At the beginning of May we celebrated our Tenth Anniversary holding meditation retreats at Minsteracres. It was 10 years ago when I decided to unite local meditation groups where we could practice and learn from one another.

I visited Minsteracres and after a meeting with Fr Jeroen we held our first retreat in March 2008. Now in 2018 we still have 12 attendees including four of the original founders!

These quiet retreats are the backbone of practice for many of us, providing an opportunity to settle into silence and to ‘let go’ deeply. Then back to normal daily life! There need be no real division between quiet retreat and daily life, this stillness can carry through daily. The retreats provide encouragement and the strength to live with a ‘true heart’.

While silent retreats are a good way to connect to that ‘true heart’ it’s also very useful to be able to connect with other people on the same path. In Buddhism we have a term, ‘Sangha’, which means something like ‘Community’. Since spiritual practice is often difficult to do alone, together we can give and receive the nourishment, guidance, encouragement, teaching, and motivation needed to keep going. We felt that by bringing the local meditation groups together at a regular local weekend retreat we could foster that sense of ‘Sangha’.

Looking back today, Minsteracres has been fundamental to keeping these retreats going. Although our Zen Buddhist practice might sound a bit exotic to many, it’s basically just a simple and straightforward contemplative spiritual practice with a simple and direct meditation practice at its heart.

At Minsteracres we feel a sense of groundedness, peace, stillness and prayer. This helps us so much to make our retreats work. We recognise the clear and obvious spiritual practice that shines through the members of the community. Minsteracres has supported us, been ‘Sangha’ to us, as it is to all those who come.

Thank you Minsteracres for the last ten years!

Steve Roberts