Throughout religious history, wilderness has been associated with sacred space. Mt. Zion, Mt. Tabor, Mt. Olympus, the wilderness outside Jerusalem, Heart Butte, Sacred Bear Butte, and the list goes on. Sacred places which attract people questing for beauty and for a glimpse into something beyond us. Jesus, in particular, has a significant experience in the wilderness as he confronts temptation and moves past it, to be transformed by his experience.
All over the world, people religious live in the wilderness--the Celtic "thin places." Places where the realm between what is and what could be seem unified in a spiritual wild-zone. Thin places offer the potential for transformation. I'd like to invite you to travel into the wilderness of "The Earthquake Trail" with me and Colin (my son).
The Earthquake Trail is north of San Francisco and goes directly over the San Andreas fault. We went there after my son had surgery and had his post-surgery "clearance" checkup. This surgery was necessary for Colin to continue his path to a transformed, fulfilled, abundant life. It seems appropriate that we visit a place where sudden transformation has and will occur. And as the sign so appropriately points out, "Prepare yourself for the uncertainty of walking in the fault zone."
It seems to me, that is what the wilderness experience is about. Confronting uncertainty and coming through it with a greater appreciation for the faults that lie within ourselves...and with others. But most importantly, recognizing the power that our faults have when they rage out of control and the beauty they hold when they illustrate our uniqueness.
There is life in the fault zone. New life of grains, older life of majestic trees, even dried moss hanging on lifelessly-for now-waiting to be reborn during the moist days ahead. And most majestically, the California Condor--a bird rebounding from extinction in the wild. Life is abundant here, in the fault zone.
But our boundaries are not always healthy. Sometimes they need to be reset. Transformation happens in an upsetting of power that tumbles our soul pell-mell through the wilderness. What used to be a contiguous, easy, fence breaks and a new boundary is set. Opening up space for abundant love.
And this happens within the wilderness and ancient trees that dwarf our understanding of life. But always stretching it upward and onward.
Shalom and Amen!
Simulcast at www.IntoTheBardo.com
During the week of August 31 – September 6, The Bardo Group will post essays, photos and poems on Wilderness to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act being signed into law in the U. S.