‘Go down to the Potter’s House, a Journey into Meditation’ is a revised edition of a book first published in 1988. The writer, Donagh O’Shea is a priest of the Dominican Order and in 1978 he was asked to join the Community in Ennismore, Cork and to develop their Retreat programme.
This he did with great success and in this book, he tells us some of the story of how the Mews developed and how becoming a potter helped him to set-up workshops there. These are described very vividly and as the story unfolds, we can see how people are taught to become more alive in body, mind, and spirit.
One of the aims is to encourage them to overcome false ways of looking at themselves and at life. The retreats evolved into methods of full-bodied prayer and palpable ways of seeking God. Those who participated were in search of something, and they were directed in ways which would enable them to return to nature, the self and God.
Central to his writing is the art of meditation and this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to learn what meditation is, and what it is not. As the writer journeys with those people, his simple wisdom and profound insights clear up many misconceptions about meditation.
Each chapter can be read separately and some of the topics covered include: ‘Concealment and Manifestation’, ‘Symbol and Reality, and ‘Solitude and Community’. In chapter 6, ‘Bread and Wine’ the writer reflects on the Eucharist which is being celebrated in the Meditation Room at the end of the retreat. He gently guides us towards an appreciation of how the celebration with bread, wine, words, and God unify the world of nature, language, and the Deity, which are alienated from one another. The Logos, the inner harmony and finally the silence actively touch our hearts.
In such a way is this a book to be experienced rather than just read. There is a lesson in every line and the attentive reader will come away not only enlightened, but ultimately transformed.
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