Spiritual Practice: Thin Places
Have you ever encountered a place where heaven/God felt particularly near? I think of these as “thin” places. For me, I feel that groves of giant redwood trees are thin places where the Holy feels practically near. I’ve had the same experience sitting on a rock while ocean waves crash around me. I’ve also felt it at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting I visited once — the definite sense that God was present.
That’s not to say that other places are “thick,” or that God is not always near; it’s just that there are times or places that seem to draw us into the presence of the Holy.
John Phillip Newell, in his book, “The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle For New Beginnings,” speaks of the Island of Iona, Scotland, “Iona and other sacred sites of pilgrimage, and healing throughout the world, are like sacraments or living icons through which we glimpse the Light that is present everywhere.”
Why is it important to seek out thin places? The world can be a hard place. As I write this, we have experienced one of the roughest summers I can remember: hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, mass shootings and fires have ravaged our world. If we are called to be people of light to a dark and hurting world, then how are we to replenish the light within us that gets drained away by this kind of rampant despair?
I believe we need to go to places of light to do so. Many find these, “soul recharging stations,” in churches, in fellowship with friends, in prayer, and in compassionate action. I’d also like to encourage you to take a bit of a pilgrimage to a thin place, outside of your normal experience. Get out in nature, hug a tree, listen to the wind. The Creator would love to speak to you through creation. I promise it will recharge your soul battery!
Have you found places that are particularly “thin” for you?” I’d love to hear about them.
*If you enjoyed this blog please check out my new book, The Retreat: A Tale of Spiritual Awakening. It is available now for pre-order in paperback!