Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Songs of wind

I'm familiar with this place and with these deserted country roads where I will hear a car or truck from a distance. I practice walking, saying the Jesus prayer with eyes closed, opening my left eye, that is the cloudy one for a moment after each prayer like a swimmer breathing after every stroke. This practice keeps me from wandering off the road.

In this manner of walking I am prevented from hearing with my seeing and my senses become more attuned. Walking I hear the wind passing through a line of pines bordering a home. The wind hisses like an intake of breath but passing into the gum trees on the other side of the road a mix of young trees clothed with leaves and older trees with branches further up with there a different melody. I feel in my body and through my being this melody and the richness in the soundscape.

There are single notes from a bird, the far off cry of a raven, a brief lorikeet cry, distant cars and the experience of flesh and blood moving through my body sustaining this movement and deep listening.

The feel of my woolen rosary moving through my left hand, the blink of my eye to check the location and a sense of openness and gratitude to The One in whom I live and move and have my being. I have heard a symphony of silence. I am embraced and the song of my heart drawn into that movement.


Those who like me seek and cultivate solitude are sometimes thought misanthropic. I'm rarely thought this way given my way of life in fact solitude and silence becomes then a way of having 'time out' as if being and becoming we're somehow earned or measured in terms of future creativity.

In my experience the more I practice silence and solitude the more I'm conscious of my interdependence with other human beings and with this living breathing universe. I'm more conscious of people and situations that draw from me the prayer of compassion and loving kindness. I'm more grateful, more appreciative and more generous in my thinking and later in relationship with people.

Crowds or crowding through physical proximity or through emails and immersion in the media or in surfing the net draw me like a moth to a candle. I don't know what it is that draws me, some kind of inner need to feel appreciated or liked or some kind of needing to draw energy from others if that was possible. This over exposure moves me into the illusion of my own independence and importance and my ego seeking to be admired. It also moves me into poor judgement either not conscious of the agendas of others or into a kind of misanthropy and hopelessness.

Today after the funeral yesterday after a night of confused sleep and restless dreams I appreciate this aloneness and the gift of space and solitude to pray and reflect. As I walk through the trees and hear birds I breathe. I'm conscious that human beings have walked this land for 20,000 years or more, I'm invited into a new sense of self and of rejoicing in my interdependence.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sitting with

This evening it seemed like old times in ministry, late visits to the hospital, sitting alongside a person on the threshold between life here and life beyond. I sit and talk and pray, I cry and sing. Each moment marked by a breath, my breath and that of this beloved person. The noise of the hospital ward seems to recede and the world seems to contact to this small space where the sound of breathing and the seemingly intense click of the wall clock mark the passing of moments. Leaving here the world seems different as I walk to my car several streets away, my tears mingled with the slow spitting rain sipping bitter coffee from a cardboard cup from the hospital vending machine as a kind of communion. Laughing young women in pretty dresses and high heels bring two world together. Their voices sound at first discordant and then hopeful as I cross back over the threshold.

The full moon

With autumn coming to the Adelaide hills with mist and rain, the turning of leaves on the vine outside the house I felt called to celebrate the recent full moon. It's the autumn moon and in the northern hemisphere this would be the autumn festival or Samhein. The Church placed All Souls here with All Saints to overlay the ambiguity of bonfire lighting, mask making and dancing. In the south it's still Easter and indeed I feel that the turning of the year lacks significant ritual points which I certainly feel within my own soul.

I'm conscious of the moon since my nightly walk with the dog keeps me in touch with the waxing and the waning, the new moon and the dark moon. So I set my alarm to welcome the rising of the full moon at 0545 with the intent of travelling to a nearby lookout at Windy Point with a view out to sea.

My plan was foiled by heavy mist over the hills so with a large strong coffee and my Bible I drove to Brighton. Here there were gaps in the clouds and the glorious full moon seemed to dance through the sky, 'sister moon' as St Francis might have said. I felt a deep sense of connectedness and at home in this experience and very open in my heart. I recorded the gentle sound of the waves and the wind and photographed the moon on my phone. It was a time to breathe in silence and then walking along the beach to remember and name people who have died who have touched my life and ministry. There were names that seemed to rise from no where, people I had not thought about for years but they all seemed to gather in that walking time.

Soon there were the sounds of birds, other people appeared jogging or walking or cycling and the light changed as the moon visible over the sea in the west gave way to he rising of brother sun.

I drove home ready for more coffee ready for the autumn season, a sense of lightness within to the hills still shrouded deeply in the mist.

Come autumn, come gentle rain, come cold, come plants sprouting anew after the fierce summer sun, come the silence of reflection.