In this article, we meet Philip Kitchen, UK Ambassador for Bonnevaux who tells his experience of meditation.
“I qualified as an accountant and spent the majority of my working career in and around London. I came to meditation relatively late in life but it has become an important part of my life for the last 20 years. I have been a group leader, area co-ordinator and member of the UK Action Group. I have also worked full time for WCCM and latterly been a consultant with the trustees of WCCM. I now live in Wales and am the UK Ambassador for Bonnevaux within the UK.
Meditation is important because…
Meditation is for me an important part of the way my faith is expressed. It provides a restorative energy resource when life decides to tap on your shoulder and say this busy-ness is all a bit too much. Contemplative Christianity speaks to many aspects of life today and this wider reach of meditation is an affirmation for me of being in the right place – especially so when the world seems a little bit too chaotic at times.
Contemplative Christianity speaks to many aspects of life today and this wider reach of meditation is an affirmation for me of being in the right place – especially so when the world seems a little bit too chaotic at times.
Peace and tranquillity here
I have so far only stayed in one of the local B&Bs near to Bonnevaux there being ‘no room at the inn’ at the time I was visiting. The peace and tranquillity of the place is absolutely the stand out memory of my time there. The beauty in the grounds around Bonnevaux is amazing. To meditate with the Community was powerful and to share mealtimes very much the same experience. There is much that ‘comes together’ in Bonnevaux – it is in an area laden with historical significance for France, the Church and Christianity.
The importance of being in a community
Being in a community is vital – it also underpins the whole ethos of WCCM and John Main wrote significantly about the importance of meditating in Community. For those that participate the bonds that meditation in Community creates are powerful and long lasting. A friendship formed through meditating with someone can be quickly re-engaged – even if there many months between meetings. The bonds formed through meditation work at a deep level. For my visit the friendship and hospitality extended to me was fantastic – St Benedict would have been proud.
What should others know if planning a visit
Go – as soon as you are able. I have heard many people speak of having one reaction to Bonnevaux only to find when they have been there they change their minds completely. Make contact with the people at Bonnevaux and arrange your trip. They can advise and help you choose a good time to go and for some aspects of your trip, they may be able to make recommendations to help plan your stay. Do be sure to make your trip long enough to visit some of the surrounding areas too. This might include trips of historic and cultural significance – not the least of which would be a trip to the Abbey at Liguge.”