Rhythm of Life

What is a Rhythm of Life?

“A model of spiritual development for the average person who intends to live life beyond the superficial or the uncaring.”
Joan Chittister

…a trellis which supports a life of mindfulness, a life lived in fullness.”  Esther de Waal

Our Rhythm of Life:

Being       Knowing      Doing

The biblical, desert, patristic and monastic legacy is fundamental to the deep structure of our thinking. We are called not only to deconstruct but also to reconstruct language, symbol, sacrament and discipleship, as we strive to embody the life-changing message of Christ through our day-to-day living in the 21st century.

As Companions on the Way, we commit to an individual rhythm of life that weaves together the three strands of being, knowing and doing – or prayer, study and action.

Our emblem and metaphor for this process is the Celtic trefoil, with its three ‘leaves’ and its place of un-knowing at the centre. Engagement with each of these three aspects – ‘Still Waters’, ‘A Learning Journey‘ and ‘Across the Threshold’ – as well as with the mystery at the centre of things, helps shape a life-giving and personally authentic path into God.


     Travelling Light, Dwelling Deep







Still Waters

Encountering the
Present Moment in

A Learning Journey

Equipping, Exploring
and Accompanying

Across the Threshold

Engaging with Wisdom
on the Boundaries

And He said: “Walk with me”
Pilgrimage to Now/here
Annual Retreat
Deep Listening
Contemplative Practice
‘Living the Mystery’
Study/retreat days
Open Circles
Story Sharing
A Garden Inside
– working with the
marginalised Companions on the Way
discovering their
own form of
compassionate action

A Commitment on Three Levels – personal, local and the wider Contemplative Fire Community

We ask prospective Companions on the Way  to engage with the Contemplative Fire rhythm of life at three different levels: the personal, the small local group, and the regional and national expression of this body of Christ.

The inspiration for each Companion’s individual Rhythm of Life is the willingness to be set alight by the fire of God. The idea is to weave together in continuous movement ourcore values of Being, Knowing and Doing (or prayer, study and action) at a personal and collective level. The following are suggestions – not instructions! – for ways in which that Rhythm of Life might take shape for you personally.

A PERSONAL RHYTHM – opening to Presence


Still Waters – Encountering the Present Moment in Quietness

A rhythm of prayerful ‘being’.

  • Dwell deep. Drink daily from the well of contemplative prayer, committing to some form of silent prayer, morning and /or evening. Be attentive in prayer to the movement of the heart towards compassionate action and intercession
  • Rest in God. ‘Don’t just do something. Sit there!’
  • Retreat – an annual retreat, with the Contemplative Fire community if possible
  • Pray imaginatively. Engage with Scripture and other texts that you find spiritual, inspirational, soul-provoking
  • Let the Holy Spirit, the beauty of creation and the gentle discipline of love be your teachers in deepening the prayer experience
  • Discover the freedom of letting the body express prayer. Receive within it the grace and fire of divine life. Seek integration of the whole person, celebrating God’s presence with all the senses


A Learning Journey – Equipping, Exploring and Accompanying Others

A ‘knowing’ that brings the theory together with the practice. As members of the Contemplative Fire community, we are willing and prepared to:

  • Explore and ask questions of the Judaeo-Christian tradition
  • Wrestle with tough theological questions
  • Undertake a daily or weekly commitment to some form of study, that enriches your understanding of the contemplative Christian tradition
  • Reflect in solitude, in a spiritual journal, with other Contemplative Fire companions, and / or with a Spiritual Director, on the experiences you have and the knowledge you gain as you broaden and deepen your practice of prayer
  • Accompany others on this transformational journey


Across the Threshold – Engaging with Wisdom on the Boundaries

‘Doing’ expressed as contemplation-in-action or compassionate living

What do we mean by ‘engaging with wisdom on the boundaries’? It is allowing oneself to be drawn by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, out of one’s comfort zone into a deeper and more costly loving – this is the invitation. The Spirit comforts and challenges every community called together in the name and the energy of Christ.

Companions on the Way find themselves being nudged into acts of compassion, into times of dialogue and of story-telling about the deep and the rich things of life. We find ourselves in our responses poised on the boundary between certainty and uncertainty, between knowing and unknowing. We touch humility when we realise that we have so much to gain by simply being present and open to the other: here, in this meeting, is the unfolding of the wisdom of God.

  • Caring for the earth – a mindfulness towards matters of spiritual stewardship; a commitment to ecofriendly / recycling / fair-trade projects
  • Compassionate outreach – costly loving. Meetings on the edge: be they prison visits, peacemaking, or bridge-building between communities.
  • Simplicity of lifestyle : travel light…
  • Generous giving. Love is energy; money is energy. The generosity of God calls for our own generous response, in support of this ministry and others.

A LOCAL RHYTHM – Community Life

Sharing with others Christ’s invitation in small groups

A dozen or so individuals may attend up to five introductory meetings, which will include Tastings of the different Contemplative Fire activities outlined below.
In its mature form, an ongoing group meets in various configurations for contemplative practice, deep sharing, silence, and theological and liturgical exploration. These local Contemplative Fire communities are likely to meet in a private home.

  • Deep Listening – Monthly meetings for three compatible people for a structured two-hour session of deep listening.
  • Way Beyond Religion – A monthly meeting of seven people to celebrate the major festivals of the Christian year with food for the body and soul, deep sharing and blessing.
  • Open Circles – Contemplative discussion groups that offer occasions for shared stillness, spiritual creativity and theological exploration, as Scripture and other resources are explored with the mind and heart.
  • Stillness – Christian meditation groups meeting in homes or in sacred spaces for the refreshment of stillness and movement, centred upon Christ.
  • Living the Mystery – Short term small groups with a particular focus to some aspect of the contemplative life and/or our Rhythm of Life

Sharing with others Christ’s invitation as a whole community in large groups

  • Gatherings – Share in contemplative communion, enjoy music and chant, and use body prayer and simple movement as part of a reflective prayer process that seeks to integrate creative arts, wisdom and worship.
  • Pilgrimage to Now/here – The inspiration of the outdoors. A delightful 4 hour spiritual journey, with teachings from the Christian mystics and a walk of awareness in nature or in city.
  • Wisdom on the Way – Occasional teaching days supporting our values, contemplative life and our Rhythm of Life.

          Celebration, stillness, learning and love