Emma, from Australia, was part of the Young Adults Retreat during the past summer.
Tell us a little bit about you, where you come from, what brought you to the world of meditation?
I’m Emma, born and raised in the land down under (Australia) and I love any chance to explore outside – especially by the ocean! I was at a point in my spiritual journey where I was seeking a different way to connect with god. I felt like I’d come to the end of all the ways I had known and I wanted something deeper. I sought out a Spiritual Director, she happened to run a meditation group and invited me along.
How do you feel about the experience of meditation? How important is it in your life?
Meditation has been an interesting journey for me. For a long time I was really frustrated, I felt like I wasn’t doing it right, I began to ask questions like, is this even worth it? What are the benefits? After my trip to Bonnevaux, where I spent a week meditating in community complemented with teaching from Father Laurence I began to see that it wasn’t about what I got out of it (although there are some great benefits) but it was about learning to sit with that frustration, learning to be present and allowing everything else to fall away. As I’ve continued my practice of meditation I’ve valued the chance to just stop, breathe and be. This has become so important for my mental health, spiritual practice and has created space for me to listen (to myself and god).
How long have you stayed at Bonnevaux? What have you enjoyed the most about being there?
I spent one week at Bonnevaux as part of the young meditators retreat, then another week walking the Camino from Bonnevaux with a group of meditators. I loved experiencing the daily life of the residents, learning from them and their rhythms. It was wonderful to get involved practically by assisting in the gardens – just another way of learning to be.
How do you see the importance of being in a community?
I believe we were designed to be in community with others. Doing life in this way encourages, challenges, supports and grows you like nothing else can. When it comes to meditation I find the support of a community invaluable, there are times when I meditate alone and I can easily finish early, get distracted more easily or not even meditate. But with a group I find their presence encourages me to keep on when it’s challenging.
What would you say to others who are thinking to come and visit?
I highly recommend a visit to Bonnevaux. It’s a space of tranquility, love, and refreshment. From the stunning grounds, the wonderful humans and to the daily rhythm of meditation; you won’t regret a visit.