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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Slowing down in sacred space

I mentioned in the Sunday sermon that last week I spent a "Day Away" at the Five Oaks Centre near Paris, Ontario. I am a member of the Listening Ministries Team, which helps with some of the programs at Five Oaks. Five Oaks describes itself in some of its own literature as " a sacred place for learning and renewal. The Listening Ministries team are a group of people with training and experience as Spiritual Guides. We are available to accompany people who are interested in coming to a deeper awareness of the presence and the movement of the Spirit in their lives.

Glorious tree at Five Oaks Centre
Five Oaks is a beautiful place, in all the seasons of the year. I like it especially in the early summer, when the trees, like the one in my photo, are brilliant green in new leaves. There is a freshness about the place. I snapped my picture on my way back from walking to one of my favourite spots on the property. Five Oaks was established at a location that has been thought of as sacred for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.

Part of what makes it a special is that it sits at the confluence of Whiteman's Creek, and the Grand River. At the place where they meet, the creek is moving quite quickly. It is possible to stand on a point of land, and watch the waters flow together. You can hear the rush of the creek water, racing into, and then being absorbed by the Grand River, which, as the name may suggest, moves at a less hurried, almost stately pace.

The creek is frenetic and hurried. The river is calm, and able to take in the energy of its watery sibling.

I met with two different people for Spiritual Accompaniment on this Day Away, and they had both made the same journey to the waters that I had. They both reflected on the power of that spot. I wondered if that was because the confluence had been pointed out to them as a special place, or whether they had felt it themselves. Maybe both were true.


Sometimes we need help seeing that a place in our own lives can be named as sacred. Sometimes the sacredness speaks to us, and we find it without being told. It seems to me that we are more likely to experience the sacred if we give ourselves the time to slow down.

How many of us are rushing through our days like that little creek, pouring ourselves fully into moving forward. It can be so good for us to slow down, to be absorbed for a time into a stillness that can accept our hurriedness, and allow us to release the pent up energy, and find a calmer way to be.