The ancient Celtic blood flows through my veins, deeply embedding me within the landscape itself, the rocks and streams are my family,my ancestors, my siblings, and I listen and feel the rhythm of their music and the sounds of the elements and traditions that are a part of this vast, ancient, passionate land worshiping the Creator, alongside me in harmony.
As well as deep silence and contemplative prayer, sat by waterfalls or surrounded by towering Scots Pines, or gazing into mirrored lochs without a ripple, I also stretch across landscapes of towering mountains, babbling brooks and ancient energies dancing in mossy circles of praise, our cathedrals being the landscapes naves and chapels embracing me, holding me tight in the heart of God.
Thomas Merton also knew this utter belonging where all is One and the landscape itself aids our self-forgetfulness and simplicity in the presence of the Creator, ourselves the wriggling toes of the one starlit body tickling trout in the streams, the unspeakable paradise where there is no separation, no distance between God and Creation. No more distinction between me and God than between two brain cells occupying the same brain. We are made of the very stuff of God, our bodies origins lie in the stars that we see littered in their blazing colorful glory across the celestial realms as we look at inky black skies. The auroras dance and twirl in celebration, flashing reds and greens, purples and blues…
Thomas Merton says, ” With my hair almost on end and the eyes of the soul wide open I am present, without knowing it all, in this unspeakable Paradise, and I behold this secret, this wide open secret which is there for everyone, free and no-one pays any attention. O paradise of simplicity, self-awareness-and self forgetfulness-liberty, peace.” In another piece he says, “It is here that you discover act without motion, labour that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.”
I know Thomas, I know…for I see and know of what you speak. And we dance, we dance in ecstasy in celebration of this unspeakable Paradise, of this ineffable mystery of which we are the beloved of the Beloved. And this Scotland is my land, the land that runs passionately through my veins from its most ancient kings, now laying buried on the Isle of Iona, alive in the heart of God. This is the landscape that called me into the physical form from my spiritual homelands, and where the Lord in His graciousness placed me gently to be embraced throughout my lifetime…one that nurtures and allows me to be self-forgetful in its vastness and mystical magnificence.
As Wordsworth says in his Ode to Immortality;
Our sleep is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s star
Hath had elsewhere it’s setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.