Friday, March 16, 2012

A Thin Place

Did you see the "Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer" article in the NYT travel section on Sunday?

It took my breath away and I am so happy to share it in case you missed it.

I am always so grateful when I read something that totally resonates with how I feel. I find it very difficult to articulate certain states of being.

What is a Thin Place?

"A thin place is a locale where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we're able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, the Infinite Whatever. Not everyone finds the same places thin. It's what a place does to you that counts. It disorients, It confuses. We lose our bearings, and find new ones. Or not. We are jolted out of old ways of seeing the world, and therein lies the transformative magic of travel."

"Yet, ultimately, an inherent contradiction trips up any spiritual walkabout: The divine supposedly transcends time and space, yet we seek it in very specific places and at very specific times. If God (however defined) is everywhere and “everywhen,” as the Australian aboriginals put it so wonderfully, then why are some places thin and others not? Why isn’t the whole world thin?

Maybe it is but we’re too thick to recognize it. Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked."

Eric Weiner's has a new book out, “Man Seeks God: My Flirtations With the Divine”

There is also a wonderful description of someone's encounter with the "divine" in Driftless by David Rhodes, another extraordinary writer.

Happy Friday!


Anonymous said...

Great pictures!

GGS said...

Although I resist the idea of a "heaven" and the possibility that we might recognize, through some mystical conjuring, a "heaven on earth," I do like this notion of thin places very much. And the fact that you chose to illustrate it here with pictures of Benares/Varanasi, the "forest of bliss," tells me we're in synch; as Diana Eck articulated the "city of light" in her book "Banaras" (everyone spells the name of thin places differently), it is regarded as a "tirtha," a gateway between earth and the afterlife. That's a more compelling metaphor for me, since the afterlife has qualities no one living can express.

And, by the way, the scrim of fire is a very thin membrane between one state and another.