By Belden C. Lane

Sporting simply easy camping out gear and a suite of the world's nice non secular writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary religious treks during the Ozarks and around the American Southwest. For partners, he has in basic terms such academics as Rumi, John of the move, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the average wonders he encounters--Bell Mountain wasteland with Søren Kierkegaard, Moonshine hole with Thich Nhat Hanh--demonstrating how being by myself within the wild opens an extraordinary view onto one's inside panorama, and the way the saints' writings display the divine in nature.

The self-discipline of backpacking, Lane exhibits, is a metaphor for a religious trip. simply because the barren region provided revelations to the early wilderness Christians, backpacking hones an important non secular talents: being attentive, touring mild, practising silence, and workout ask yourself. Lane engages the perform not just with a variety of non secular writings--Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi Muslim--but with the fascination of different fanatics of the backcountry, from John Muir and Ed Abbey to invoice Plotkin and Cheryl Strayed. during this intimate and down-to-earth narrative, backpacking is proven to be a non secular perform that permits the invention of God amidst the sweetness and unforeseen terrors of nature. Adoration, Lane indicates, is the main applicable human reaction to what we won't clarify, yet have still realized to like.

An mesmerizing narrative for Christians of all denominations, Backpacking with the Saints is an inspiring exploration of ways solitude, simplicity, and mindfulness are illuminated and inspired by means of the self-discipline of backcountry wandering, and of ways the desert itself turns into a manner of knowing-an ecology of the soul.

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Extra resources for Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice

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Yet God is an intimate reality found at the very heart of the universe (and of ourselves). This, says Teilhard de Chardin, is the divine milieu. The highly sensory way of “knowing” that wilderness requires is the most natural and meaningful way I have of experiencing anything holy. My own earliest experiences of God go back to the lakes and swamps I haunted as a kid growing up in central Florida. With other ten- to twelveyear-olds, I made bamboo rafts, built huts of palmetto fronds, and caught crayfish and water snakes in makeshift nets.

The book assumes a fresh life in the offbeat, unpredictable place. When I ponder the writings of a given saint in a wilderness setting, multiple things are going on at the same time. (1) There’s the reading of the surrounding landscape, demanding my careful attention in hiking it alone. (2) There’s the reading of the unexplored interior wilderness that I bring along with me, mirrored by all that is wild beyond the trail. (3) There’s the life and thought of the saint I carry, formed out of the ascesis (or spiritual discipline) of his own venture into wilderness.

Wide open. A golden sun was just setting behind the Jemez Mountains: bursts of orange and pink were shooting like streamers through the fading sky. To my surprise, I was sensing the full-bodied aliveness of every juniper and rock and hawk on the Earth. By the front door to my house I saw, really saw, the tall piñon that I ordinarily brushed by; its needles and cones were bursting with presence, its branches and trunk with consciousness. I had never before communicated directly with it, nor with any other wild being.

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