... here in my heart, here I allow the wafer and wine of what is right now ...
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 right, thankfully at some distance, a busy highway, to left, the quiet forest. I walk this almost daily. 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 in 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 by myself 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 did. Yet, there the tree is in all its glory, as though donning a wedding dress for the royal groom. But no groom needed here. This tree with its abloomness is an epiphany requiring no one seeing to be the loveliness this loveliness is. No sermon or speech needed, no poetry or painting needed, camera not need, nothing needed. This tree does not mind expressing itself unseen by any human, this tree simply does what it is to do - express an inner life, its innate beauty, to honor the Source of its being thereby. We, of course, are much more complicated - we have an ego, with all its delusional so-called needs, such as that what we do must be seen and, even more, liked. Ego, for example, is not interested in writing a book few would read; ego demands to be recognized, or at last expects to be recognized.
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 over 20 years prior ~ a simple, quiet life of devotion to the Beloved and service to others, to 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, few are publicly honored at death. They just go about in a quiet way, doing the quiet and lovely thing they are here to do. This being so, possibly a good lesson for all of us is to be like the abloom tree. 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.
Additionally, when musing, and looking again toward the tree, I sensed, "This is worship. This standing here, admiring in awe the beauty and grace of this tree is worship." And, so it was, and is. Worship, we can say, is an adoring of the innate life and wonder of anything as expressing Life, the Beloved. 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 dignity of anything, we are in worship.
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Seems our world needs many more persons like that tree. We can honor the life within us, believe in the inestimable beauty we are, and affirm the unique giftedness we are here to allow expression of ~ another matter of contemplative spirituality, we are simply conduits of the one Grace. And expanding our understanding of worship, along with pausing to appreciate the beauty manifesting all around us, is part of what we need to remind us to slow down and imbibe the ecstatic elixir of Life.
Yes, in the sentiments of Whitman, this is, has always been, here, on land and water, is everywhere. May we open the eyes of the Heart and see what is within waiting to be expressed, regardless of who notices or no one. We require no audience to sing our song, only a willingness to sing.
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Grace and Peace to All
The Sacred in Me bows to the Sacred in You
*Lotus of the Heart is an interspiritual work of Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Brian is a practicing spiritual contemplative, interspiritual Chaplain, and writer of nonfiction and poetry.
*Move cursor over photos for photographer and photo name.
*These presentations, at times, include adaptation to gender-inclusive language in quotes from other writers.