My Camino Way Series: Article #8
MEDITATING ON A RAINBOW
This is the last of the series on meditations, which is part of my El Camino Series, focusing on the relationship sabbatical. For my previous articles, scroll down to the end of this article.
".... Live on the mountain top and walk there with your brothers.
Keep the vision above the fog of earth." – Tibetan Saying
October 1, 2012, Castrojeriz, Spain
A sea of fog blankets the land that stretches to the horizon. In the distance, three islands rise up out of the mist.
It feels as if I've been transported to the Celtic otherworld of T’ir Na Nog, the mystical land of promise where youth is eternal, but I am with Tony Hackett, the kind-hearted Irishman, and we are outside Castrogjeriz, having just climbed a steep parmo (a flat-topped hill) named Alto de Mostelares. The islands are actually mountains, and the view is enchanting.
Earlier this morning, with the ghostly shadow of a full moon hanging in the sky, Tony and I stepped out into the foggy dew, headed for Fromista.
Draped in our blue ponchos, we stand 3000-feet high on the plateau’s edge and marvel at the ethereal scene before us.
During the descent back into the fog, I looked up and noticed a mysterious curve of white light. I called out to Tony and pointed into the distance. Arched over the hills on the horizon was what appeared to be a rainbow, except it was colorless.
“It’s a fog bow,” says Tony, smiling. “A white rainbow.”
“It’s amazing.” I can’t take my eyes off it.
“It certainly is,” he says.
It was the first time I had ever seen a white rainbow. An overwhelming sense of gratitude washed over me. The universe was speaking in its own special language - and I knew that the message was a powerful one. But what was it saying? - Excerpt from my my new book Becoming Love released in June 2018.
While on El Camino, I experienced many magical moments. The white rainbow was particularly powerful. At a time when I needed soul nourishment it appeared as a very hopeful and most auspicious sign.
Scientifically speaking, a "fog-bow" is the result of light reflecting from the moon rather than from direct sunlight, and the tiny water droplets of fog, which have much weaker hues, can appear white - creating an illusory glow of cloud-colored light.
The "end" of the rainbow- the arc, or semi-circular shape - is another illusion. The sun and the moon are round, so the true shape of the rainbow, like mirrors of these orbs, is actually circular, although we cannot see the whole of the circle. But just because science is able to explain how a rainbow is formed doesn't mean that the rainbow has lost its natural magic. The rainbow is still a remarkable manifestation of Spirit, or the grand organizational design (GOD).
Ancient cultures have revered, feared and been in awe of rainbows for time immemorial. Rainbow gods of yore flung fierce thunderbolts with their curved bows, and our ancestors shrunk in terror at the floods and droughts and other natural disasters that were believed to be the result of a god's wrath. To them, these deities possessed supreme powers to give life (water) and to destroy it - and they respected nature (a lesson that would behove us to learn again).
In Eastern spiritualism, the multi-coloured rainbow is equated with the seven chakras. For Buddhists, it symbolizes the highest state achievable before attaining Nirvana.
When we encounter a rainbow, then, it can be a beautiful reminder of the connection between our lower self (personality) and our higher self (soul) - and the importance of aligning our souls with the Universal Soul, or whatever name you choose for the divine creator.
In other words, when the universe graces us with a rainbow, it is an especially fine time to meditate and connect with our higher power.
In modern-day society rainbows are synonymous with hope and promise of good things to come. Sadly, much of the richness of the rainbow's deeper meaning has been lost on a culture obsessed with materialism. Folktales about the proverbial pot of gold at the rainbow's end often conclude with the same moral message: the seeker who pursues the gold learns, usually too late, that it is an illusion. The American Dream is a good example of how so many human beings have bought into the illusion – that the world is ours for the taking – while the spiritual meaning and value of life escapes them.
After Tony and I parted, I walked alone for a while and reflected on the white rainbow, with a meditation:
"I AM LOVE". I thought of Anne-Marie and how we were creating a higher love during our relationship sabbatical. It was hard for us to be apart but that's what spiritual evolution is all about: shedding our old "stuff" - ways of thinking, feeling and being that no longer serve us - including the fear or sadness of being alone and the belief that we need more, that we are not enough.
Back home, I have a picture on my wall of three mountains in Alberta – the Three Sisters of Selkirk. For Christians, the trio represents the trinity of virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity....In the picture, the mountain peaks are reflected in the Bow River, the same river by which Anne-Marie and I stood, on the Peace Bridge, and where she told me of her vision, a promise of love to come - the kind that endures.
Credit: Public Domain, Wikipedia, 2007.
When the rainbow appeared, we were above the fog watching the land rise up out of the mist. I came to understand this was the universe showing us how we, too, can rise above the mists of our unconscious selves, like the mountains, and let go of the things that stunt our growth.
This is what spiritual ascencion is.
The rare beauty of a rainbow mirrors the beauty of the universal soul in all its light and infinite wisdom. In a state of heightened consciousness, as we connect with our inner light, we are able to let go of the illusion that we are alone and unloved.
And this is the key: spiritual evolution is an ongoing process. Love eludes even the most spiritual of seekers at times because the foundation of our society has been shaped out of fear and mistrust and a constant craving for something – whether it is love and affection or material things. It requires daily effort, discipline and a genuine desire for change, to transform the world into a more loving place - starting with our personal relationships, with ourselves and with the people closest to us.
Buddhism teaches that a primary source of our suffering is the perception that we are disconnected from everything and everyone around us. In this sense, what humans refer to as “reality” is, for Buddhists, an illusion.
Modern spiritualists have built upon this ancient wisdom. In A Radical Incarnation, Colin Tipping contrasts the old with the evolving consciousness, where religious dogmas are being shed to make room for personal spirituality and masculine energy is giving way to the feminine. Newton's theories are crumblng as quantum physics challenges old scientific laws based upon cause and effect. We now know that we see but a sliver of reality and that there are worlds yet unseen. New science is proving what ancient belief systems have known for thousands of years: our thoughts create our reality. We are evolving into multi-sensory human beings, beyond the five senses - which is to say, our collective third eye is opening.
At one point when Tony and I were walking together, after the fog lifted, the moon and the sun appeared simultaneously, the one setting and the other rising in a clear blue sky, as if to say, “Time as we know it is but an illusion. We exist as one, the day and the night.”
And so do we ALL exist as one. That is how we arrive at love and peace: by understanding we are all connected, regardless of our differences, striving for one common goal. It is also a prophecy of the Native American nations - "the rainbow prophecy" - that speaks of a time when human beings will join together to heal the earth. As we grow more aware of our collective soul path and heal our old wounds, we become more compassionate, more forgiving, more loving.
Everything on El Camino, as with my entire sabbatical that continued on to India, was about one thing: to evolve spiritually so that I could know and "be" love. I wanted to be the change I wished to see: a world where violence is replaced with gentleness, greed and selfishness with charity, and hate with compassion that springs from deep knowing of self and others.
El Camino provided endless opportunities to help me become that change. The white rainbow was among the most mystical of these.
As I stood on the plateau that day, I was in a state of grace - living on the metaphorical mountain top, as the Tibetan proverb instructs, walking with my pilgrim "brother".
For a moment, and for eternity, my inner world was transformed - and I embodied love and compassion completely.
If we embody love then we also reflect it - like the sun and the moon reflects their light. And in doing so, we give hope and light to others who will be moved to do the same.
Stay tuned next week for more El Camino stories. Meanwhile, feel free to contact me if you’re considering El Camino as a relationship sabbatical or simply for your own spiritual growth. There’s plenty of information on El Camino and many ways to walk it. So, if anything has resonated with you while reading this, it may be a special sign, divinely arranged just for you.
Buen Camino, Pilgrim
Check out my new book Becoming Love & Get on the Love List!