Redwood Forest at DescansoOn Sunday, April 21, I had put together a reflective walk to take place at Descanso Gardens in La Canada. My idea was simple: find a walkable path with six resting places which would allow people a chance to sit with nature in a focused way offering individuals a chance to reflect on the spirituality of participatory creation.

By using specially selected readings taken from¬† different sources, each spot would give people the opportunity to experience unified harmony, nature as teacher, meadows and trees as tranquility, nature as death and birth, and nature as the evolving unchangeable…and in all this the realization that God is present.

Unified harmony could be found in ways in which nature, and the landscape artists worked together to merge nature with subtle seamless boundaries. Tall redwood trees responded in ways to suggest nature’s cathedral with meadows of green tall grass acting as moist, cooling prayer rugs calling those who wish towards peace.Other stops showed that our earth struggles to bring forth life despite its barren surroundings. We were shown that our earth resurrects itself without dogma or holy words.

At our last rest stop we were offered a space were large rocks stood amongst a recessed hidden area filled with lush vegetation; the stones part of a manufactured waterfall long since abandoned. True, there was no more water running over the large mass of stones, but there they stood, knowing, strong and content. The space had changed, but with the majesty of the knowing rock, its function did not matter as their being was unchangeable.

I came away from the experience realizing that if we, as a humanity, could take a moment to think about participating with nature rather than trying to control it, our attitude towards our home earth would revolutionize our behavior. When we seek to control nature, to make it do our bidding, it is easy try and control others as well. Much of the world’s violence finds its root in control….control over lives, money, and power. Nature, on the other hand, merely wishes to grow, and to exist not as a single individual, but a diverse anthem of many as one.

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“We all flow from one fountain Soul. All are expressions of one Love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but God flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all.” (John Muir)