Glastonbury Abbey Meditation & Prayer Walk

Glastonbury Abbey Meditation and Prayer Walk

Introduction

Glastonbury Abbey is a place of Christian hospitality. In that spirit, we welcome people of all faiths and of no faith. And we invite you to enjoy our Prayer and Meditation Moments.

For hundreds of years this beautiful abbey was a place of worship, of learning and of sanctuary. As you enter its grounds, you may want to contemplate that your life is a spiritual journey.

Wherever you approach one of the areas indicated on the map, slow down and pause. Take the opportunity to breathe calmly and find peace within yourself. Then, if it feels right, follow the brief instructions.

You can do as many or as few of these Prayer and Meditation Moments as you choose. There is no particular sequence to them so you can do them in any order that works for you. We have however mapped two walks – a short one and a long one – which you might want to explore.

ST PATRICK’S CHAPEL

Many people came to Glastonbury Abbey for healing.  Sit quietly in this chapel. As best you can, breathe calmly and allow your body to sink and be at ease. Quietly say this prayer:

I am open to receive the gift of healing.
May all people and creatures be blessed with good health.

  

HOLY THORN

This Glastonbury Thorn tree flowers twice a year in Winter and in Spring, like a Middle Eastern thorn.  Legend suggests that it is a cutting from an ancient line of trees that dates back to the visits of Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Jesus. Quietly contemplate:

How wonderful that the cells of this tree carry its history and its future.
May I always see the connections and wonder of all life.

LADY CHAPEL Upper Level

This chapel is dedicated to the worship and celebration of Mary the mother of Christ. The divine female can be found in many spiritual traditions. Quietly say this prayer:

Mother of the world, help me to love and care for all beings.

 

ST JOSEPH’S CHAPEL Lower Level

There are legends that Joseph, the uncle of Jesus, came to this very spot bringing the chalice from the Last Supper. Walk slowly and mindfully towards the altar. Quietly say this prayer:

I am grateful that I am safe and have a home.
May all people have a safe home.

 

ARTHUR’S TOMB

Legend states that King Arthur and Queen Guinevere are buried here. Their court was home to the Round Table of chivalrous and brave knights. Quietly say this prayer:

In a world of injustice may I have the strength, courage and wisdom to support and champion the weak and vulnerable.

CLOISTER

Here in the cloister the monks walked slowly, praying and contemplating life. See how slowly you can walk around the cloister and at the same time calm your breathing.

May I be slow and calm. May I be wiser and more loving. Help me understand life’s difficulties and guide me into clarity.

ABBOT’S KITCHEN

In this kitchen food was prepared daily for the Abbot’s visitors. Quietly say this prayer:

The food I eat comes from nature, plants, animals, farmers, transporters, traders and cooks. I give thanks to all of them.
May everyone be fed and well.

 

HERB GARDEN

A monastic Herb garden would have supplied medicines, aromas and flavours. Quietly say this prayer:

I give thanks for the beautiful diversity and healing power of nature; and I give thanks too for the gardeners and their care.

ORCHARD

Every year this beautiful orchard gives an abundant harvest of apples. Quietly say this prayer:

Thank you mother nature for your beauty and your abundance. May I always remember and care for you.

 

FISH POND (Lower)

Water is one of the four ancient elements. Earth. Water. Air. Fire. This beautiful pond is cradled by earth. It is filled with water.Airand wind play on it. Light from the fireof the sun reflects from its surface. Quietly say this ancient prayer:

Earth my body. Water my blood. Air my breath. And Fire my spirit.
I am one with All That Is. 

WILDLIFE POND (Upper)

‘Ask the animals,’ said St Francis, ‘and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.’ At this pond we find fish and fowl. Pause. Calm your breath and be at ease.  Notice the fish, the birds, and the insects. Be aware too of the sky and the hills around you. Feel the air against your skin. Quietly say this prayer:

I give thanks for the blessings and gifts of all animals. May all creatures be treated with care and respect.

 

PARK AREA – BODY PRAYER 

There is a beautiful tradition of moving your body in tune with a prayer.

Slowly raise your arms above your head and stretch upwards:

The universe is filled with mystery and love.

Slowly bring your hands down and place them over your heart:

I too am filled with mystery and love.

Lower your hands so that your palms face the earth – or kneel down and touch the earth:

I bless the Earth and all living beings.

Repeat the action as many times as you like.

 

WILDLIFE AREA

In this area we celebrate untamed nature – God’s garden.  Be quiet. Imagine our whole planet and humanity living in complete harmony with the natural world. Quietly say this prayer:

From the tiniest insect and wild flower, out to the greatest ocean and mountain, may I celebrate the beauty of all creation.

BEAUTIFUL TREE 

Choose any tree that you like. In many spiritual traditions, trees are a symbol of strength and wisdom. Pause and imagine that you are a tree. Imagine and sense that you have roots growing deep into the ground. Feel the strength of your trunk. Feel the flexibility and movement of your branches.Quietly say this prayer:

In a world of endless change and noise, may I be like this tree – strong, flexible and wise.

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You can view and download a PDF of this leaflet on the Glastonbury Abbey website: https://www.glastonburyabbey.com/resources/glastonbury_abbey_meditation_and_prayer_walk.pdf

Secrets of the Inner Smile video

Secrets of the Inner Smile  (68 mins)

Complete Class – November 2016

This is the full presentation of the talk I gave in Glastonbury hosted by the Positive Living Group.

Download the PDF of the card/handout The Inner Smile CARD

Text of the card/handout

BENEFITS
Physical Reduces stress. Relaxes tissue. Integrates heart and breath. Calms stomach and gut. Reduces pain.
Psychological Improves self-management. Stabilises mood. Develops compassion to self and others.

DROP
Let your body drop down into being at ease. Let your abdomen and stomach sink. Like relaxing on a sun-lounger, contented after a good meal or sitting in your favourite place watching the world go by.

SOFTEN
Switch on the caring attitude that you would give to a hurt and vulnerable infant or animal. Your eyes soften. Your breath calms. Your heart opens. Your vibe is kind and reassuring.

FOCUS
Gently give attention to your own body.
Move your toes.
Feel your clothes against your skin.
Experiment with focusing on the subtle sensations in different areas of your body.
Soft eyes • Calm breath • Abdomen at ease • Open heart

Kind, caring and accepting attitude

ACCEPT
Focus on whatever is giving you distress. It might be physical. It might be emotional or psychological. Just be with it. Calm breath.

ONGOING SCAN
For ongoing health spend time every day scanning your body and greeting all parts of yourself.

METAPHORS FOR YOUR BODY
Tree or landscape – give it good weather.
Pot, chalice or cauldron – fill it with good things.
Planet or cosmos – be a kind deity. Inner child – care for it.

The Core Skills of Giving Care (4:02)

Embedded into our DNA are the core skills of giving care and compassion.

This video explores the universal body language of care.

You can see exactly the same body language in all people, regardless of age or culture. We turn directly towards our vulnerable companion. Our face softens and our body language drops into being at ease. We give the person full attention.

This video was made for the Everyone Cares project.

The Science and Health Benefits of Self-Care (3:11)

This video gives an overview of the science and health benefits of the Everyone Cares self-care strategies.

All the strategies influence your body’s neuro-endocrinal system helping to reduce tissue tension, integrate your heart beat and breath, and calm your gut and stomach.

All of this provides a stronger foundation for your general health and wellbeing.

There is also the psychological benefit that comes from taking charge and choosing to self-manage your wellbeing.

This video was made for the Everyone Cares project.

Soaking (2:17)

Soaking is an enjoyable and easy strategy that supports your health and wellbeing.

‘Soaking’ means: Whenever you feel anything good, no matter how slight, let it in.

This is the same experience as when you are enjoying a bath. There is that moment when you could just get out of the bath . . . Or . . . You chose to stay in it and really enjoy it.

You let your body relax in the enjoyment of the warm water.

This is similar too to when you receive a massage or friendly touch. There is a moment when you can chose to yield. You yield and surrender to the good feeling.

You let yourself absorb the enjoyable sensation a bit like a sponge absorbing warm water.

You can do this every time you have an experience of enjoying something, no matter how slight.

This video was made for the Everyone Cares project.