By Belden C. Lane
Sporting in basic terms uncomplicated tenting gear and a set of the world's nice religious writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary non secular treks throughout the Ozarks and around the American Southwest. For partners, he has purely such lecturers as Rumi, John of the pass, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the common wonders he encounters--Bell Mountain wasteland with Søren Kierkegaard, Moonshine hole with Thich Nhat Hanh--demonstrating how being by myself within the wild opens an extraordinary view onto one's inside panorama, and the way the saints' writings demonstrate the divine in nature.
The self-discipline of backpacking, Lane indicates, is a metaphor for a non secular trip. simply because the wasteland provided revelations to the early desolate tract Christians, backpacking hones an important non secular abilities: being attentive, touring mild, working towards silence, and workout ask yourself. Lane engages the perform not just with quite a lot of non secular writings--Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi Muslim--but with the fascination of alternative enthusiasts of the backcountry, from John Muir and Ed Abbey to invoice Plotkin and Cheryl Strayed. during this intimate and down-to-earth narrative, backpacking is proven to be a non secular perform that enables the invention of God amidst the wonder and unforeseen terrors of nature. Adoration, Lane indicates, is the main applicable human reaction to what we won't clarify, yet have still discovered to like.
An captivating narrative for Christians of all denominations, Backpacking with the Saints is an inspiring exploration of ways solitude, simplicity, and mindfulness are illuminated and inspired via the self-discipline of backcountry wandering, and of the way the wasteland itself turns into a fashion of knowing-an ecology of the soul.
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Extra resources for Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice
I notice how alive and tranquil everything seems after the storm of the night before. But as I place the book on a nearby rock to finish my breakfast, I hear movement in the brush behind me. Thinking another squirrel is scratching in the leaves, I turn to see a half-grown black bear coming through the trees only twenty feet away. My mind goes numb with a mixture of terror and awed delight. The bear, however, is as surprised to see me as I am to see him. He quickly turns and runs as I reach for a pan, beating on it with a spoon to alert his mother of my presence.
Indeed, the reading process itself changes when I’m far from the nearest road, unprotected from weather, relying entirely on what I’ve brought in my pack. I read more furtively, attending at the same time to birdsong and the movement of the wind. I pause more often, testing the truth of the text against the presence of conifers and lichen-covered rock. The smell of sagebrush and flicker of fireflies become part of my understanding. The book may abruptly burst into life with a whole new intensity.
It was as if I had stumbled onto my “resurrection place,” as they say in the Celtic tradition. drawing on the deep peace of the running wave, the deep peace of the quiet earth, the deep peace of the shining stars. The very name I carry summons me, therefore, to a wilderness beyond the next bend in the trail. This is especially the case as I enter an important time of transition in my life. For years my journeys into wilderness have allowed me to escape the confines of an academic life, but I’m preparing now to leave the world of the university altogether—approaching retirement.