By Denise Fischer
I was headed to Lebh Shomea for my first silent retreat. I was new to silence and just learning about contemplative practices.
For our first meal in the dining hall with the large round community tables, I avoided eye contact with the other people seated at the table. I tried to hurry through my meal…looked at the ceiling…looked out the windows…examined my plate as if peering into a microscope. And then I paused and took a breath. As I put the next bite of food in my mouth, I actually tasted the food. I set my fork down. I chewed slowly. And then I realized that it was not so much about being SILENT as it was about being PRESENT. Being present to myself, to the food, to the other people in the room. It was about being there in the moment. It was about listening and breathing and being open.
I settled into the rhythm of the retreat. There were times when it was okay to speak, but mostly we enjoyed the natural beauty around us. We walked, we read, we sat in the sunshine on screened porches and opened ourselves up to the silence…the silence that brought us closer to God.
When I returned from that trip, meeting with others at church and sitting in silence became a way to connect not only with God, but with each other. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about Christian contemplation through FUMC, and for “silence in community” which is now a part of my spiritual practice.
Contemplative Worship Series
June 25, July 23, and August 27
9:00 a.m., Murchison Chapel
Summer is a time for vacation, rejuvenation, and recreation, right? If a trip to the pristine beaches or high mountains (or whatever is your favorite place) isn’t in the cards for you this summer, how about trying mini-vacations at FUMC? During the summer, a series of introduction to mindfulness meditation sessions will take place in Murchison Chapel. If you would like a safe place to explore a new path, or revisit an old one, join us.