Inspired by the meeting of eastern and western spirituality, the sole purpose of La Source is to provide an uplifting retreat experience for those in search of inner renewal. Set amidst the peace and tranquillity of the rolling green Forez mountains of the Auvergne, this beautiful old farmhouse offers a rural haven for people looking to restore and rekindle the life of the spirit, in their own unique way. So while some may come to do personal retreats within their own spiritual tradition (Christian, Buddhist or Sufi, for example), others may come to just take time out from the hectic pace of modern life, to pause, and recover a sense of inner stillness and meaning. Each will seek to re-connect with their deeper self, upheld and supported by a small community of people with similar wishes to make that journey. So retreats are not guided, as such, although simple instruction in meditation practice may be offered where required.
There is a supportive rhythm or framework to the day, which echoes the great monastic traditions of both East and West. Emphasis is upon the sacred simplicity of daily life. There are morning and evening silent meditation sessions, to which all are welcome.
See the Daily Rhythm/Structure.
Each morning after breakfast, guests are invited to engage for an hour in a practical, hands-on activity, in the garden or in the house. It may be sweeping; chopping vegetables; or helping in the garden or workshop …whatever you choose it is an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness– to be fully present, and savour the peace of the here and now.
From here, the day may unfold in a variety of ways, depending on your interests and what kind of a retreat you want to do. There is a beautiful meditation room, for undisturbed meditation or prayer; there is a well-stocked library (which also serves as a guest sitting-room), where you will find a table set up for you to try your hand at calligraphy. Pens, ink and paper are there at your disposal, along with books to guide and inspire you. A phrase or short poem may catch your attention as you browse in the library – something that asks to be written out slowly and beautifully, by hand.
The spinning of wool is another contemplative craft you might like to try. There are carders (to comb out the fleece), and two spinning-wheels which can be taken out into the garden in fine weather. Gandhi said, “I see God in every thread I draw on the spinning wheel… For every revolution of the wheel spins peace, goodwill and love”.
There is also an inkle loom – a simple wooden frame upon which you can weave a band or belt. We will gladly show you how to do these things, if they are new to you. They are not difficult.
There are quiet corners to sit in the garden; to muse, to read, to write, or just gaze out at the lovely view across the valley, lie on your back and watch the sky. Through a little gate, you can enter the potager (our vegetable patch), and stroll on down through the meadow, past our young orchard of apple and plum trees, to the woods below.
Stepping out of the door, there are any number of lovely walks to take. If you want to go off for a few hours, we will be happy to provide you with a packed lunch should you so wish.
In the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Han, a bell may sound from time to time during the day. When we hear it, we pause, and take three slow breaths, in and out; this brings us back to mindfulness of the present moment.