Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Caught a Glimpse of a God . . .

. . . all shining and bright.

This haunting line, almost imperceptibly whispered by Kate Bush in her song "Suspended in Gaffa," came to me many times during a recent afternoon walk along Minnehaha Creek, close to my home in south Minneapolis.

In every leaf and stone, every wave of water and ray of light, I sensed the sustaining and transforming energy of the sacred. This experience of the Divine Presence in the natural world was one of renewal. It restored within me balance and harmony, clarity and hope.

My time immersed in the beauty of nature and the presence of the sacred recalled for me the "three generous promises" I made to myself earlier this year at the "Stirring the Fire" retreat of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates.

• To stay open and responsive to the invitations all around me to spiral forward with focus, direction, and energy.

• To create sacred time and space to experience the Divine Presence as together we spiral forward with focus, direction, and energy.

• To trust that even when I feel it's not happening, I am in some beautiful and mysterious way spiraling forward with focus, direction, and energy.

In the days since that afternoon, other reflections have come to mind and heart. A number of these are from people from whom I draw hope and inspiration. I share some of these reflections today, along with some of the images I captured while out walking that summer afternoon along the creek.

The natural world itself is our primary language as it is our primary scripture, our primary awakening to the mysteries of existence. We might well put all our written scriptures on the shelf for twenty years until we learn what we are being told by unmediated experience of the world about us.

We are spiraling, spiraling together.
Onward, inward, creature to creation.
Holy Mystery, Mother Earth – Child Birth.
This is Mother Nature, this is sacred.

I walk to the trees and feel their friendly bark.
I press their fragile leaves into my hand.
I stand amidst the dancing of the grass
and listen to the silence of the land.

If I fail to see the sacred in living things
and even in this random flake of stone
then to my eyes the Universe is closed
and I wander as a stranger all alone.

In gentle voice this world is full of words
that calm the talking tumult in my brain.
"Stand still and learn to see with spiritual sight
or the pain of all your searching is in vain."

Rod Cameron, OSA
"At Kambul"
(Karingal: A Search for Australian Spirituality, 1995)

Once the scales have fallen from one's eyes, once one has seen and believed that reality is put together in such a fashion that one is profoundly united to and interdependent with all other beings, everything is changed. One has a sense of belonging to the earth, having a place in it along with all other creatures, and loving it more than one ever thought possible.

Suddenly [he] felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror — indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy — but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. . . . [He] raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fullness of incredible color, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on [him] humorously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Boorganna (Part I)
Boorganna (Part II)
In the Garden of Spirituality – Rod Cameron
In the Garden of Spirituality – Richard Rohr
"A Dark Timelessness and Stillness Surrounds Her Wild Abandonment"
Halloween Thoughts
"Something Sacred Dwells There"
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Divine Connection
A Return to the Spirit
Earth Day 2015
The Glimpse of His Face at Morning

Images: Michael J. Bayly.


Mary Lynn Murphy said...

This is inspirational, Michael. I have spent the better part of my day sitting under the magnificent ancient oak tree in my front yard, watching the wind blow through its branches, eating my lunch, reading my book, gazing up at clouds flying by. I don't feel motivated to do one other thing today. Nature is all I need for now, and it is very calming.

Karen Knight said...

Tonight there was the most glorious and spectacular sunset, you know, one of those skies that makes you catch your breath in awe and wonder, as if it's too beautiful to be real. It's the little things like this that make life special, restores my soul and makes me grateful to be alive.

Paula Ruddy said...

Thank you, Michael. Just what I needed.

Jackie Lannin said...

Beautiful breezes, warm sun and the young family of cardinals putting on a show just for me. Summer is the most glorious time.

Trish Whitbread said...

Thanks, Michael. That's so beautiful and glorious.