And I would be the wind, whispering through the tangled woods, running airy fingers over the island’s face, tingling in the chill of concealed places, sighing secrets in the dawn. And I would be the light, flinging over the island, covering it with flash and shadow, shining on rocks and pools, softening to a touch in the glow of dusk. If I were the rain and wind and light, I would encircle the island like the sky surrounding earth, flood through it like a heart driven pulse, shine from inside it like a star in flames, burn away to blackness in the closed eyes of its night.
~ Richard Nelson, The Island Within
In Yoga philosophy, as with all the great faiths, God could never be captured in words. But if you tried, you might say God is an intelligence akin to the Force in Star Wars or what Voltaire seems to have been getting at when he wrote that “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”
I know there are as many yogic philosophies as there are scientific theories. Samkhya, Vedanta, Tantra. There is probably now a yoga philosophy they sell exclusively online for just $99.99 with a limited edition organic recycled yoga mat. Humans love to brand and argue. But the truth of our original nature must be singular. And yogis would note that meditation, religion, service, science, philosophy, and those funny pretzel poses are all paths to God. But none of those paths or methods encapsulates God. And none is better than the others. The paths are simply fingers pointing at the moon, rafts across the ocean of suffering, different strokes for different folks. Or to use my favorite metaphor, the paths — like all things subject to birth and death — are waves.
God is the sea.
~ Jaimal Yogis, All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride
All text excerpted from “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” by Wendell Berry.
Before I began my retreat, a friend who happens to be one of my favorite photographers, Bo Mackinson, invited me to participate in the start of a movement. Bo published a post on Easter titled Practice Resurrection, putting her images to Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” The following is my answer to her invitation, and to Wendell Berry’s call. It’s also my way of honoring Earth Day.
I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.
~ Charles de Lint