We Are ALL Right
I was sitting around a bonfire one Saturday night in early spring, pondering what will happen to me when I die – exactly. I brought out my flute, stared into the fire and I began to play. I played until I went somewhere else and was totally immersed in thinking about my Spirituality. Suddenly, I got this feeling of utter and complete weightlessness and I tell you honestly, for the first time in my entire life, I had a feeling of not only acceptance but genuine understanding. Here is the culmination of what I am now calling my “vision quest.”
I was playing a song on my flute that I call “The Whales Tune” because it was the first thing that I played on my cedar flute when I was in Alaska a few years ago watching hump back whales diving deep into frigid waters, flukes high in the air dripping wet. They were so peaceful and unaware of who I was or that I was even there acting as a voyeur in their world. The bonfire was high and bright and intensely hot, yet the air around me was filled with the chill of the early spring night, the warm chill of the spring night as opposed to the cool chill of the later summer night. There was the promise of warmth in the air as I allowed my mind to wander off.
I was in a deep, thick ancient wood, walking with bare feet on a thick carpet of leaves and moss. Every now and then I could hear the faint call of a cardinal in the woods, calling to me, beckoning me to come deeper into the woods. I stepped lightly and quickly as I made my way through the thick canopy up a small incline. Here the trees opened up in a circle and the sunlight brilliantly shined down in the center of the circle where the greenest grass I’ve ever seen was growing. There were small vivid yellow buttercups peeking up through the blades of grass nestled among clover and pink clover flowers. I entered the clearing and lay myself prone on the ground. My hands were turned earthward and my face turned skyward. The warmth of the sun was beaming down on my face and warming my body. I lifted my hair out from under my neck and nestled into the Mother for a time of quiet solitude. I left my mind to its wandering as I heard the cardinal calling closer and closer and then suddenly further away…so distant I could scarcely hear his call any longer yet I strained my ears to hear more…when the thought suddenly struck me…
What if we are ALL right?
I continued to lay in that circle of light as the sun warmed my thoughts and I went a bit deeper into myself and into the woods. I wondered if we are ALL right in our beliefs. I wondered if the Divine Light, of which we are all a part, has allowed us to each worship Deity in our own way. I wondered if instead of fighting with one another over semantics or over what we each deem is right or wrong in a Spiritual Path that we simply respected one another and learn from each other the varying paths open to us for us to reach and return to the Divine Light. I saw in my mind’s eye Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists, Taoists, Pagans and every other Spiritual Path communing. I saw us all acknowledging that which is highest and best in each other and learning acceptance and tolerance. I envisioned acceptance among all people that each path is different in the journey and that the sights along the way are divergent. I was filled with the certainty that each path still leads inexplicably to the same Divinity in the end. I was heartened by the discovery that loving one another in spite of the path, because of the journey, and with open hearts is core of my existence.
I continued to lie in the clearing and absorb that which is good and true in all of the varying paths that I noticed opening up around the circle in which I was laying prone. I heard drums in the forest, I heard chanting in an unknown language in the forest, and I heard the call of the animals in the forest. I heard many divergent paths opening before me, crossing over one another, overlapping, merging, becoming one and uniting toward one great destination. When I truly opened my heart to all that was surrounding me I realized then that we are ALL right. Each of us is right in the paths that we have chosen for our own Spiritual enlightenment, we are ALL right. We are all striving toward the ends of our own roads and along the way, our pathways cross with those of the people in our lives. My path is made smoother by the journey you have already traveled and in the words and experiences that you share with me. Your path is made smoother by the journey that I have already traveled and in the words and experiences that I share with you. We are both right.
When I realized this fully, when I saw the paths opening up in the circle around me, I stood from my quiet contemplation and I called out to the cardinal. I heard his call in the forest ahead of me, not to the path behind me, which I had already traveled. I knew then, as I know now, that I cannot travel back through that path as I have already been there. I have now laid my head on the grass here in the clearing and I have lain prone for the sun to warm my heart in a different way. I must now follow a different path. I stood in that clearing and turned around to gaze upon all of the open pathways. I stepped my foot into the dark and unknown path ahead of me and I took my first step knowing that in my heart I would take the warmth of the sun from the clearing with me and I would be taking the knowledge that you have all shared along the path into that unknown path that lay before me.
I realized as I walked onto the unknown path that a certain coolness approached and surrounded me. An aching had come to my back and legs when I realized that I was sitting before very weak embers in what had previously been a raging bonfire. I heard the song lilting from my flute and I felt the ache of my folded legs. I felt the song in my heart and the warmth of the sun in my heart.
I believe in my heart that we are ALL right. And I think that this little journey that I have traveled has brought to me a clearer appreciation and respect for all paths and a desire to travel them all until the warmth from the sun in that clearing has left my soul
About the Author:
Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.