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rick@bethanyspring.org                                                rick3649@gmail.com                              or  Call 502-507-8576

Private, Self-Guided Retreats and Meditation Retreats can be scheduled anytime of the year.



"The artist, like the monk, has an interior wilderness to discover." -Thomas Merton

         Advent Retreat in Water Colors

                  December 14,15,16

                     Led By: Lyda Toy

To help us prepare for Christmas the focus of this watercolor workshop will be the symbols of Advent.  We will paint simple still-life’s, small landscapes, and advent symbols of candles and wreath, and images from your own imagination and/or everyday life. The Advent calender may be used as a format for your finished paintings.

The workshop is designed for adults with no art experience, or anyone wanting to improve their art skills and want to learn to paint with watercolors.

Artist statement/bio: Lyda Toy has been teaching art for twenty-five years. Currently she is the adjunct instructor of art at the University of West Florida. Her work has been seen in many venues, and is exhibited in public and private collections.

Her love of watercolor painting derives from the immediacy of trying to capture movement and light.

The fluidity of watercolor is much like what is observed in nature. It has always been a medium where I find myself entranced, even now; while the action I view is in a constant state of change.

Suggested Donation: Sliding Scale: $150, $175, $200 Includes: Lodging, Meals, Retreat and Related Materials(handouts)

To Sigh Up for All Retreats: Contact Bethany Spring Retreat Center                                     E-mail: rick3649@gmail.com or             Phone: 502-507-8576  .                                       115 Dee Head Road, Hew Haven, KY. 40051



                WHY WE MEDITATE

Here is what James Finley, PhD says about meditation...

...I invite you to join me in reflecting on a way of understanding and appreciating why fidelity to some form of meditation is so helpful to us in our spiritual journey. We can begin by reminding ourselves that the realm of the ego is more dense and intense than the realm of the spirit. Though the realm of the spirit is infinitely more real than ego, ego easily overshadows spirit and hides it from our view. We can sit before the setting sun so upset that we just got a parking ticket that we do not even see the beauty of the setting sun. We tend to be so caught up in what happened that we tend not to be fully aware of what is happening. The point being, that if we are not careful we can spend our whole life skimming over the surface rather than entering into the depths of our own life.

In meditation we take a hiatus from hectic, ego-based ways. In meditation we settle into a more interior, spiritual awareness of the previously unrecognized spiritual depths of the present moment. In meditation we set aside our preoccupations with all we need to do, so we might be as present as we can be in a "Here I am Lord" stance of openness to God.

Our ego wants to know how we can justify pausing to be when we do not have enough time to do all we need to do! What we come to discover, however, is that if we do not take time to simply be, our ego-based preoccupations with all we need to do tends to dominate our life. But as we learn to just be in the silent simplicity of meditation we transcend the tyranny of doing over our mind and heart. In taking time to be in meditation we transcend the tyranny of sequential time, which, if you have noticed, we are always running out of and never have enough of.

Meditation lays bare our true nature and in doing so lays bare God's nature given to us as our own nature. This is the extraordinary thing; that God's own nature has been given to us by God as our own true nature. God is Spirit who creates us in the image and likeness of Spirit. As long as we remain caught up in the one-dimensional energy of ego consciousness we continue to skim over the surface of the depths of our own God-given Godly nature. As long as we succumb to the demands of doing, we keep flying right past the eternal now in which our lives unfold. But as we cultivate the habit of meditation we can learn to rise from our meditation without breaking the thread of an underlying meditative awareness in our daily life. In this habituated meditative awareness we can learn to do all that needs to be done in a more grounded, more meditative manner that bears witness to the inherent dignity of life's daily tasks.

We must be patient with ourselves as we devote ourselves to this lifelong, transformative process. Taking the time to transcend the tyranny of time is time well spent. In God's good time, an underlying meditative awareness grows within us to the point of becoming our habitual way of experiencing everything that we experience.

Jim Finley - Copyright © 2008 Dr. James Finley - Used with Dr. Finley's permission.


                  Thomas Merton on Christian meditation and awareness of God:


Meditation is not merely the intellectual effort to master certain ideas about God or even to impress upon our minds the mysteries of our Christian faith. Conceptual knowledge of religious truth has a definite place in our life, and that place is an important one....[But] the knowledge of which we are capable is simple knowledge about Him. It points to Him in analogies which we must transcend in order to reach Him. But we must transcend ourselves as well as our analogies, and in seeking to know him we must forget the familiar subject-object relationship which characterizes our ordinary acts of knowing.

Instead we know Him insofar as we become aware of ourselves as known through and through by Him. We "possess" Him in proportion as we realize ourselves to be possessed by Him in the inmost depths of our being. Meditation or "prayer of the heart" is the active effort we make to keep our hearts open so that we may be enlightened by Him and filled with this realization of our true relationship to Him. Therefore the classic form of "meditation" [among others] is repetitive invocation of the name of Jesus in the heart emptied of images and cares.

Hence the aim of meditation, in the context of Christian faith, is not to arrive at an objective and apparently "scientific" knowledge about God, but to come to know Him through the realization that our very being is penetrated by His knowledge and love for us. Our love of God is paradoxically a knowledge not of Him as the object of our scrutiny, but of ourselves as utterly dependent on His saving and merciful knowledge of us....We know Him in and through ourselves insofar as his truth is the source of our being and His merciful love is the very heart of our life and existence. We have no other reason for being, except to be loved by Him as our Creator and Redeemer, and to love Him in return. There is no true knowledge of God that does not imply a profound grasp and an intimate personal acceptance of this profound relationship.

The whole purpose of meditation is to deepen the consciousness of this basic relationship of the creature to the Creator, and of the sinner to his Redeemer.


It can, and does lead to a whole new way we see and relate to our self, our God, our neighbors, family, and friends; and the whole world.


Bethany Spring will be offering Guided Meditation Retreats on a donation only basis. 

These meditation retreats will be based on Tibetan, and Zen Buddhist Meditation techniques, along with Centering Prayer and Contemplative Meditation and will include meditating on the writings of Thomas Merton; so, this will be a blend of a Buddhist and Christian approach to meditation. At the end of his life Merton was in Thailand meeting with Buddhist Monks to dialogue with them.  As we meet we will have the opportunity to recognize both the Christ and the Buddha in each other. 

This is being offered by Rick Furman, Resident Director of Bethany Spring; and is an attempt to make meditation available on a more regular basis.

                             + + +

                         To Register for any retreat - private or guided: 

           email: Rick at: rick@bethanyspring.org - or - rick3649@gmail.com

                   Phone: 502-507-8576                                                      +  +  +                     RETREATS IN THE PLANNING STAGE 

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