I have been chewing on this for quite some time and wonder if I am the only one that feels the same way. Let me preface this post and commentary, I mean no harm nor do I mean to offend a soul. I am a person who respects people, their race, creed and beliefs. Quite frankly this ability I have to do this is what ironically has driven me to this new spiritual epiphany.
Recently, on Twitter I've been lightheartedly joking around with a hash tag of #naturechurch. What do I mean? Some of you may be avid churchgoers, some maybe holiday churchgoers some may be agnostic to organized religion. What I have found recently is that there is something more powerful and alive in me and in my surroundings when I’m engrossed in nature and with people who are truly appreciative of the awesome surroundings we share.
To me this spiritual fulfillment is far greater then anything I have ever felt in an organized religious activity or ceremony. You may think that I must have never had a good religious education or base as a child right?
Well, to contrary. I was raised in an Italian and very Catholic family and then was introduced to the Christianity of the Eastern Orthodox Church in my later years. My late dad was an ordained priest. So as you can imagine I saw organized religion up close. What I am beginning to find is nature is pure. Nature may be sometime unforgiving, but it always provides immense peace and tranquility that offers you the spiritual fuel exactly when you need it.
I have found that every person I come across who is equally like-minded about nature, being outdoors, understanding the importance of this wonderful resource and that we must protect it are all truly sound, centered and giving individuals. More importantly, I find that these folks live by a certain set of principles and an unwritten code for lack of a better term. What I have found over time is that religious people due to where modern day religion has gone pick and choose which items to follow. Others who subscribe to organized religion choose either consciously or sub-consciously to disavow the teaching of their church and condemn those that may not subscribe. This in no uncertain terms disgusts me.
To the contrary I look at the trail environment how organic families of people come together day by day, people from all walks of life with different beliefs, how they share food, communal space, and of themselves. I often wonder why that doesn't happen with people who actually or supposedly believe the same things. I find myself wondering day by day, more and more can nature and all that exists in its glory be our religion, our calling or our destiny?
I would think that if there was some sort of glorious being among us it would want us to feel at peace, feel like we belong and treat one another the way he/she/it would treat us. Tell me that place isn't in nature, with your like-minded friends or pure strangers who you only know as “Stinky”, “Wolf” or “Puss”.
Some may say well God created nature for you and you should praise him. (Can you tell I have had this conversation with people before?) Whoever created nature, the trails, the mountains and the mountain streams, I am forever indebted. We all have a choice on how we spend our days. I chose to immerse myself in nature and feed my spirituality with those like-minded souls who have nothing but love in their hearts for their fellow hiker and the magnificent beauty surrounding us.
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