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"thin Places"


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This was Cynthia's idea, but I decided to start the thread.

 

I'll start with the quote from Thomas Merton, a 20th century Trappist monk:

 

"Life is this simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and God is shining through all the time.

 

This is not just a fable or a nice story. It is true.

 

If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently.

 

God shows himself everywhere, in everything - in people and in things and in nature and in events.

 

It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without him. It's impossible. The only thing is that we don't see it."

 

Where or when or what is a "Thin Place" for you?

 

Has there been a time or place in your life where God was shining through?

 

Has there been a time where you got a "Zap" of connection?

 

Tell your story. Be detailed. Have fun!

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I've had a few epiphanies, but nothing compares to the night that I sensed my call to ministry. I felt God's presence in the room with me in a profound and even tangible way. I sensed God's voice (though I don't think a tape recorder would've picked it up). I was shocked, comforted, loved, and challenged. I'd rather not go into the details as this tends to overly intellectualize and demiracle the experience.

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Where or when or what is a "Thin Place" for you?

 

Has there been a time or place in your life where God was shining through?

 

Many times and places... I just didn't always know to call it God.

 

Mostly I get that connection when I am being completely mindful of the moment, sometimes in meditation and sometimes not. When I am doing whatever I am doing and only doing that, doing it with rapt and full attention and being completely attuned to the moment, it happens.

 

At those moments, it seems like only me and God, and the line between us ceases to exist.

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My contemplative side has developed its own favorite ritual. I like to pop in my Dead Can Dance, The Serpent's Egg (DCD is gothic) or some similar sounding music. Then light candles which are nicely arranged all around and loose all other light. Then, I make the sign of the cross with water that I have in a glass candleholder nearby. Then I read a bit of Scripture in a lectio sort of way. Then into contemplative prayer.

 

That's the idea anyway. Usually, some variation thereof.

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  • 1 month later...

Now that I understand the meaning of this term, I remembered it and decided to pull this thread out of the mothballs.

 

I live in NM and near a small mountain range. As I drive home, I see the mountains right ahead of me. It doesn't happen all the time or even most of the time, but sometimes I have this most overwhelming sense of awe.

 

It's sad to me, but apparently there are some people here who never had that experience. I had just had one of these and I walked into this nearby store where I know everybody and am comfortable. Anyway, I made some comment about how "we are so lucky to be able to see these mountains anytime." This guy in line made this comment and it just struck me how sad, but basically the mountains weren't high enough for him, they were "bare", they were dusty, they weren't like CA mountains (no that's a different kind of beauty imo). I thought perhaps he was depressed in a clinical sense though maybe not.

 

I know why these mountains are sacred to the native peoples here. I think Borg commented on the no. of mountain top kind of experiences. (This isn't mountain top exactly, I think we have an elevation of one mile.)

 

--des

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Mountains, deserts, the night sky, the sun - all have facilitated "thin place" experiences for me.

 

Thin places, imo, is another term for a mystical experience or mystical awareness.

 

Different situations facilitate mystical awareness for different people. Some experiences are "empty" in nature (apophatic), some experiences have the feeling that their is an Other present (kataphatic). Some have mystical awareness brought on by silent meditation (apophatic). Others have mystical experience brought on by active involvement (kataphatic).

 

All mystical experience seems to be unitive, but the unitive feeling can be a total dissolution of self - "Thou Art That" or of participation with an "Other".

 

A great book to learn about mysticism and to see what kind of mystic you might be is "The Mystic Heart" by Teasdale. I seem to fit the "Nature Mystic" category the best. :D

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I was also thinking of how they have a timeless quality to them as well, and a feeling of being utterly removed from one's surroundings. Once I was on a plane (Borg mentions a thin place on a plane as well) and looking out over the sky at the clouds. I started seeing depths and heights to them so it started off kind of as an asthetic or even "scientific" interest. But then I just became totally transfixed. I think I was interrupted by the flight attendant asking for my beverage choice or a captain's announcement of what we were flying over, something mundane. I was totally snapped back, gosh I'm on a plane, etc. and I could not will the experience back. I could look at the clouds again even be interested in them or see beauty in them, but the experience was gone like that.

 

I think there is something special re: mountains, sky, desert. There's a reason all those native peoples saw these places as sacred. Perhaps its that remote otherworldly sense they can have. When I first moved here I kind fo had culture shock for lack of trees, etc.

 

--des

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  • 9 months later...
This was Cynthia's idea, but I decided to start the thread.

 

I'll start with the quote from Thomas Merton, a 20th century Trappist monk:

 

"Life is this simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and God is shining through all the time.

 

This is not just a fable or a nice story. It is true.

 

If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently.

 

God shows himself everywhere, in everything - in people and in things and in nature and in events.

 

It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without him. It's impossible. The only thing is that we don't see it."

 

Where or when or what is a "Thin Place" for you?

 

Has there been a time or place in your life where God was shining through?

 

Has there been a time where you got a "Zap" of connection?

 

Tell your story. Be detailed. Have fun!

 

 

Good post Aletheia....Believe or not....coming home from work today...a Depak

Chopra tape playing, and he is talking about the barrier between the soul and our 'virtual' self, and he made this statement..."The barrier is PAPER THIN".

And all the way home, I'm thinking about that barrier, and you post about 'thin places'. Coincidence? I think not!

 

Thank you,

 

Jerry

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I read it as having to do with shedding our presuppositions of what God should be like. Of letting go, if even for just a moment, of all our baggage we accumulate as adult humans living in today's world. Of putting off the ego-centeredness long enough to view the world through fresh and unjaded lenses. Of putting ourself back into a state of childlike innocence, where everything is wonderful, where everythings is "Look! Look! See!"

 

 

 

"The Kingdom of God is within you and all around you ... "

 

"Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child ... "

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I read it as having to do with shedding our presuppositions of what God should be like. Of letting go, if even for just a moment, of all our baggage we accumulate as adult humans living in today's world.

 

I like this. This is better than what *I* was seeing in the God-centered versus self-centered.

 

Of putting off the ego-centeredness long enough to view the world through fresh and unjaded lenses. Of putting ourself back into a state of childlike innocence, where everything is wonderful, where everythings is "Look! Look! See!"

 

This is the hard part. Of course good stuff is rarely easy.

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This guy in line made this comment and it just struck me how sad, but basically the mountains weren't high enough for him, they were "bare", they were dusty, they weren't like CA mountains ...

 

This, to me, is a prime example of someone who needs to abandon himself, forget his presuppositions and skepticism and jaded-ness, and just LOOK.

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I read it as having to do with shedding our presuppositions of what God should be like. Of letting go, if even for just a moment, of all our baggage we accumulate as adult humans living in today's world. Of putting off the ego-centeredness long enough to view the world through fresh and unjaded lenses. Of putting ourself back into a state of childlike innocence, where everything is wonderful, where everythings is "Look! Look! See!"

 

 

 

"The Kingdom of God is within you and all around you ... "

 

"Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child ... "

 

 

 

Aletheia...I too like your concept of 'shedding our presuppositions of what God SHOULD look like'. I still have some work to do on that one. But I'm working on it...and I hear the old african American man singing.."I ain't what I outta be , and I ain't what I'm gonna be, but praise God,I ain't what I was". Amen to that!

 

 

Blessings to you Aletheia,

 

Jerry

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Aletheia...I too like your concept of 'shedding our presuppositions of what God SHOULD look like'. I still have some work to do on that one. But I'm working on it...

 

 

I also find it hard to do. I don't think it is entirely a bad thing so long as we don't get set in our ways. I have found at different times in life I needed God in a certain way. After getting through whatever struggle that was then my view of God could change and be more open. Make sense? Thankfully, God is very patient!

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"I also find it hard to do. I don't think it is entirely a bad thing so long as we don't get set in our ways. I have found at different times in life I needed God in a certain way. After getting through whatever struggle that was then my view of God could change and be more open"

 

 

Agreed October and Jerry! I take comfort in knowing that over time, my view of God (along with so many other things) has changed considerably... that has earned me the ability to take myself less seriously and know that my dearly held concepts today may not fit me next year. :) God is big - we'll never be able to hold all concepts of Him in ourselves... fortunately, we have each other to remind us of the other parts!

 

If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

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As I bumped some of these older threads, I reread much of what I had written and was amazed at how much my views had changed. A relationship with God is a progressive, ongoing process. I try (as Cynthia brought out in another thread I bumped) to have a faith that is like floating on the ocean. I can't say that I NEVER cling, but I really try overall to just relax and be open. Tomorrow may show me a new horizon. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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To refer to a previous contribution by MOW, we might think of faith as a form of "being in heaven", or to use the analogy of " floating on clouds". The advantage of this interpretation as opposed to "floating on the ocean" would be to provide an immensely wider array of "horizon" to examine and explore, that is if we weren't otherwise occupied playing our harps and recorders. or singing.

 

flow.... :D

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Oh heck, if we are going to expand the metaphor outward from the ocean to the clouds, then we might was well take it further, to the stars. Perhaps I could ride some nebulous gases around? Perhaps a comet (if it's rogue) will get me better coverage? But then I wouldn't be floating, I'd most definitely have to hold on tight. OK, nebulous gases it is. Or hey, an everlasting jet-pack?

 

"Rocket maaaaaannn, I'm a rocket man ..... " B)

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