A quiet place for practice and study of
Meetingbrook consists of two locations -- the Bookshop & Bakery at the harbor intown Camden, and the Dogen & Francis Hermitage at Ragged Mountain in Camden four miles out at the Snow Bowl.
The name "Meetingbrook" comes from the spot up from our farmhouse and barn where a mountain brook that had separated into two around an island of land returns to itself before continuing its flow.
Two remarkable individuals -- Dogen (1200-1253) a Buddhist Zen Master of Japan, and Francis (1181-1226) a Christian Contemplative Saint of Assisi -- serve as models of integration, wise simplicity, and compassionate service.
Morning Silent Sittings: At the hermitage we have Silent Sittings seven (7) mornings a week, 6:05am-6:45am. Morning Psalms or Heart Sutra & walking meditation usually follow. The Hermitage is located just past Snow Bowl, white gate, red farm house with attached barn, “64 Meetingbrook” on mailbox. For sittings use house door: enter in silence, sit in silence, leave in silence. Bell begins & ends sitting. All welcome.
Sunday Evening Practice: At the hermitage Sunday Evening Practice consists of 40 minute silent sitting, followed by walking meditation, then chanting, a short reading, soup and bread eaten in mindfulness, and chanting. This practice happens from 6pm-8pm. All welcome.
All events at Meetingbrook are free, open, and informal.
Background: The Hermitage began as a personal place of practice shortly after moving to Camden in 1992. When we opened the Bookshop & Bakery (29June1996) we began morning silent sittings at the shop. These continued there for three years, when (17-19March1999) they moved to the Barnestown Road property, now Dogen & Francis Hermitage. In July/98 the Hermitage was established as a non-profit organization in Maine, and in Sept/99 the Internal revenue Service of Department of the Treasury approved Meetingbrook Hermitage as a 501(c)(3) tax deductible, tax-exempt organization. In Dec/98 we took initial promises of Contemplation, Conversation, and Correspondence, engaging in a new form of lay monastic practice. Encouraged by the ideas found in the Hebrew Prophets, Buddhist, and Christian Writings, we quietly inquire into what it means to be (m.o.n.o.) monastics of no other.
Barnestown Road: After many discussions with friends of Meetingbrook, the decision was taken to start where we are, to remain at 64 Barnestown Rd., draw plans of design and implementation to utilize our barn, rebuild addition between house and barn, build chapel/zendo and solitude huts, and begin quietly. Our neighbor’s property of 2.7acres has been discussed with her and she is willing to give us first option to purchase. If and when we are able to raise that money, we will move toward adding that to our existing 2.6acres, both contiguous to Ragged Mtn. and Snow Bowl, across from Bald Mtn. That land would serve to further invite others into silence, solitude and sanctuary. We wait to see how this will come about.
We invite you to join us in the ongoing creation of Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage. First and foremost the invitation is to find for yourself the inner hermitage of your heart, and dwell there prayerfully and mindfully; and then to carry that practice into the marketplace of community and neighborhood.
We invite you into a new forum for the practice of Contemplative Prayer and Zen Meditation. This forum, (for us) this place coming to be at Ragged Mountain’s Snow Bowl near Hosmer Pond, will encourage the side by side practice of these two rich Christian and Buddhist traditions: (1) Contemplative Prayer, and, (2) Zen Meditation. Both practice silent sitting, a listening heart, stilling the mind, aware movement, and simple receptive attention. Both engage the practitioner in direct intuitive looking. Both practices invite the individual to look deeply and listen carefully to the Sacred and the Ordinary in their lives. This way of life is a quiet way. By embodying the practice of presence, compassionate attention, and direct immediate experience, we face a silent and sacred sharing of Christ-mind & Buddha-mind, Christ-life & Buddha-life. This practice integrates persons, divine presence, all sentient beings, whole nature, & creation itself.
Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage intends to serve a loosely knit association of individuals who travel the meditative & contemplative road from dependence to independence to interdependence in their spiritual lives. Providing a forum and place for solitaries, hermits, seekers & contemplatives, the hermitage invites anyone interested in silence, simplicity, stillness, or times of solitude to deepen their spiritual life in their own locations, and, by day visits, writing, overnight stays, individual and group sitting, listening & learning -- to experience Meetingbrook.
We ask your help in creating this forum and place. The Hermitage is to be a resource for practitioners who walk the pilgrimage between two worlds and are open to awakening spirit and truth in root tradition and new creation.
We look toward two expressions for the Hermitage, water based & land based, barn & boat. With the capacity for visiting at Camden Harbor, sailing Penobscot Bay and hiking the trails of Ragged and Bald mountains, the Hermitage will provide an opportunity to step apart and enter nature and one's soul. Silence, prayer, or reflective conversation would prevail in both places emphasizing eco-spirituality, personal meditation, retreat, or silent mindfulness. Both resources are for solitude, silence, & sanctuary.
Meetingbrook Hermitage, barn and boat, serves as a community resource for individuals to deepen their current spiritual life & explore anew the direction of their spiritual journey. We will depend on free-will donations by those participating, and the generosity of other benefactors. Our interest is to assist and encourage the availability of meditative and contemplative opportunities.
As lay contemplatives interested in monastic spirituality East/West, we are rooted in catholic contemplative tradition & conjoin Judeo-Christian prayer and Buddhist Zen meditation. We continue the study, practice, and engaged service flowing from them.
Think of us. Come visit. Let us hold each other in heart, thought, & prayer! In Peace,
Saskia Huising & Bill Halpin
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