'The Meeting House... Woolman Hill (2)'
Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born,
and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.
*Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass.
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Walking down the three-path dirt road, to the right, thankfully at some distance, a busy highway, to the left, the quiet forest. I tend to look more to the left, drawn to the native innocence of the wood. Now, looking into the wood, I am intrigued by something white amid the trees, well into the wood. I stop, look, and see a dogwood tree in full bloom, white. There is no other like it anywhere within view, no tree in any bloom. I admire this, think about this, and begin speaking words about this amazing sight. "Amazing?" Yes.
What first arrived to mind was how this tree is abloom adorably and with no one to see - unless by chance like I do. Yet, there, the tree is in all its glory as though donning a wedding dress for the royal wedding.
With its abloomness, this tree is an epiphany requiring no one seeing it to be the loveliness it is. No sermon or speech needed, no poetry or painting needed, camera not needed, nothing needed. This tree does not mind living here unseen; it simply does what it is to do - express outwardly its innate beauty and, so, honor the Source of its being.
Unlike the tree, we are complicated - we have an ego, with all its delusional so-called needs, such as what we think we must do to be seen and, even more, liked. Ego is not interested in writing a book a few would read, for example; ego demands to be recognized, or at last, expects to be. And with the growth in technology, the possibilities of getting attention seem almost endless.
Reflecting on the abloom tree, I see one matter that has been central to the counter-cultural movement of contemplative spirituality I was vowed to 24 years ago - a simple, quiet life of devotion to the Beloved and service to others and this Earth. Contemplative spirituality follows in the wake of the many who have quietly blessed this world without seeking to be famous, well-liked, or admired by others. Few of these are known widely. They go about quietly, adorning the world with beauty by embodying the lovely Life and acting in kindness.
We can be like the abloom tree in the wood. We can choose the joy of fidelity to the expression of our unique, divine natures and, with it, humbleness to rejoice in what we do as an act of worship of the Beloved and blessing to Earth and all sentient beings.
Looking again at the tree, I sense, "This is worship. This standing here, admiring in awe the beauty and grace of this tree, is worship." So, where do we have to go to worship? Nowhere, we are here. Do we have to have a particular faith or spirituality to worship? No. The moment recognition arises for the adoration of the sacred dignity of anything, we are in worship. Here, in this wood, adoring this abloom tree, my heart kneels in the House of God.
I pray for the grace to be more like that tree. How about you? The world needs so much now quiet souls to bless it with the grace of kindness, gentleness, and goodwill for all Creation. Earth needs such tenderness.
Peace to All!
* * *
*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2020
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book is a collection of poems based on mystical traditions, especially Christian and Sufi, with extensive notes on the teachings and imagery in the poetry.