This past weekend, I spent quite a bit of time with ancient rock art, all of it originating from three different Native cultures: the Archaic Barrier Canyon people (5000 B.C.E. to 500 A.D.); the Ancestral Puebloans (700 - 1200 A.D.) and the Fremonts (A.D. 1 - 1300). Although modern Native Americans are able to interpret the meaning of some of this art, much of it remains a mystery. It is best therefore simply to stand and gaze for a while and to let it begin to work on us, inspiring us with our own unique and profound sense of meaning.
As most of you know, my Alaskan brother-in-law passed away suddenly 10 days ago. He had just flown to Ecuador for his daughter's wedding, and while walking down the street, died suddenly from a heart attack. He had no prior knowledge of any heart issues, and unfortunately never got to attend his daughter's wedding.
The fact that the ultimate meaning of these petroglyphs and pictographs remains perennially unknown and mysterious to us got me to thinking about the fact that the basis for so much of our lives - that is, what is going on inside our bodies - remains utterly unknown to us, both in health and in illness. Just as Chip never knew he had a heart problem, none of us really know what is going on inside our bodies, unless we end up developing symptoms that warrant our physician ordering tests. Similarly, we cannot see the bacteria and viruses that cause so many illnesses, and we are blissfully ignorant of the atomic configurations - most of which, as physicists tell us, are actually composed of empty space - that form the very basis of our lives here on earth.
Should it surprise us that so much of the spiritual realm is also invisible? Only intuition, imagination and the intellect of the heart ultimately can put us in touch with these realities. This should, I'm convinced, encourage us to take our dependence upon the flashy worlds of society, politics, and the entertainment industry - as well as our own cherished plans and projects - a little less seriously! For ultimately, MYSTERY lies at the heart of all!
Photos: Rock art near Moab, UT, April 25, 2016
For Spiritual Direction and Workshops, please visit: http://www.resourcesforspiritualgrowth.com/
Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.