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
The following explores something of the application of the above;
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 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'.
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.
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:
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.
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.)
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!