Theme: And All Is As It Is.
And this, then,
Spring came to Maine. Summer follows. Last patches of snow drew into themselves on northeast side of Ragged Mountain. As usual, the mountain remains itself through ice, wind, and snow -- throughout stays itself as green stretches awake, water seeps from hidden springs, and porcupines wander trails. The more a thing changes the more it becomes itself. The more we change the more we remain in the itself. Is God the Itself?
Meetingbrook begins again. We've a new lease at the harbour. The following gatherings take place regularly at the Meetingbrook Hermitage Bookshop/Bakery by the Harbour, and at Meetingbrook Hermitage at Ragged Mountain.
Note: All events at Meetingbrook are free, open, and informal
1. At Harbour Meetingbrook. Evening Conversation Practice at Bookshop/Bakery: Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evening, from 5:30 to 6:30pm there is a formatted conversation on a different theme or focus. Each conversation intends and practices deep-listening and loving-speech. The hour consists of: reading aloud around the circle, brief silence, open conversation, and final circle comments.
Themes of weekly and daily events :
2. At Mountain Meetingbrook. Practice at Meetingbrook Hermitage at Ragged Mountain:
3. Hermitage Harbour Room. Upstairs over bookshop/bakery is a lovely studio apartment. This single room with balcony overlooks our patio and the harbour with all the boating bustling that takes place there. This room is available for brief retreats, overnight stays, or day solitude visits. Call and ask us to reserve it for you. We operate by donations, and are grateful for whatever dollar amount you are willing to leave as donation for the ongoing work of the hermitage.
When not occupied by guests, the Harbour Room is available to everyone for quiet time, one-with-one conversations, meetings for up to 12 people, reading, or simply looking out over the water.
4. Meetingbrook and Maine State Prison. Meetingbrook volunteers weekly at the State Prison in Warren. We hold Meetingbrook Conversations (MC's) and Individual Learning Conversations (ILC's) with attendees from general population. We have also embarked on MC's and ILC's in the closed unit protective custody. We are also embarking on ILC's in the Special Management Unit (formerly known as the Super-Max). Friday mornings are dedicated to these lovely encounters.
5. Ongoing Life at Meetingbrook. Masquerading as a mildly mannered (sometimes cranky) gathering place of irregulars, the bookshop and bakery continues on at Camden Harbor. Meetingbrook Hermitage is a place of collation and recollection, hospitality and inquiry, acceptance and forgiveness, good conversation and better baked goods, not to mention the best and quietest sitting place on the water where coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are always on the house.
The harbour location is the market-face of Meetingbrook Hermitage. We often think of ourselves as hito, that is, hermits in the open.. The promises we take are Contemplation, Conversation, and Correspondence. There are no secret handshakes nor special qualifications to belong at Meetingbrook. Everyone who walks into view or is heard saying a word, everyone who thinks of us and others with engaged consideration -- everyone belongs.
6. Money. We are small and we are not independently wealthy. Therefore we need, ask for, and accept donations to fund Meetingbrook. The bookshop/bakery is a labor of love, it does not pay for itself, therefore. we ask for help to continue its operation i.e. for rent and utilities. We ask you to donate whatever you can, whenever you might be able. Saskia and Bill have part-time employment to help stay afloat. We are blessed with volunteers and board members who help run the place and keep us in our place. Everyone involved receives a yearly salary of a penny and a pizza for their efforts.
· Sails: Everybody gets to go sailing with Saskia on Penobscot Bay. That's a given. Even without asking. You might just be shanghaied by her. Keep your wits about you.
· Some final words: We have called ourselves mono, that is, monastics of no other. We intend a life of prayer and mindfulness, practicing between traditions what the designation mono stands for. It stands for the gift given all creation and existence -- the gift of wholeness -- a gift very often not seen, heard, or understood.
We feel called. We do our life and this practice of mindful service with the realization that each person is gift, and each invitation to love and serve one/an/other is gift. We are each of us invited to dwell within a true dwelling place.
Some hold that true dwelling place to be What Is Itself...or...God. Our focus as meetingbrook monastics includes both expressions -- namely, Buddha-Mind and Christ-Consciousness. Some do not use the word God but nevertheless long for What Is Itself. However it is worded for you, we feel this reality to be no other. Hence: monastics of no other
For us, Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage is a place where each is invited to presence herself or himself. What is no other to us is gift. What Buddhists call Bodhichitta, (unconditional loving-kindness and compassion), and Christians call Agape, (love that promotes overall well-being, the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity, and humanity for one another as well as God) -- is what we attempt to practice, engage, and embody. (The Bodhisattva vow to save all beings, and a Cosmotheandric spirituality which is all-inclusive, are both ways that are Vorbild (i.e. the pattern before us) and Schwer (i.e. difficult). Still, humbly, we practice.
Meetingbrook is a Schola Gratiae et Contemplationis, (that is, a School of Gratefulness and Contemplation). It is a daily practice. It is hospitality. It is an integral conversation between silence and word. It is an engaged interaction with all our brothers and sisters. It looks to, and listens for, all sentient beings. It quietly and reverently seeks to attend the source mystery of life. This source mystery of life is what some call God, and some call What Is Taking Place, Here, Now! We try to pay attention to how each person and being expresses their view. We trust in inclusive sharing of each path, each trail along that path, each step on the trail. This is what a Laura of Hermits is for us -- It is a common viewing of each trail and each pathway leading each of us home.
In conclusion: We are grateful for all the blessings and wonderful folks we've been privileged to meet these dozen years. Come visit. Grace us with your presence. You are integrally within the sound of what is taking place. We listen for you. Let's listen together!
What else is there?
(In memoriam, Katherine)
and all who grace Meetingbrook,
64 Barnstown Rd.,
Camden, Maine USA 04843
Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery
50 Bayview St. (Cape on the harbor)
Camden, Maine USA 04843
© Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage
Web design by Karl Gottshalk