fbpx >> Silence by the Sea 2020 Oct | Othona West Dorset

A Place to be Real Together

>> Silence by the Sea 2020 Oct


There is a real hunger for an authentic and living spirituality, emerging anew from its roots in the mystical heart of all faith traditions, but reawakened and revitalised to be accessible and relevant for today.

This retreat, whilst largely silent, will include inputs and mutual sharing as we explore the Wisdom Tradition, along with daily periods of meditation and chants, mindful work, and time to appreciate the beautiful setting.

Given that Wisdom “is not about knowing more, but about knowing with more of ourself… about increasing our capacity for spiritual perception from an awakened heart” (Cynthia Bourgeault), the format of the retreat will engage us with different aspects of our being and be reasonably intensive.

You would need already a regular meditation practice and a wish to deepen your spiritual life.

Leaders are Janet Lake (a spiritual accompanier, primarily interested in bringing together the resources of the mystical faith and depth psychology traditions in our search for wholeness) and Richard Sloan (a Roman Catholic priest committed to the transformative and healing value of contemplative listening).

They have both attended and been inspired by the Wisdom Schools and teachings of Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault (www.contemplative.org). Richard and Janet write:

"Each June we have been on a Wisdom School run by Cynthia Bourgeault adding inspiration to the content of our inputs at each 'Silence By The Sea' retreat. Because of Covid-19 restrictions this did not happen this year. However, in April Cynthia gave excellent inputs on a 3 morning global conference on 'The Secret Embrace' (which some of you may have known about).

"We would like to share video recordings of her three inputs on the first afternoon and the next 2 morning sessions, so you have a sense of this excellent teacher directly. The evening sessions will be dedicated to contemplative listening and speaking.

"We also want you to know that Othona's new Four Seasons Studio may be available for our use. Let's hope the situation over Covid-19 is such that we can be together for this retreat."


Discerning the appropriateness of this retreat for you...

Ethos of this Retreat

“It’s not about knowing more, but about knowing with more of ourself... about increasing our capacity for spiritual perception from an awakened heart”. (Cynthia Bourgeault)

Spiritual practice is not about acquiring anything. Rather, it’s a “surrendering of deeply imbedded resistances that allows the sacred within gradually to reveal itself...” (Martin Laird)

The design of the retreat is to help us in this task.

General Information

You would need already a regular meditation practice and a wish to deepen your spiritual life.

Intensity and Responsibility

Please look carefully at the programme below before deciding whether or not this event is right for you. The days are long and fairly intensive. Also, although the leaders are very willing to offer individual support when requested, this is not an individually guided retreat and we encourage people to attune inwardly and connect with their own inner resources and wisdom before seeking assistance.


Silence is requested at all times after supper on the first evening until coffee time on the last morning. Talking is possible outside (but only if you’ve agreed with the other person to talk), or when participating in a session. Obviously speak when there’s a practical need, but please keep the spirit of silence.

Mindful Work

There will a range of tasks listed so you can choose one to suit...from energetic work such as gardening, to gentle sitting down ones. Might be wise to bring gardening gloves and boots if working outside. An introduction to its purpose and a focus for each day will be given.

Important Request

Commitment to all aspects of the programme would be appreciated for us to build ‘one body'...and prompt arrival for the start of each session, especially for meditation.


There is a studio in the grounds with materials we can use for painting etc.


Othona is by the Sea...shingle beach and lovely walks. Please bring suitable clothing.

Mobile phones, i-pads, Laptops

We recommend you keep the use of these to a minimum...preferably turn them off whilst in retreat.



Arrivals from 11.30


1.00 Lunch ... clearing up and community induction to us

4.00 - 5.30 Session 1

(5.30 Setting tables)

6.00 Meditation

6.30 Supper and clearing up tasks

7.30 - 8.30 Session 2

8.30 - 9.00 Meditation



7.30 Meditation

8.30 Breakfast and clearing up tasks

9.30 - 11.00 Session 3

11.30 - 12.40 Mindful Work

1.00 Lunch and clearing up tasks, and free time

4.30 - 5.30 Session 4

5. 30 (setting tables)

6.00 Chants/Meditation

6.30 Supper and clearing up tasks

7.30 - 8.30 Session 5

8.30 - 9.00 Meditation



Timings as for Tuesday



7.30 Meditation

8.30 Breakfast and clearing up

9.30 - 11.00 Session 9

11.30 Sharing and final thoughts

12.15 Final Ceremony

1.00 Lunch and departures.