Monday, March 17, 2008

Tell Me Where The Miracles End

I have told the story many times in sermons of a walk in the woods I took once during a silent retreat. I came across a piece of quartz sticking out of the ground--it was about the size of a human head, and it was in a clearing so that it had been soaking in sunshine all morning.

It seemed like an auspicious site to me, so I sat down to meditate. At some point I "heard" the words (that's the only way I can describe it), "Take off your shoes, this is holy ground." I did as I was told, I reverently removed my sneakers and set them aside.

When my meditation was over I decided to continue my walk and was about to put my shoes back on when I suddenly realized that I couldn't tell where the "holy ground" stopped and the regular old ground began. So I kept my shoes off for the rest of the walk.

When I got back to the retreat center I was about to put my shoes back on but wondered why the ground outside was "holy" but the floors inside were not. So I kept my shoes off. I'd like to say that I never put my shoes on again, but I did. Still, to remind myself of this experience I do take my shoes off whenever I preach or lead a workshop. Everything, I'd learned, is holy ground.

Yesterday I was flying back to Cape Cod from a conference I'd been attending in Kentucky. I love to fly, and while I understand the physics of flight it never ceases to be a magical, a miraculous experience for me. During my flight yesterday I started thinking about other magical, miraculous experiences. I started thinking about how amazing our "horseless carriages" are. Or that we can press a button and suddenly see moving pictures . Or that we can flick a switch and have light. Or that we can eat food and turn it into body parts. Or that the energy that makes our hearts beat comes from the Big Bang itself.

Oh, for the most part I understand the science behind these things. Yet tell me, where do the miracles stop? Albert Einstein said that we have a choice between two ways of living in the world--as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is.

In Gassho,

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