“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.” - Meister Eckhart
The mystical moment is the primary ingredient that shapes meaning in our lives, a divine encounter of sorts that transports our imagination to higher plains of consciousness. We are designed for sacred encounters that overwhelm our sensibilities, an invitation from otherness to consider greater dimensions of spiritual awareness.
Creation has always been the mystical catalyst that calls us beyond our simplistic and small minded view of existence, a natural guardian that has been watching over us for millions of years. The irony is that we thought we were the guardians of creation when in fact she (mother earth) has been sustaining us from the very beginning of time. Unfortunately we have done our best (or worst) to rebel against her providential care and kindness, abusing the very source of our sustenance. As hope would have it we are finally beginning to wake up to our blatant exploitation of this sacred muse who nurtures our very survival as a species.
The mystical experience has always been metaphored in the majesty of creation, a reflection of the nature of God waiting to be discovered in the essence of all matter. Re-enchanting the beauty of creation may very well reveal the divine in ways that go beyond our institutional machinations.
“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.” - George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones.
On a recent trip to the Hoikianga Harbour we ventured through the Waipoua Forest where the majestic Kauri tree finds its natural habitat and place of flourishing. Kauri trees are among the most ancient in the world, believed to have appeared during the Jurassic period (between 190 and 135 million years ago). This sacred tree is revered in Maori mythology, none more so than Tāne Mahuta the Lord of the forest, who rises 435 metres into the heavens, a noble giant who reminds us that sometimes you have to look up and beyond your immediate space in order to comprehend greatness.
The mystics believed that the tree is the universal spiritual metaphor for LIFE, a reminder that we are all connected at some level (family tree) and that we produce after our own kind creating an eternal future, (the apple never falls far from the tree).
“We have learned that mother trees recognize and talk with their kin, shaping future generations." -Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees.
When you find yourself struggling to feel enthusiastic about life, stop and look outside and gaze upon the beauty of the trees who have learn’t how to survive through all circumstances, counting off the days until the next season rolls around bringing with it the blossom or fruit of new beginnings. In a book published by Mattew Silverstone entitled ‘Blinded by Science’ he says that hugging a tree can actually improve your health, in fact just by being around them the healthful benefits can include an improvement in various issues like depression, concentration levels and even the ability to alleviate headaches. This practice has been going on since ancient times so it’s not just a new discovery. A public health report that investigated the association between green space and mental health concluded “access to nature can significantly contribute to our mental and capital wellbeing.”
“Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, both dark and bright, and they will ensnare your soul.” - Robert Beatty, Serafina and the Black Cloak
The forest is the epitome of healthy air, a place where we can go to be reminded of what it means to breathe deeply and enjoy this particularly agreeable atmosphere. There are more life forms in a handful of soil than there are people on the planet, a mysterious underworld working on our behalf. The forests are where trees congregate to plot humanities future, a creation miracle that invites us to enter at our own risk, not to plunder and pollute but admire and revere the wonder of perfect harmony. It is in this place of quietness where we will find the humility we need as humans to truely learn how to trust in the mystical glory of God in creation.