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Posts Tagged ‘solitude’

His shadow is the answer!

Please note that this is my second posting for today.  Please go to the recent posting heading to the right and visit: “Stepping off the Bike and Into the Spiritual Mountains” if you did not read the earlier posting.  It explains where I am at.  The following are the product of a walk I took down and back up “The Mountain.”  I hope you enjoy!

Three Forms

My early morning breath

     Coffee fumes above the cup

Mounds of tainted snow

     Crunches under foot

Tear drops race down stalactites

     Streams trickle in the cracked roadside

Sun and still mountain air

Bring about transformations

The night will stop the process

And hide the dangers of ice

 

Insulation

 

Snow

Covers the landscape

Hides sleeping creatures

Protects the spring seeds

Snow

Covers the landscape

Deadens all sound

Echoes of my footsteps

Do not resonate

Water drops fall

From sun lit leaves

Borrow silently into

The covering

Snow

 

Words

 

Are these poems?

Are these musings?

Are these distractions?

Are these products

       Of an overactive mind?

Are these messages?

Are these reminders?

Are these answers

       To unknown questions?

Are these profound?

Are these wasted ink?

Are these meaningless questions?

Or

Are they simply moments of being?

 

Simple Observation

 

When the sun is up

Shadows are never black

They are always some hue

In later afternoon they are blue

 

Three Quarters of a Mile

 

Winding path

On the mountain side

Slow measured pace

Note pad and pen

Yields five poems

And deposits me at

The Labyrinth’s gate

 

No Cheating

 

Now there is a good sign!

The labyrinth

Covered in a pristine

Blanket of snow

No one cheated

Walking straight

To the stone obelisk

In the center

Spiritual insights

Spiritual wisdom

Must be achieved

By following the process

 

The Labyrinth

 

Wears a pristine

Winter cloak

Hides its rock outline

A cold stone bench

And four capped

Torch lights

The only indication

Of the outer circle

Today’s visit

One of admiration

A visit to the center

Will wait for another time

The forest spirit

Will understand

My respect

For winters work

Renewal is not yet here

Dormancy prevails

 

Wish I had my camera

 

I will have to carry

The image in my mind

Paint it for you with my words

Trust me

For I do not have the verbal hues

Or sufficient techniques

To convey the beauty

Or the serenity of

A rare moment

 

The Car

 

It slows down to pass me

It rocks with youthful energy and song

The chaperone lowers the window

And nodes toward my son

Seated in the back seat

“You owe me!” he exclaims

 

Pilgrim on the Path

 

I was going up

She was coming down

I was visiting

She was leaving work

We both agreed

This is a special place

To live or to visit

 

Always Amazed

 

I’d been too busy

Writing a blog

Watching the kids

And enjoying a nap

To take my usual walk

Down the mountain side

But I found time

As the teens visited town

And nature rewarded me

With a multitude of gifts

If I hadn’t been here

They would have

Just gone to waste

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Pilgrimage Statistics 

Consecutive Days Riding:  101                                                 Days Blogged: 94

New Mileage: 10                                                               Total Trip Mileage: 773

Finding a shared sense of meaning and joy!

As I ride the bike this morning I am reminded of the scene from the movie Peaceful Warrior  in which the young man followed his newly discovered mentor/teacher on a three hour hike to see “something special .”  As they neared the top of the hill, the young man, who was obviously excited and joyful, notes that he hopes they are close to arriving at their location.  His mentor notes they have arrived, to which the young man asked: “what’s the special thing we’ve come to see?”  The old man points at a rock at the young man’s feet. The young man grows puzzled and frustrated at this proclamation until he comes to the sudden realization that the special thing was “the journey “to that place. It reminds us that the destination does not matter as much as how we journey.  Ultimately, we all  end up as nothing more than a cold granite tombstone, a plaque on a memorial garden wall, or a wisp of ashes dancing on the breeze.  It’s what we do with our lives, with every day and every moment on this journey toward our final breath.

Buddha leads by example!

 My progress as a stationary pilgrim on a virtual search for pilgrimage sites across  Florida, the nation, and eventually the world, has helped me to clarify the nature of my trip. I have recently posted the connection to a new website at www.pilgrimagesite.com. You can find it by clicking on the pilgrimage site tab at the top of this page.  This site allows me to record the presence of retreat centers and potential pilgrimage sites that I find in my internet search.  This webpage contains no pictures or extensive descriptions, just a classification of with respect to its potential interest as a site and a webpage address.  This allows my fellow pilgrims to look at a site and decide on its personal significance to them.  Sites that might hold special significance in my journey, prompting questions and answers for me, might mean little or nothing to other pilgrims.  Even if we share an excitement about a particular site, you might be drawn to the spiritual significance of “the grotto” while I get lost in the spiritual significance of a nature trail.

Natures beauty invites reflection and awareness!

This search for potential sites has led me to questions concerning how to differentiate and classify these potential sites.  A pilgrimage has been defined typically in religious or spiritual terms as a journey or search of some great moral or spiritual significance. All of the world’s major religions have specific pilgrimage sites. Typically they are found in the lands where the faith originated.  For example within Buddhism there are four major pilgrimage sites these are associated with Buddha’s birth place, the site where he attained enlightenment, the site where he preached for the first time, and the site at which he slipped away from his material body. But a pilgrimage sites need not attain that level of significance to function as a journey destination, it need only have some level of spiritual significance for a group or an individual.  Many people make personal pilgrimages to honor their “fallen” ancestors on Memorial Day.  Other people may journey to the site of a special relic or the “first church” of their faith in the New World; I would call this an historically significant site. I have created a classification system whereby I identify sites as having potential significance on various dimensions: Artistic, Architectural, Historical, Scientific, Educational, Religious, and Natural (Nature).  

Retreat site on a hill top!

It seems that a pilgrimage journey is often undertaken when we seek an answer to some spiritual question or reconnection with some aspect of our faith.  Retreats on the other hand, seem to represent more of a temporary change or break from our normal daily routines, a chance to have some “down time” to seek silence and solitude.  This can be a time for prayer, a time to let go of pain, negative emotions, stress and reconnect with the things that are significant to us personally. Retreat centers, which there are many, seem to have as a principal feature the feelings of solitude and tranquility. I  find that retreat sites offer differing degrees of nature based solitude as a primary component.  As such retreat sites will range from what I call a Nature Site such as the Everglades National Park or at the Grand Canyon where an immersion in nature’s awe inspiring beauty is the sites primary offering. In fact if you are lucky such site will offer at least a port-a-potty to service your non-spiritual needs!  More common for the retreat sites I have previewed is what I would call Nature Tranquility which features things like a walking trail through the woods, a bench beside a tranquil river or a vista over a quiet valley.  Somewhat less significance with respect to nature are those sites that offer small but beautiful gardens, often next to a church or on the surrounding grounds.  There are also retreat sites that offer solitude but within an enclosed structure like you are what you might find in a large metropolitan area or in inner-city Zen temple with a simple garden and meditation rooms.

An unforseen spiritual crisis?

 Now that I have my pilgrimage site and retreat center webpage up and running, I’ll find it easier to navigate on my virtual journey.  When I come across sites that we will not visit, perhaps they’re too far out of the way or in some cases I’ve already traveled past the site’s location, I can simply post it for my fellow pilgrims to preview and perhaps visit on the own either virtually or in person. This serves to free my search as I can simply post all potential sites whether we may or may not visit in the future them as part of our virtual journey.   

On Saturday we will visit a Monastery on the outskirts of Tampa, I have found that monasteries and convents, which dot the countryside of our nation in larger numbers then you might think, make for popular retreat centers.  Remember that each breath, each step, each day is as important on our journey as making it to a specific destination!

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