Yesterday I talked about human spiritual evolution and the necessarily evolving aspect of the Divine. This facet of our union with the Ultimate is what I am calling the "feminine" or dynamic dimension. In Sanskrit terms, it roughly corresponds to "Prakriti" (or Shakti), the presence indwelling all life and energy. In Process Theology, it is the Consequent Nature of the Divine, the part of the Source that evolves in and through us. We might get an approximate image of this aspect by imagining a vivacious, ever-youthful woman. Here I think of White Buffalo Calf Woman of the Lakota, who is youthfully beautiful, yet who is often depicted with the white hair of a sage. In any case, this is the lively, seamless, river-like flow of wisdom.
However, this picture would be incomplete without mentioning the stable, static, unchanging facet of the Divine. This aspect is what I am calling the "masculine" or endlessly-spacious dimension. In Sanskrit terms, it roughly corresponds to "Purusha." In Process Theology, it is the Primordial Nature of the Divine. We might get an approximate image of this aspect by thinking of the "strong, silent male," or the god Shiva in his ceaselessly meditative aspect. In any case, this is the spacious, sky-like aspect of meditation. We might also think of it as a high mountain.
Although sometimes in traditional spiritual traditions, the unchanging "masculine" aspect is given priority over the dynamic "feminine," a Wilderness Mysticism holds that BOTH dimensions are necessary for a balanced and complete spiritual life. Here I think of poet Gary Snyder's epic poem entitled "Mountains and Rivers Without End." Both are needed for a beautiful landscape, and both make up a healthy spirituality. The interdependence of these two elements is superbly indicated by the fact that many mountains are actually composed of sediments that once lay at the bottom of an ancient river or ocean, while rivers themselves are formed from snow precipitated by mountains that cause water vapor in the atmosphere to condense and fall to earth.
As always, Wilderness Mysticism is a both/and kind of spirituality, valuing both the Changing and the Changeless, the Evolving and the Stable, the Visible and the Invisible, Horizontal Unity and Vertical Unity, the Feminine and the Masculine - in short, "Mother Earth" and "Father Sky."
Photo: Ruddy peaks with aspens and a stream flowing into Crater Lake, Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness, CO, September 27, 2015
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I am available for one-on-one sessions giving instruction in Wilderness Insight Meditation and Wilderness Contemplative Prayer, or for spiritual direction / mentoring via phone or Skype. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. The rate is $65 per hour-long session. You might also want to check out my Spiritual Direction with Stephen Hatch Facebook page.
Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.