There are lessons to be learned in the pouring rain. And thunder too can be a powerful teacher. These lessons were to be learned in subtle and dramatic ways as a group of 17 bravehearts ventured into the Macedon wilderness.
Before the skies opened and tears were shed, we reflected on the principles that might shape our attitudes. These were outlined through the framework of ‘eco spirituality’: a path by which the living and active Mystery we call God, present in the natural world, enlightens us through our interrelationship with it. But what on Earth does this all mean and how should we go about it? We should simply walk. And so we walked . . . and we attended.
We attended to all that we received through our senses: the smell of eucalypt, the sound of falling water and thrashed canopies, the cold touch of wet cloth on our skin, our shorter breaths as we tackled each hill, the taste of bittersweet oats that would fuel our journey.
What of distractions? That is, what of the moments our minds wondered to fantasies of warmth and dryness, to the taste of the next meal, or of the moment when we could again rest beneath fleece and cotton and be mesmerised by our mobile apps again? We would then stop and recall what drove us into the wilderness in the first place: a want to encounter that Mysterious Power greater than ourselves. We trudged, left foot after right, into the strange Macedon beauty.
Then we would become concerned with practicalities: what if we become unwell, what if our clothes do not dry, what if, what if, what if? These concerns would at moments cease at an encounter with mist and light and stone and birdsong. So we went. And our journey did of course end and we were of course safe and we did of course become dry. And then we reflected. And we recognised in all that the Mystery we call God was guiding, inspiring and embracing in myriad ways. We need only have trusted the journey.
If anyone is interested in Being with God in Nature, two Walking Prayer Days will be held within the next month – Cape Schanck, 28 April and Merri Creek, 5 May. A weekend seminar will be held on 18-20 May, Sacred Ground at Campion. For more information or to make a booking, visit www.campion.asn.au or phone 03 9854 8110.