I am a professor of Religious Studies and a pilgrim on the path of self discovery. What I seek is an earth where silence can be manifest by simply seeking it, not having to hunt for it.
During the Season of Lent our consciousness is drawn to Holy places like Jerusalem. I’ve had the privilege of being there during the Holy Triduum. It was the experience of a lifetime and has been since the 4th Century, where those on the path have come to see Palestine as a ‘holy land’ and Jerusalem as the “City of Many Faiths”. No other place, not even Rome, holds the same distinction in the minds of those seeking to find a connection to Spirit. As St. Jerome once said, “The whole mystery of faith is native to this country and this sacred city.”
No matter how many centuries pass or how widespread the message of Christ becomes, our souls are wedded to this land that gave birth to humanity’s first experience of Creation in the flesh. A dusty land where many of history’s greatest leaders have journeyed and even today provides a snapshot of our past, present and future as people of the path. To experience this land as a pilgrim allows us to be drawn not only into the history of who we are as a people of faith, but connects us somehow with the geo-historical locale in which it all took place. A walk through the Holy Land allows us to be part of the richness of our tradition and journey as a ‘people of the word’, making real the importance of a sojourn to places that nurture and contribute to our process.
Just as incense leaves an odor on the air it touches, so God has left traces of himself in this desolate land. Pilgrims today have that same eagerness to breath in the fragrant air of this relationship where human and divine become as one.
- How did holy land become a place of religious significance (wiki.answers.com)
I remember my first walk. I was so reverent, so filled with myself. I was sure I was on the path, to where I am not sure, but I was certain none the less that I was one of that rare breed of sojourners that truly got the meaning of the Spiritual Journey. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I began by lighting a candle to set my intention, placing it in the sand pots near the entrance to the Labyrinth. I then paced around the outer rim of the labyrinth like a caged animal seeking freedom from a captivity I did not yet understand. I stopped at the entrance, bowed sanctimoniously, and began my walk. With each turn along the way, something was moving inside me.
My heart began to feel heavy, my steps burdened. What was happening to me? The ‘Perfect Pilgrim’ I thought I was entering the sacred path, was now experiencing a state of turmoil and fear like I’d never known. Tears began welling up in my eyes, and with each step a shift was taking place. I could literally feel weight being freed from my heart, my body and my soul.
When I arrived in the center I felt lighter than I ever remember, yet the cockiness that convinced me I was one of the chosen, became the karmic moment my spirit needed to transition into a state of humility capable of helping me understand what letting go and following spirit meant.
Leaving the rosette to return to the world, I somehow ended up back in the center again. Guess I didn’t let go after all! In that brief moment, all I could do was laugh. I sat momentarily, then asked Spirit what she wanted. All I heard was, ‘Let Go.’
The Winding Path is all about the healing power of Spirit, and how she asks us all to ‘Let Go’ of our burdens so that joy and peace permeate the way we live in this world.
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It was an impulse thing — picking up a book at the sale table while waiting for a friend. “The Pilgrimage,” by Paulo Coelho was about an old trail that pilgrims used during the Middle Ages to get to some shrine in Spain called the Santiago de Compostela where the bones of the apostle St. James are said to be. After reading the first three pages, I found tears running down my face. I knew I had to walk the Camino de Santiago, all 800 kilometers of it.
For the rest of the summer I walked every day, trying to build up my couch potato muscles. I bought the best walking boots I could find. A friend lent me a backpack, another insisted I take his old raincoat. “You’ll need it before the trip is over,” he said. I argued that I would be walking through sunny Spain, but he won out. There was one additional thing I decided to take, an old fiddle. I’d learned to play, not too well, but well enough to keep me company.
I still remember that first day walking over the Pyrenees. It was a long hard route full of fog that hid the path. I thought I’d get lost even before I started. Maybe it was those thousands of other pilgrims across the ages that had walked this way before me — who knows? Somehow my feet stayed on the path, and just in time for dinner I arrived at the ancient town of Roncesvalles, where the great warrior of my history books, Roland, fought his last battle. In the weeks following, I trekked up glorious hills filled with tall trees, through lush farmland with vineyards almost as old as the hills themselves. I walked small villages with cobblestone roads, cattle in the street, chickens about, and at every house door (fortunately, tied up) a barking dog. but never a drop of rain. The only useless piece of clothing in my rucksack was that darn raincoat.
Every evening, I would arrive at a refugio: special places pilgrims can stay overnight, sometimes in old monasteries. I remember one old monk giving us a delicious garlic soup for dinner. On a few nights when I wasn’t too tired, I’d bring out my fiddle and play some of my favorite pieces. I began losing my beer belly, and my legs grew stronger. I walked farther each day. People began to wave at me as I passed along the road. At first I wondered why. Then I realized that I wasn’t a tourist, nor a stranger. I was like those who had been walking through their village for centuries. I was a pilgrim.
Slowly I began to see like a pilgrim. Everywhere I looked, in even the smallest town there was not just a church, but a cathedral. A beautiful ornate structure that had taken generations to build. A father had laid the foundation, his son and his grandson’s had built the walls and their children had put on the roof. My memories are of early mornings full of joy and gratitude at being alive. I found myself filled with warm feelings of goodwill toward everyone I met. Was this what it meant to be a pilgrim?
After a heavy rainfall the morning I arrived in Compostela, the sun came out while I had my raincoat on. What I saw amazed me. Hardly believing my eyes, I pulled out my camera, taking a picture of the shadow cast upon the road. It wasn’t just a shadow, what I saw in front of me on the road was the image of the pilgrim, complete with hat, staff and cloak but in duplicate. There was only me, yet there were two shadows. I felt as if my soul had connected to the thousands who had over time walked this sacred road that connects heart, mind and soul to a time of simple faith and limitless spiritual energy.
I’ll never forget the power of my 30 days on the “Road of St James” …. NEVER!
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The bus screamed in low tones as if calling out ‘Uncle’ to the twisting dirt road before it. Looking through dust covered windows I see the majestic Andes; and somewhere in the distance, feel the presence of the mountain spirits (Apus) gazing into my soul. Ascending around the last turn, my heart is overwhelmed by the power of this place—The Lost City of the Incas, The Crystal City in the Clouds….. Machu Picchu. Her aura like a fairy–tale, enchanted, magical, shrouded in mystery, remote, yet breathtakingly beautiful!
Perched high atop the Andes, she is the Tibet of the Americas. Seated at an elevation of 9000 feet she has been held in the silence like a secret, protected by the most powerful feminine energy vortex on the planet. Here she lies, soft and welcome, awaiting pilgrims like myself who are willing to risk finding themselves among the vastness of this sacred landscape.
Her mysterious past fills you with question after question, yet reveals nary an answer. Her energy reverberates off white marble walls which are 40% quartzite, which in essence makes her a giant crystal emanating vibrational energy all the time.
As you saunter through her maze like passageways, and meander up stone staircases, you are lead to the Intiwatana or Hitching Post of the Sun, the highest and most powerful energy spot on the mountain. After a brief period of meditation, continue to explore, taking in the Temple of the 3 Windows, offering prayers to the Sacred Pachamama Stone while embracing the circular architecture of the Temple of the Sun.
The more you walk, the more you sense you’re not alone here. You even find yourself stopping from time-to-time, looking back to see if you’re being followed. The feeling isn’t eerie instead it’s familiar, like a guide or teacher walking with you on this amazing journey.
Sitting in the long grass plaza, there is a sense that the ancient ones are still here. The plaza is the center or balance point (fulcrum) between the male and female teeter-totter of energy that make up this amazing place.
On one side sits the Huyana Picchu—the feminine, and on the other, the masculine peak—Machu Picchu. The Patakusi, a small peak near the plaza is the place where the holy city grounds itself. This balance is Machu Picchu’s message to the world.
Machu Picchu is truly alive, the stones speaking softly to your soul, the peaks comforting your heart and the sacredness of this hallowed ground bringing clarity and peace. It is here that we are reminded that life is not complicated unless we make it so, and that all life’s answers lie within!
A pilgrimage to Machu Picchu is like spending time with a trusted friend, while at the same time re-connecting to the simplicity of life. If there is anything she asks us to take with us upon departure, it’s that constant reminder that everything is just as it’s intended.
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Have you ever attempted to have a conversation with someone about Religion and found them incapable of an open minded dialogue on the subject. Possibly someone with a preconceived notion of a faith you hold close to your heart, yet their bias emanates from media hype, not an informed mind. If the answer to either of these scenarios is yes then understanding the Science of Ecumenics will be easy to grasp.
Ecumenics is rooted in the religious interplay most of us know as Ecumenism; which simply put, is the cooperative dialogue between two conflicting forces to find a foundation by which healing and growth can take place. An excellent example of an Ecumenical Dialogue is the Peace Accord between the Protestant North and Catholic South in Ireland.
For purposes of entertaining a discussion on the subject, I would like to propose the following and ask that you keep an open mind; “What would Christianity look like today if the any of following would have taken place ….
- The Church embraced a democratic model reflective of the early Christian Communities.
- The voices of women in the church would have continued to be heard and cherished.
- The morality ushered in by early leaders of the faith would not have wained, but instead blossomed.
- That man-made laws instituted through fear and guilt, give way to compassion and hope for the whole community.
- That a wholistic approach be utilized embracing the connection between history and tradition, while nurturing the unique contribution each has to offer the faithful.
- Finally, that religion understand it’s place in the hierarchy of spiritual maturity, while acknowledging that each individual has a personal path needing followed for them to fulfill their own destiny.
Ecumenics could be utilized by a single faith group (Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc;…) to evaluate it’s Dogma, Doctrine & Theology. An Ecumenical conversation possess’ an opportunity for a faith group to examine from top to bottom those ideologies that nurture or oppress the flock being shepherd. In listening, sharing and embracing the challenges that utltimately arise, a process of spiritual growth will be instilled, trust restablished and hope reaffirmed, creating an institution where like minded people will again come together to share their stories and begin new ones.
I will add to this post from time to time, citing examples and additional commentary from experts in this new and exciting Spiritual Science.
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Angkor Wat (“City Temple”) is a vast temple complex near the city of Siem Reap, 200 miles from the capital of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. A 12th century creation built by King Suryavarman II as a funerary temple (Mausoleum) to hold his remains, symbolically confirming his spiritual status alongside that of Vishnu. After the city fell to invaders, the temple receded into the jungle but continued as a Buddhist temple and a pilgrimage site over the centuries. Angkor Wat is the best preserved example of Khmer architecture in Cambodia and is so grand in scope that some rank it among the seven wonders of the world. It appears on the Cambodian national flag, the rare instance of a flag incorporating an image of a building.
The “lost city” of Angkor first attracted the interest of Europeans in the 1800s after Cambodia during the French colinization period . Today, Angkor draws thousands of visitors anxious to see this remarkable “Temple in the Rainforest.” Buddhist monks are daily visitors to Angkor, their bright orange robes in vivid contrast to the grey stonework of the temple.
Angkor Wat consists of five central shrines, surrounded serendipitously by a moat and three galleries. On the west side is a paved causeway, leading over the moat, under a magnificent portico, extending for approximately a quarter of a mile to the primary entrance of the complex.
The first gallery has square pillars on either side of the entrance. The ceiling between the pillars is decorated with lotus rosettes; the outer wall with dancing figures. The periphery of the inner wall is filled with arched windows, apsaras (nymphs), and dancing male figures on prancing animals. Apsaras are found on the walls of all galleries.
From the first gallery a long avenue leads to the second gallery. This is reached via a raised platform with lions on both sides of a staircase. The inner walls of the second gallery contain continuous narrative relief. The western wall shows scenes from the Mahabharata epos.
The third gallery encloses the five shrines which are built on a raised terrace and are interconnected by galleries. The roofings of the galleries are decorated with the motif of the body of a snake ending in the heads of lions or garudas. Sculptured lintels and frontons decorate the entrances to the galleries and the entrances to the shrines.
Visitors to Angkor take away a variety of impressions; some gain insight into Buddhism, archaeology or history, while others have a deep seeded experience of connectedness to the spiritual energy of the temples. The real show stopper of Angkor however is the sunrise and sunset.
The skies over the sacred city always put on a show and if you time it right, you can embrace the glistening rays of dawn or the afterglow of the setting sun as it frames the spires of this ancient space. Whatever brings you here will be far less than what you take away, for a new sense of stillness, peace and solitude will permeate your entire being. A moment at Angkor is like nothing you have ever experienced before, or ever will again.
Let your feet lead you into the sacred embrace of Angkor – this Temple in a City, a city of Joy!
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We are living today in the cusp of the Mayan end times, the end of a galactic day or time period spanning thousands of years. One galactic day of 25,625 years is divided into five cycles of 5,125 years. Many of us are aware of the Mayan calendar but not many truly understand what it means and how it works. Yes the calendar does end on December 21, 2012, but what does that mean?
The Mayans had a very precise understanding of our solar system’s cycles and believed that these cycles coincided with our spiritual and collective consciousness, the most significant of which has much to do with the 2012 prophecies. In the following overview, we will walk through the primary details of their prophecies surrounding the 2012 transition. How the transition takes place (from an astronomical perspective), what it means for us.
The Mayans prophesied that beginning in 1999, we have 13 years to realize changes in our conscious attitude that stray from the path of self-destruction, instead moving onto a path that opens our consciousness to integrate us with all that exists. The Mayans knew that our Sun, or Kinich-Ahau, every so often synchronized with the enormous central galaxy. And from this central galaxy received a ‘spark’ of light which causes the Sun to shine more intensely producing what our scientists call ‘solar flares’ as well as changes in the Sun’s magnetic field. The Mayans say that this happens every 5,125 years. But also that this causes a displacement in the earths rotation, and because of this movement great catastrophes would be produced. The Mayans believed the universal processes, like the ‘breathing’ of the galaxy, are cycles that never change. What changes is the consciousness of man that passes through it. Always in a process toward more perfection. Only from our individual efforts could we avoid the path to great cataclysm that our planet will suffer to start a new era, the sixth cycle of the Sun.
The Mayan civilization was in the fifth cycle of the Sun, and there were four other great civilizations before them that were destroyed by great natural disasters. They believed that each cycle was just one stage in the collective consciousness of humanity. So we come back to what they call ‘The Time of No Time’. It is an evolutionary period, short but intense, inside the grand cycles where great changes take place to thrust us into a new age of evolution as individuals and as mankind. As individuals we will have to make decisions that will affect us all. Please notice the events of our planet as evidence that the Mayan prophecies are worth listening to and learning from. Share this information and help us all move toward a better future, where we can thrive in a new era of positivity.
If we continue on this negative path of hate, an eye for an eye, destruction of nature, of fear and egoism, we will enter straight into the time of destruction and chaos, and we will disappear as the dominant race of this planet. If we become conscious and realize that we all form part of a great organism, and that we should respect one another and be grateful to our planet, then we will move directly into positive growth, our Golden Age. Our planet, the Sun and the Galaxy are awaiting our decision. It is up to us what will happen in this time of change. Whether we go through a time of suffering and destruction or we find ourselves united in a positive consciousness moving closer to our next stage.
What is their calendar based off of? We’ll start with the basic prophecies and later move deeper into the explanation of the cycles. Based on their observations, the Mayans predicted that from the initial date of the start of their civilization, 4 Ahau, 8 Cumku which is 3113 B.C., after one cycle being completed 5,125 years in their future, December 21st, 2012. The Sun, having received a powerful ray of synchronizing light from the center of the galaxy, would change its polarity which would produce a great cosmic event that would propel human kind to be ready to cross into a new era, The Golden Age. It is after this, that the Mayans say we will be ready to go through the door that was left by them, transforming our civilization based on fear to a vibration much higher in harmony.
More to come ……