Welcome to 'Ruah Rest'  the website of Ruah Contemplative Cottage

May the holy place of Ruah be filled with new love, belonging vision and imagination- a new incarnation of Gods beautiful Presence, (Fr. Daniel J O Leary 2017).

 'Soulfulness' -Listening for the Whispers in the Stillness…


The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep. (Rumi)

  In order to listen and interpret the hunger in our own hearts, and in the hearts of other pilgrims, we committed to an  in-depth period of time in discernment . Through this process, we  sensed that we were being drawn to offer our home, our gifts and our time to create a unique,  contemporary  model of  Christian Contemplative  Living. We see this venture as one small response to the  present cultural  relational fragmentation  which seems to be at the root of   much of our  modern, social and ecological issues.   Many are tired from trudging along  the slippery ground of materialism and individualism, with its  continuous insecurity  gaping  underfoot.  In our work in retreats nationally and internationally, we meet many who feel isolated in their spiritual journey and feel dissatisfied with mere private devotional practice; they search  for something deeper; a spirituality  that connects with an authentic sense of soulful living, purpose and belonging. 
In our listening,  we identified seven repeating ‘soul cries’ ;

 (1) Transformation and Well being. 

(2)  Balanced lifestyle, simplicity

(3)  Integrated approach - Body Mind Spirit. 

(4)    Care of Creation.                        

5)     Contemplation and  Stillness

(6)    Creative Expression

(7)   Community.

The following explores something of  the  application of the above;

  •   Balanced lifestyle

Stress is one of the maladies of our time; where many  are  ‘time poor’  and  fatigued  in spirit.   Consequently, there is an emerging  collective cry in consciousness for a  way of life that offers a more harmonious  rhythm for  body, mind and spirit, one that   balances  work and rest, connectedness  and solitude.

 The vision of Ruah invites us to reject a culture of excess, while  stripping  back some of the artificiality  of  our competitive culture,  with its  idols of busyness and speed.   In seeking   a ‘less is more’ approach, we try to refrain from patterns  of living which   disturb or contradict  a sacred rhythm of  life, not just in ourselves but in all of creation. .

Refusing a ‘fast food mentality’ permeates into every area of life and creates a ripple effect.   We commit to, and assist others in creating  deliberate mindful pauses in the midst of today’s ‘plugged –in, full on’ pace of life’.    We commit time to gratitude;  stillness, and a savouring  of the  simple gifts that life is offering.

We write a short Sabbath Reflection which we offer to our on line community.

(If you wish to be included in this, just let us know.)

  • Body, Mind, Spirit.​

Many people shared their sense of disconnection from traditional religious  practices, yet  continue to long for  places and spaces to  express, explore and connect with a spirituality that speaks into everyday living.   The eroding and collapsing  of institutionalism has left a ‘wandering in the desert’ experience for many. Today’s seekers are searching for a  body- mind-spirit integration, a  connection that creates a visceral fire in the belly. We feel that there is a growing  need  to accompany people who are drawn to a more  mystical and  embodied expression of spirituality.  

  •  Care of the Earth.                                     

We are not just  passive spectators, but we are each  co- creators in an unfolding, expanding universe. Evolution unfolds through each of us as we share the planet with millions of other species.  Our common home is like a sister, St Francis of Assisi told us. We cannot ignore her poignant  call.  We commit to an ongoing  exploration  of  the  document laudoti Si: This document  calls us to ‘an ecological conversion’ advising that  ‘it would be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination’. (82)  Alongside, our extended community, we cultivate and guard the garden the Creator  has given us. We try to be mindful of   small everyday changes   where we refuse  those  habits of  conveniences which add  anything toxic to  the environment.  

Our circle of care  must  extend to all of creation because  at  the very heart of the universe is the movement of inter-relational  community; we are all impacting on  one another through  our interconnection in  the  awesome web of life.  In Ruah, we feel it important to welcome  creation’s  unexpected guests , like our brother  fox who frequently visits us in the back field (his name is Sean!).  We welcome  our little sister birds who have made their nest  under the roof in the corner of our  house, (especially Sheila who has taken up residence in the extractor fan from the kitchen). These are all included in our prayer for creation; 


In our meditation room, (Lorg De), intentions are regularly placed  so that an energy of  blessing continually  surrounds and  supports all of creation.

You are welcome to add your  own prayer intentions here.  

  •  Contemplation and Stillness

The mindfulness revolution speaks  to a society which  places  a high emphasis on productivity and  advancement. While this is  good in many ways, the constant striving can encourage mind-states  of craving and perpetual disquiet. Consequently, many are  now searching for stillness, especially for mental wellbeing and balance.  If we  habitually live  in a  state of  excessive mental activity, striving  or reactivity,  we build up  stress in mind and body. In our work in retreats, we have continuously encountered the question – ‘how can one integrate  Mindfulness with Christian faith’? As a response, we  have specialised in  what we consider the ‘best kept secret’ the treasures of mindful living obtainable through a practice  of  Christian Contemplation  ‘the presence in the present moment’.  


We have extensively researched and explored Christian Mindfulness and how it can be interweaved with new discoveries in neuroscience. We offer this holistic spiritual wellbeing approach through a variety of soul nourishing retreats, programmes, etc.


  •  Creative Expression.

Creative expression is one way of sharing the fruits of contemplation.  The Celtic  Monks  were known for offering  creativity as service; illuminating  and decorating manuscripts so that sacred texts would be protected.   We seek to find a variety of ways to integrate spirituality and creativity (music, poetry, film, ritual). These  add  beauty and  glimpses of transcendence to  our world. There is a mystic and an artist in all of us and we have to find new  creative ways to express  these archetypes ( inside and outside monastery walls).  St Catherine of Sienna reminds us  ‘become who you are meant to be,  and you will set the whole world on fire'.

  •  Community

 The idea of a Domestic Dwelling as faith community is not a modern concept, but reflects the earliest form in which the Christian Church emerged. We seek, therefore, to make community and hospitality the primary characteristic and central  vision beating in the heart  of  Ruah.   We have tried to make our home into a place of hospitality, while cultivating our contemplative  gardens as a safe holding  and resting place.


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For a brief look at what we offer in Ruah, please visit our courses & events page.

  • Transformation and Wellbeing

Discovering and living from the true self   is a journey of continual growth, healing  and letting go.   If we are to find harmony  with others, we have to begin to seek it from within our own psyche, we have to journey compassionately with the  shadow and  split- off parts of ourselves. We often  discover that there are  shimmering gems  hidden in the rubble  of the shadow self and when we excavate them, we are fuller human beings.  When we   practice  compassionate  acceptance rather than feverish perfectionism (easier said than done) healing can emerge.   We  cannot  do this  journey  with mere  dispassionate objective analysis; it needs an authentic  commitment to  awareness,  sometimes  requiring  the aid of an Anam Cara  to help us in the process.


We commit to using our years of study, training  and professional qualifications in psychology, psychotherapy, spiritual guidance, supervisory practice etc, in all of our programmes, as well as in one to one professional practice see:

www. corkwellbeingcounselling.ie


The above are not   something  we do – but something we  invite, and open to, something we continually  seek to participate in. The above seven ideals  of Ruah are   similar, to  what in monastic terms, was known  as  ‘a rule of life. ’ Just as  great founders,  like St Benedict, and others,  breathing the language of their  time,  created  rules over  1500 years ago, we seek to create a rule of life/way of life  relevant  for today. 


Desert Monasticism


We have chosen to draw threads from the Desert  and Celtic Monastic traditions –  where we seek to  put  ancient  wisdom into new clothes! In the 3rd to 5th century AD,  desert dwellers( ammas and abbas) formed small communities in response to their concern around the growing power of institutionalism  and decadence of the Roman Empire at that time. They chose silence and detachment  in order to ponder and savour the life giving word of the Gospel. They chose to be mindful and intentional in order to orientate the heart  towards God. Stability,  balance between work and prayer and the practice of hospitality were central to the way of life of the ascetics. They believed that closeness to nature helped their prayer. Their chosen sites were remote,  often windy places. (a bit like Ruah!).    Small villages and communities emerged as many others  became attracted to their way of life. Many people came for spiritual direction, and they too  became more  counter cultural in committing to silence, simplicity, scripture and contemplation. They   believed the hurried life was an enemy to  serenity because  of how it can drown out what they called the ‘whispers of God’. 


We feel  the 'Desert  Way' may be calling us again in this present age!   Through  quietening and slowing down, we tend to discover  that the more secure we feel, the less we need.  In fact,  we  discover that, not only do we  have enough, but  we  are enough!  (and ultimately love is enough.) 


Celtic Christianity.

The Celtic Christians drew inspiration from the Desert Dwellers.  Celtic Spirituality flourished in Ireland from the 5th to the 12th century. While the Celtic Monks  believed  that the Sacred  was revealed in each moment, they also  believed there were certain  ‘thin places’,  which they regarded as thresholds between time and eternity. They believed strongly that nature carried something of Divine Revelation and so had a deep respect for its rhythms and seasons. Hospitality was key and so they developed ‘The Celtic Rune of Hospitality’ (an inscription  you will see hanging in our home in Ruah) The Celts were known for  putting out to sea and following where the wind/spirit would take them.  The Celtic tradition emphasised the need to move out to the edges – to those places  which lie  beyond confined and  safe territories.


We heard this very challenging call  when the Ruah breeze pushed our little boats along…out beyond our secure positions (We both resigned from our employment in order to commit to a new way of life). This was an unexpected challenge but one we could not refuse to respond to!