Nourished By The Spring
Fresh Thinking, Inspiration and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
(Carol Travis welcomed approximately 44 stations online. Previn Hudetz offered a song, a cappella, from the Dome Chapel on Sunrise Ranch, based on a poem by Robert Frost.)
I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long. You come too.
HUGH DUFF: Springs are those places where water bubbles up out of the ground, often the source of mighty rivers. They’ve always fascinated me because they’re such a beautiful metaphor for life, as it bubbles up within us and between us. I first met up with springs when I was spending some years ranching up in the Cariboo, in the heart of British Columbia. Discovering a spring was always cause for great excitement among us and the cowboys. At first we’d find a little stream flowing down through the pasture fields or the woods. The cattle would drink out of it; and they’d mess it up until it was muddy, but they’d get their drink.
We’d be a bit thirsty too. Knowing there’s nothing like spring water to quench one’s thirst, we’d follow the little stream up toward the source. And then, if we were lucky, we’d come upon the spring. It might be full of leaves or branches, but there it would be—this water, just coming up out of the sand. A spring always feels like a place of magic. It would be dry up above it, bone dry, and then down below ran a stream. If it was in the summertime, the water would be cool and beautiful, and all you could think of was to quench your thirst. There’s life that goes with it. Plants and animals and trees and swamps are nourished by the spring.
If it was in the wintertime, there’d be steam coming up from the spring and the little creek. The spring would be there, bubbling just the same. And if you drank it in the winter, it of course would still be cool because the spring keeps its temperature, but according to what the conditions were round about, the evidence of the presence of the spring changed. It’s something that’s eternal but also something that’s delicate and needs care. If you try and dig a spring out to get a better flow, to get more water, or you try to encase it in cement to get it to go where you want it to go, you often lose the spring—it goes somewhere else. It bubbles up somewhere else.
Isn’t that a lot like life? We try and get life to go a certain way, to give us results; we want it to be thus and so. And in doing that, it’s often squeezed down. You look around and gradually life’s gone; there’s just a little trickle there. If it’s all gone you can’t look anyway. For me, life and springs are fascinating.
We just came together at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) here in British Columbia, at Edenvale, and it isn’t what is done as much as people getting together who let that life, that spirit, spring up through themselves. It’s shared together, and we have the beginnings of a river.
I was thinking about that among us this morning. We have the beginnings of a river, and that river flows out into all the earth—some of it by the telephone lines, and a lot of it by the love, the life, the vibrational quality that flows in us and through us and among us in this hour. Sometimes when we think of spirit bubbling up or bubbling out, we look for a guru or inspiration. That’s a start—that’s like finding the stream. But the real thing is to find the spring, the source—to be willing to go upstream and to stay with it.
There’s a real, sustainable resource on this earth among us. The grand delight is in finding the source. It doesn’t matter whether it’s winter around us or summer, lush pasture or desert; everything’s just fine for expressing this spirit bubbling through us. A spring in the desert creates an oasis.
I really feel that, for us, it’s a matter of letting the spring rising within us be cleared. It is ours to be raking the leaves and letting the water flow clear. The rest will look after itself.
JANE ANETRINI: I would like to continue our consideration of the spring. Earlier this week a number of us were in a meeting considering the topic, and we found ourselves together at the headwaters. We were there together, thinking together, bringing the spirit of that water together. There’s something nourishing about being in the same place, in a pure place, with friends. I do believe the human experience craves this reality. I believe that every person who starts a spiritual path is looking for the headwaters of that spring.
We’ve often quoted Martin Exeter’s “Prayer of Being,” which begins, “I am in heaven.” This morning I was thinking that what is also true is “I am the spring and at the headwaters of that spring.” It also came to me that “We are the spring.” We are the source of the spring. The revelation of who we are is holy, nourishing and quenching.
Recently there has been an avoidance of the word we. I believe it is because people rode on the coattails of the words of people they admired, rode on the authority of people who brought leadership. And people were concerned about bringing their own authority and clarity, so we repeatedly said, “Speak with an ‘I’ statement; speak for yourself.” It required some ownership when you did that. But I want to reclaim again today the wonder of the “we.” To be at the source of the water, at the headwaters of the spring together, a “we,” an “us,” a group, a family stands there, allowing the rushing of the water into this earth as it was designed to be, so that the revelation of who we are is nourishing, is quenching, is life-giving.
This week I wrote about being at the source of that spring. I would like to read the words I wrote:
Once upon a time I was born
Bubbling out of and streaming into the earth
The time seems important to some
The date and place determining…affecting the rest of my journey
But I can’t seem to take the time to remember or to measure today
I am busy flowing
Wetting all in my path with my touch
Here I am
And there I go
My origin constantly connected to my consistent birthing
In this time I am born
Bubbling out of and streaming into the earth
And knowing the continued adventure with those also being born
I stand in the privilege and the glory of being with my friends today, who love and protect what I love and protect and bring the water of life, who bring it forth through our agreement and our friendship and our love for one another, and for the love of what we serve.
June 15th, 2009