These days we hear how people are "Spiritual not Religious"and that is why they don't go to church. We at MCC Brighton feel that the spirit is a part of our everyday lives and dont let religion get in the way of that.
So we hosted a "Time to Rest and Pray" afternoon, to allow us all time to just be. Here is what one of those attending wrote about the experience:
Time to Rest and Pray event: for those who could not make it or are curious. It was very well thought out and managed, and a proper safe space of spiritual refreshment. Quick description which can only sketch it:
A short 3pm welcome with explanations of the zones, then free to do as you pleased till 6pm. downstairs (talking and interacting zone if you wanted) there were art and craft materials, space to sit and listen to music / pray together or alone / read or do your choice of stuff plus zone of serve-yourself snacks and drinks. In another room downstairs there were candles, sensory meditation aids like bowls of lavender, rosemary, and - something we all seem drawn to - the infinity candle. Could stare at that thing for hours.
Upstairs were two silent zones labelled 'water' and 'fire' on the doors. I chose what turned out to be exactly right for myself and went in to water first. Here was light, fresh, with a loop video / music of waves on rocks, islands, beach. Hypnotically attractive and relaxing. I lay on the floor (there was sofa, chair, floor cushions so you could choose your own arrangement) and watched those waves while slowly (must have taken a good hour) my mind stopped chattering about what i was cooking tomorrow, whether my kids are ok, what i need to do this week for work, financial and practical and familial anxieties and blah de blah blah. (That's the famous 'monkey mind' we all suffer from, which does not want to sit quiet and shut up, as the buddhists well know. ).
Eventually I began to let go and shut my eye to listen to the water. I felt it was washing me, carrying away all the crap-ola of daily life, the mind-noise, the world's frantic and distracting rhythms. At some point I may have dropped off for a half a minute or two. That's ok, as meditation teachers tell us. It's all good. Whatever happens is ok. In the calmer state I was now in, I prayed to hear a voice, a connection, to feel myself again in the source, where I used to spend so much time but lately have been too occupied to give space for. All I heard was my own mind slowly slowing down. That was ok. I felt 'All who are thirsty' ** singing in my head and thanked the stream of life. All good.
I got up and went next door to find 'fire', thinking that as I'd begun to wash away the worry and mind-noise, I felt ready for some good old fire energy / holy spirit / sakti / (call it what you will, it's just our presumptuous human labels. God knows what it is. We recognise it when we get touched by it but, honestly, only God knows.) In 'fire' I found a dimly lit room with purple and orange at the windows, a while bunch of candles flickering, and a mesmerising screen loop of one single large candle burning. There I again lay on the floor and stared, drifted, listened to my heart at last, felt peace and joy and all the stuff that I had for sure hoped I'd find. As in 'water', others came and went, we just smiled acknowledgement of the other person there but kept our holy silence. 'Be still and know that I am God', I remembered. In the quiet and the stillness I found that re-connection that I needed. No songs banging around in my head by now, all was peace, all was simple confident restful joy and a profound sense of love for everyone and everything in that room, that house, my world, the whole world.
When a small door knock and voice told us it was 6pm and we were invited to come and eat if we wished, or leave, or stay for a while longer, it felt like I had only just begun and could have stayed another few hours there.
To anyone curious - hope this gives a sense of the event and the kinds of events we offer anyone wanting to step out of the world / their busy life / their own busy head; anyone needing to re-connect to the source of peace, joy, love; anyone ready to let go of directed spiritual practice for an afternoon and trust the walk into their own heartspace. Caroline Osella
The Old Steine
The Alcampo Lounge
5:45 - 730pm
The Brighthelm Centre
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