Peace Pilgrimage Reflections -- August 10, 2013

08-10-2013 | Mary Ann Welter

Notes from Morning Meeting by Mary Ann Welter

Stefan shared an experience recently in Portland where a group of youngsters, ages 10-12 or so, memorized and took turns telling stories around a bonfire. One young guy told a really scary story --capable of scaring the gathered adults and Stefan as well! This brought Stefan to open the Pilgrimage with the question: What do you fear? What scares you?

Going around the small circle gathered this morning, responses were varied: being able to be my true self; the future of my children in a world facing many challenges; brown recluse spiders; people ...

The pilgrimage format generates many questions. Focused on weaving together strands of the biblical story of the Woman at the Well (John 4), the Beatitudes, one at a time, and the Denise Levertov poem, the following questions arose for reflection and later sharing:

What is your poverty? How do you understand your own poverty? How can poverty be “in spirit?” What is another word to characterize your own poverty? Folks mentioned “lack,” “incompleteness,” “scarcity,” “inner contradiction,” “thirst,” “longing”….

How is your poverty blessed? Maybe in releasing/letting go…Blessed are those who possess nothing or no one…and in 2 truly grieve that. Blessed equals true happiness, the source, the “fountain” of Levertov’s poem and the Dalai Lama’s smile.

What is the “fountain” for you? Considering the “Woman at the Well”: The fountain, like the well, was source of refreshment crossing all boundaries: race, gender, ethnicity. Both the woman and Jesus crossed these barriers, broke these taboos in this story, even though this was wrong in their time and place. Through the wrong, they got it right. What is the unexpected source, the unexpected boundary crossing for you? The threshold that when you cross, “gets it right” for you?

What is your threshold to source? Can you speak of it?  Are the Beatitudes really 9 thresholds, 9 initiations we go through continually?