learning experience
1. Decision to attend and some wavering before hand.
2. Arrival. Impressed by simplicity of accommodation whilst every detail of care and support was in place – including electric blankets and heaters in every room. By contrast, the grounds were lush and beautiful and overlooked the sea.
3. Design of the Retreat was such that generous stretches of time were set aside for walking, reading, painting, reflecting, etc.
4. We began by exploring our spiritual journey so far. With the aid of well constructed process we worked in twos; threes and groups which gradually prepared us for the 36 hours of silence. Although uncertain about its possible value, I found it to be a rich, deep experience filled with creative ideas. I did not want it to end.
5. In the period after this, a strong bonding process took place within the group. Each afternoon, in one of two groups led by a facilitator, we learned to ‘listen into being’ a member of the group.
6. The richness of the stillness experienced in these sessions is a place I have returned to since. Particularly when things seem difficult or uncertain.
7. Half way through the year which rolls out from the Retreat, I am beginning to realise how much my relationship to myself has changed. My spiritual journey is full of surprises with a steady underpinning of that of the divine and a joy in my Local Meeting.
8. Meeting for Learning is an opportunity rich in potential for growth and development in ways one could not have imagined.