After a profoundly inspiring four days in Sedona with my lovely 10-year-old son Asher, I am more convinced than ever that all religions and faiths in the world, are saying the same thing.
So the story goes…when Moses stood before the burning bush and heard God’s voice, God said, I am that I am. That story is foundational for all three Western religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But what is God saying, really?
Then you turn to the Eastern philosophies, which predate our Western consciousness. And what they say is that if we can find the stillness, we will find the truth. In Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, we are encouraged to practice focusing on the thoughts racing through our minds, as an observer, just watching them pinball off each other. That stillness is a perfect way to understand how WHO we are inside, is not the sum total of our thoughts, actions and beliefs.
The mere fact of being able to watch your mind is evidence that “Being is the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.” Or rather, proof that what we call God resides within every living creature, not separate from each of us.
Woah, you say, too heavy for a Wednesday morning before the sunrise. Maybe.
But I think it’s brilliant, the lifeblood of our very essence, like a steaming cup of coffee, still before the cracked window. Are we really so self-important as to think that we have all the answers? Or do we really give credence to the idea that this one philosophy/religion/belief is The Right One and all others are profoundly wrong?
How arrogant. How self-focused. How stupid.
We are all saying the same thing, and we have been for millennia. Wars have begun and ended on this very principle. And to think, we’ve all been believing in the same Source, the same Oneness, that despite skin color or ritual or custom or language, we are all the same.
Why is that concept so difficult to grasp? Wouldn’t it be a comfort to know it to be true?
I decided to celebrate each of my children’s tenth birthday – DOUBLE DIGITS! – with a mother-child adventure. Asher wanted a place where we could hike, be in nature and where it wouldn’t be crowded. My first instinct was Colorado, but having only 4 days start to finish, I figured we’d spend more time driving than actually being there.
Sedona popped into my head.
Here’s the touchy-feely moment: I have no idea why. I had never been there before. There are plenty of mountainous destinations a short drive from easily accessed airports. But we booked our trip to Sedona and the only thing we planned in advance was the hotel reservation (Orchards Inn) and the Verde River kayaking trip.
We ended up in spiritual bliss, hiking Bell Rock and Airport Loop, careening down Slide Rock and celebrating Cinco de Maio at Tlaquepaque (my new favorite word – 2 Q’s! Go Words with Friends). We revered the moments and the sun and the view at Chapel of the Holy Cross. (How weird is it that in 1994 I wrote about Taize services in Dublin only to be brought full-circle 18 years later and realize that I am still on the same spiritual journey?)
In between, we talked. We breathed. We listened to hawks circle overhead, watched lizards skitter amongst the brush. We felt our hearts beat wild in our chests after ascending to peaks. We hugged. A lot.
There is nothing like the communing of two souls, knowing we are brought together in this life for a very important reason and breathing in the wonder of this rich experience on Earth. I dare say these four days were some of the best of my entire life. I am so grateful for the richness of experience and for the ability to see all that is before me.
It is truly magnificent.