Thursday, April 4, 2013
Bidden or not bidden, God is present. ~Carl Jung
I’ve been reading about the Celtic concept of “thin places,” places where heaven and earth come close together. At first, I thought the concept described an inner place where we feel the presence of the divine. But upon further reading, I now understand that these thin places are physical places, places where we sense the nearness of the other side. Some are famous, like Boudanath, the Tibetan stupa in Nepal, where I had the good fortune to visit during a new year celebration. Others are hardly noticeable, discovered only when we stumble across them.
I think there is a thin place beside the creek at my cabin. When I was looking for a mountain getaway, I had narrowed my focus to two cabins several miles apart. Both were on creeks. One was in move-in condition. It had a spacious loft, and inside bathroom, and a view of snow capped Mt. Hood in the distance. The other one, for roughly the same price, was smaller, run down, dark and musty, nestled deep in the trees with no vista view, and sort of an inside bathroom with an electric toilet which didn’t work very well.
I looked at both cabins several times. I took friends to ask their advice. My friends and my rational mind all told me to go for the nicer one with the view. But my heart kept pulling me back to the other one. There was one particular spot by the creek that I kept returning to. There was nothing visually distinctive about it, but somehow it seemed different than anywhere else. When I sat or stood on this spot, I could hear the creek speaking to me. The trees seemed to embrace me, welcoming me into the secrets of the forest.
Against all advice, I bought that cabin. I fixed it up, but it will never be as pretty as the other one. Nevertheless, it is comfortable and homey. I love to read by the fire in the big stone fireplace. At night, I crawl into the tiny loft and open the skylight so that I can hear the creek. And yes, I have a real toilet, for which I’m grateful.
But my favorite place is that spot by the creek, just a small flat moss covered rock less than two feet square. Sometimes it is simply a nice place to sit with a cup of tea and watch the shadows move or the sun dancing on the rushing water. Sometimes, though, a doorway opens and I am in that liminal space between two worlds. If I can still my inner chatter, the trees share their wisdom with me. Mother ducks show me their ducklings. Salmon swimming upstream pause to greet me. The creek blesses me and guides me, offering me a word or an image in the inner chamber of my soul.
I didn’t know the term “thin place” when I bought the cabin all those years ago. But as I learned about this concept, I understood that my little rock is such a place.
What about you? Have you ever encountered a thin place?
related posts: Eternity in a Dew Drop; The Curiosity of Not Knowing