On Reverence

A Meditation on Reverence

I was rushing to get here, to complete the tasks I wanted to do before leaving. This attitude was wrong and I knew it. The place to learn about ‘Reverence’ was initially hidden to me. I made a couple of false tries before slowing down to let my feet guide me. Then I found the spot, a series of steps up to a ledge outcropping on the west end of the island.


I paused at the bottom step and heard, “Take off your shoes…” implying this is a holy place. Slowly turned to each of the four directions, I became aware of a slight magnetic pull through my bare feet as I faced each direction. This sensation helped me orient within the space, to shift from profane to sacred time.

Sitting on the south-facing rock-ledge, I was aware that last night’s thundershowers had flooded the rock pools and saturated the land.


“Shut your eyes and feel this place.” Struggling with my attention bouncing from bird calls to distant engines of boats and planes, I tried to feel into the stone beneath me, but the instruction felt broader than just the stone. The Spirit of the Island includes the entire symphony of elements—stones, plants and trees, creatures, waters and weather.

I felt some sadness but it was not the whole story. I let this go too, like passing weather. Then I dropped into my heart. This was how I could sense this place, with my heart, and immediately felt the ‘yes’ of deep resonance. It is my heart-sense that can feel, hold and understand this place! My heart is the organ of reverence. Knowing this, there is nothing to DO. I only need to be with this place, through my open heart.

As if in agreement, the sun broke through the clouds and bathed me in golden warmth. A chorus of insects and birds, folded in with the human sounds, no longer irritated or distracted me. I was attentive and poised in the midst of it all.

“Now it is time to explore the activation of reverence. Go inward and be guided…”

Re-orienting myself in the meditation, I became aware of how gesture and sound can be an active form of reverence. Listening through my heart, I felt the possibility of consciously participating in the unified field of this landscape, an idea that delighted me.

Opening my eyes, I saw a monarch sitting beside me on my sweater, slowly waving its wings. When I stood, it flew off only to be replaced by another one that landed briefly.

Perched on the edge of the stone-ledge, I began to make Tai Chi-like gestures but my voice felt blocked, inaccessible and completely inadequate to the task. Staying rooted in my heart, I tried to let the shame pass as I continued gesturing, waiting for the sound to be coaxed out.

Gradually the sound came as I cupped my hands in front of my heart and offered it out, like water from a vessel, into the landscape. “Aaahhhh, Aaayyyeee, Ooohhh…” deep and sustained, my song poured out of me into Georgian Bay. At the end of the chant-like song, I knew that, to sustain the continuity of the flow, the activated energy must return and circle back to me. Reverence moves with the inhale as well as the exhale.

I took a few moments before returning to the cottage to listen and assimilate what had just occurred.

You have been lead into and through an experience of living, authentic reverence. Nature always issues an invitation to participate in oneness. You entered this state, surrendering to the fullness of your heart-connection and your inner landscape—thoughts, feelings, and sensations—became one with the outer landscape.

Opening to the possibilities in the moment, you experienced a shift in the whole situation. Everything was included: the weather, the rocks, water, sounds and butterflies, your movements and sounding, your curiousity and your shame… all part of the turning of the Great Wheel of Life. Entering the hub and surrendering your small will, you participated in reverence. Now you know…