2022 We have decided not to begin our 2022 Program at Open Sanctuary until at least March because of the current situation with the Omicron virus.
When we do return our program will include: Weekly Meditation on Mondays with Mandy A monthly retreat day with Linda A monthly Wisdom Circle with David.
We may also run a weekly group looking at the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, using both historical criticism and action methods to help bring these foundational texts to new life.
Lockdown, Loss & Languishing
“How are you?” I have found myself inwardly reacting to both answering and asking that question over the past number of weeks with a sense of ground-hog day. It’s a question that for the most part has been asked and answered from within the socially distanced space of lockdown. When I am asked the question, my usual answer is ‘fine thanks’. However, that is just a pat answer for something that until recently I wasn’t quite able to name. Then I heard, and perhaps you have too, Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, speak of the state of ‘languishing’. Ah, now I have a way of describing the sense of, well…languishing that I’ve been feeling. So, what is languishing? As Grant says it isn’t depression or burn out but rather a sense of stagnation. It feels as though “you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.” And he says, it might be the dominant emotion of 2021 due to the pandemic. In our neck of the woods, we came straight from Black Summer into the pandemic. And whilst the fire crisis was more acute and felt more dangerous the covid crisis has been very prolonged. Each of these events has changed our lives. Little wonder we may experience some languishing. Yet it may well be grief that underlies the feeling of ennui. We have lost what was considered ‘normal’ way back in 2019. And even as we emerge from lockdown it may still be with a sense of the threat of the coronavirus and the knowledge that the warming climate will likely bring more drought, fires and floods. An antidote to languishing, it is suggested, is ‘flow’. To become absorbed in an activity or project has been shown to be helpful. It may be a jigsaw puzzle, word game, Netflix program or novel. What matters is that it be something in which we can become immersed. If focusing is a challenge, as it well may be, it might help to draw boundaries around times in our days when we choose to resist interruption. Yes, even in lockdown we can be regularly interrupted or choose interruption! As we know fragmented attention is another epidemic in this age. The practice of meditation may help. Or, if even this seems challenging then perhaps the simple way of ‘dadirri’ might help us to become immersed and recollected. Still, quiet listening and paying attention in nature brings us in touch with the deep spring that is inside each of us says Miriam Rose Ungunmerr. In a time of languishing, we may find some salve and some energy in simply being in the garden, forest, beach or by the river. So, if loss and accompanying grief can lead to languishing it is good to name it. And in naming it to then address it. We are emerging from lockdown now. If you have been languishing* then hopefully this emergence will help. We will soon be resuming someactivities at Open Sanctuary. I hope that when we come together there and ask each other ‘how are you?’ we will be able to share the reality of our own experience and listen to each other with love – the ultimate antidote!
Linda Please Explore Our Website
Contemplation for an age of Crisis
The Black Summer of 2019/20 appeared as an apocalyptic event. The extent of the fires, their ferocity, their spread and the length of time they ran for, were horrifying. Hot on the heels of fire we entered the time of Covid. The true meaning of the word apocalypse has to do with the revealing of something. And, as others have said, if we are not listening and looking, we will miss that which is being revealed to us in this time through events such as fire and pandemic. We cannot return to ‘normal’ because in many respects it is ‘normal’ that has brought us to the time of crises that we are now in. So how do we live in a world that will see more crises? How do we meet the challenges of our time with compassion, equilibrium and wisdom? And more, what is being called for in these times? How are we to respond to the need for both personal stability and resilience and the need for humanity to find common purpose and resolve to unify in facing the future together?
The central focus of Open Sanctuary has always been the practice of silence and coming together to encourage a contemplative stance towards life. As the writer Maggie Ross says, “Life hangs in the balance”. * We are at a precarious moment of history and we have a choice to make. She says, “The choice for silence or noise, for carefulness or carelessness, is ours in every moment. To choose silence as the minds default in an accelerating consumer culture – a culture that sustains itself by dehumanizing people through the unrelenting pressure of clamor, confusion, and commodification – is indeed a subversive act.”
The crises that we face will, ultimately, be resolved at the spiritual level of humanity. When we are unable to listen because of the noise of our minds and our world we become less human. At Open Sanctuary we hope to foster our capacity for listening, simplicity and stillness such that we will make the choice for silence, carefulness. Choosing silence is a choice for wholeness. It is a choice for wilderness. It is a choice for Life.
Silence is our natural habitat, and the work of silence is, as it were, a process of returning to the wild”.
If you would like to join us at Open Sanctuary, this year we will be offering:
Meditation every Monday morning during school term 10.30am to 12.30pm. Using discussion and reflective practices, meditation offers us an ancient and new way of engaging with the creation around us through our community of Open Sanctuary to renew trust and love of life. Contact Mandy
Dadirri Days - On each fourth Friday of the month. A quiet day based on sessions of meditation. Shared silence informs the morning with space for contemplative walking, journaling or sitting at the foot of the mountain. All are welcome to join in this time of simplicity, silence and stillness. Contact Linda or Lyndall Preparing for Parousia - Going Deeper. Every second Saturday in the month from March onwards, from 3pm to 5pm. A discussion and practise group in seeking Presence, including the re-capitulating of our personal stories and the human story with a particular emphasis on consciousness and its evolution. Contact David.
We hope you will join us as we seek to grow in the contemplative wisdom, hope and quiet joy, so urgently needed in the world.