Thursday, December 6, 2012

Spiritual Reflection from Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

I woke up this morning at 3am and then dozed until around 4am.  I got up and made some tea and toast.  I reread my last spiritual direction entry as preparation for the assignment from my spiritual director.  The assignment was to take a walk in the woods and be with my True Mother -- as in Earth.  After reading the entry and reflecting on it, I fell back to sleep, perhaps around 5:30am.

I subsequently woke at 7:30am to find the sun shining through the windows from a partly cloudy sky.  It was beautiful -- a miracle that felt all for me.  The message that followed was, "Time to wake up, Brad, time to go to the trail."  I was so delighted the rain had stopped since it was to have rained non-stop the whole day.  It had been raining so hard just after the tea and toast I fixed earlier.  I assumed my planned hike at Moulton Falls would be in the midst of heavy rain the whole time I would be there – but now it wouldn't.  What joy I felt.

As I drove to Moulton Falls Trail Park, the mostly cloudy sky with patches of sun breaking through here and there spoke in ways that are hard to describe.  It seemed that light was peeking through and saying, “Hope is on the way, Brad.”  I saw flocks of geese heading southeast in formation and felt that to be significant as well.  The thought that kept coming to me while driving toward the park and seeing the geese was, "Take flight!"

Before arriving at the park, I pass the campgrounds belonging to my former employer and church denomination.  I have not been there in quite some time.  I am startled at what I see.  The trees that defined the campgrounds and made it the place where I worshiped for so many years are gone.  Rape, the place has been raped.  All its trees are gone and I know precisely why.  It’s so the campground board has money to pursue their grand master plan -- a plan that will implode on itself because in another fifteen or twenty years they won't have enough people, and the wealth of those people, to keep their grand delusion and illusion going.  They’re dying and they refuse to make plans accordingly.  Even now they can't take care of the buildings they have and ensure those are truly maintained in the manner they ought to be.  It’s so obvious just in driving by let alone the knowledge I have of the place and the people and their issues and dynamics involved.  There is no true stewardship operating there.  It is simply greed and a totally deluded detached obscene sense of self-importance that has no reality whatsoever.  They have slit their own throats.  Even their neighbor is trying to sell to get away from them.

At the Moulton Falls Park, I stumble around a bit before I finally locate the trail head.  I then follow it along the river.  It rises above the river to a nice height and thus provides a wonderful vantage point from which to see the rocks and rapids that are quite dramatic at three or four different points.  The sounds of the river rapids are so powerful, prevalent, and overwhelm everything else.

I walk further and come to a bridge over the river.  I take photos from the bridge and then eventually walk a switchback to higher ground that is a picnic area with several tables.  The tables are covered in leaves, obviously abandoned until next spring or summer.

I feel drawn to one table in particular right next to a leafless tree covered in moss.  The tree is probably beech or ash. The trunk is covered with a draping kind of moss and at the base is a beautiful mature fern.  I clear leaves from a portion of the picnic table bench nearest the tree and sit down.  I sit, close my eyes, and simply listen.  The sound most significant at first is the river's intensity from its rapids.

What I then note is the absence of animal sounds.  No birds, no crickets, no nothing.  Occasionally, there is the far away sound of a passing car.  But as I listen more closely, I pick up the sound of moisture drops dripping from off the tree canopy and off the moss clothing the trees.  I hear drops hit dead leaves on the forest floor and but also fern branches that are quite alive.  I hear drops impact the raincoat I’m wearing.  I am thinking the drops land on both that which is alive and that which isn't.  I then realize that that which is seemingly lifeless on the forest floor is being prepared for its return to life through the raindrops and moisture that help it decompose and eventually become part of something living again.

I find that as each drop falls from the trees or from the sky or from the moss and hits a living leaf or a living fern branch, it's as though the leaf or fern branch shudders powerfully alive in the moment -- shaking and reverberating sympathetically into my body so that my body convulses in symbiotic response.

Finally, I leave the bench and move to a part of the trail that's the entrance to the picnic area and I begin a prayer and speak this blessing:  "Bless all that is living.  Bless all that is dying.  Bless all that has been received and all that begins its path back toward life."  Why have I offered such blessings?

I start to leave the area and my vision captures part of the river's rapids obscured by the brush and trees.  I want to investigate further.  I wonder if there will be a trail down to the river’s edge that offers me a better viewpoint.  I find such a path.  I take it down to the river.  Eventually the path ends.  If I chose to get closer to the river in order to view the magnificent rapids upstream, I must go where this is no path.  I decide to do so.  My footing is unsure.  Some of the rocks are quite slippery.  Sometimes the moss on the rocks helps.  Other brush, now leafless, helps in that the branches are sturdy and I can hold on to them to keep my footing safe and not fall onto the rocks or into the river's rapids.

At this point, I notice a dark object flying from out of the forest near me yet a little above me and over the river.  It has a white head.  As it passes, I see the distinct white tail plumage of a Bald Eagle as it glides so effortlessly over the river.  I am confounded and astonished at the beauty of the moment.  This trail had been so devoid of animal life and had I been a second earlier or later, had I not responded to the urging to get closer to the river, I would not have seen this magnificent sight.  What can this possibly mean?

It seems that the miraculous moment involving the river and its immense power and the bird with its freedom of flight are saying, "Take flight.  Go with the flow.  Let everything flow. Hold nothing back, for nothing can be held back.  There is no force strong enough or powerful enough to hold back that which is and that which is coming and that which will in time be gone."

It's then that I begin my return to the trail from the river's edge.  Again, I am so grateful for rocks that make steps toward the trail easier and I am most glad for leafless strong brush that grows between the rocks so I can hold on to it.  It assists me as before with keeping my balance and not falling on the rocks or into the rapids – something I nearly do a time or two.  It's then that I notice a piece of wood lying on the ground.  It looks to me like a wooden representation of Samson's jawbone of an ass.  I can't resist.  I pick it up and take it with me thinking of the physical strength and stamina of Samson. A little further, my vision is drawn to a tree branch large enough to be a walking staff and as I look on it, the words impressed on me are, "The staff of a prophet, even one like Moses.  It is to be your staff for the freeing and healing of others."

Why do this thoughts come to me.  Aren’t they but self-delusion.  What is God’s Mother Earth telling me?  What is she trying to have me remember, reconnect to?  What is the message?  Am I a modern day Moses?  Am I Moses returned?  I hardly think so.  Such thinking is simply the grandiosity of ego or arrogance within me that I have not yet subdued.  For if it were true, there would be a place to go, a place to flee and be free.  As it is, there is no physical place any longer to lead a present day race of slaves.  There is only a state of mind to be found, discovered, freed, explored, and lived fearlessly before the pharaohs of today’s world.

Where are the true prophets, God.  Where are the true apostles?  Where are the true messengers and teachers for you and your coming that ushers in a world like that which the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah envisioned so very long ago – a world that will have the majesty of a mountain – even a holy mountain in which nothing shall hurt or destroy?

Humanity, to heal yourself and the world and earth in which you reside, means an end to the pharaohs of wealth, influence, power and prestige.  You, Humanity, have tolerated them in one form or another for far too long.  Compassionately, yet bravely, you must help them to find and live out other answers to their passions than greed, influence, lust, prestige, and power.  They must find it in other things far more satisfying than that to which they have attached themselves.  Let the healing begin.

Brad Shumate
Free of Encumbrance
Vancouver, Washington