I did not bring “issues” to the Camino to work out. It was more about just being here and sharing from the heart.
And sharing in the joy of little things–like early light climbing down to earth from the tops of trees.
But there’s something about this middle part of the Camino with a flat earth and big skies
And endless lines of trail walked all alone for hours
That turns the awareness inward toward the heart
And the crunchy roadside sound of step step step turns the walk into a natural waking meditation, and from there…
Things surface from your unseen depths.
So as I walked one morning, four open parts of my life popped up on a platter of awareness right in front my face. For I will return from the Camino to a new chapter of my life.
Four things Like livelihood and purpose, and family in all its many meanings, and self-expression too.
Mentally, as I walked, I turned them into prayer and I “gave” them all to my meditation teacher, a master whose guided my spiritual efforts for over 30 years.
I had the feeling that I had “surrendered” those four uncertain things to her, as an agent of God for me, so now that they were “gone” from my consciousness, well then, come what may…
To my surprise, within a minute later… she gave them back to me!
But now each one was filled to overflow with grace. I knew because I felt the feel of them and knew the nature of them as I gave them away and then saw how they had changed in feel and nature when she gave them back.
After a few miles I realized that each of these four facets of my life were, in some way, about meaningfully and beneficially and satisfyingly connecting my interior with the interior of others, in short… about relationship.
Then, after a few kilometers, this recognition arose out from the pathway and the fields right up through my heart: the qualities I really want in relationships–for both myself and those that I relate with–are love, freedom and duty.
As I walked I knew that those three big and abstract words have a lot of meanings that mean different things to different people at different times, but I was pretty clear on what they meant to me.
But more important than that was the way in which those three qualities had come packaged together with each other from the Way–rounding to a whole a sense of what was important to me and carrying the deeper knowledge that this insight held for me.
And I sang these words for many alone miles–the second time that my gifts came in threes, mixing them into all kinds of rhythmic combinations and fresh melodies.
Stone alter in an old stone church, upon which I mentally put my ancient human wish.
And I learned from this too another fresh take on something that I thought I “knew”. That spiritual “surrender” is not about giving interior things away, or giving them up ’cause you don’t want them anymore, so much as about holding them more gracefully, once you know they’re filled with grace. And if I hold them with love and freedom and a sense of duty too… well then come what may.
And then it’s time for fun.