Report From The Back 40 (Special Holiday Pine Cone Edition):
Spiritual resilience – an interesting concept. Here’s my view. Nature shows us how it’s done. There are a few conifer pine tree species, Jack Pine, Table Mountain Pine, Lodgepole Pine, among others, that have what is referred to as a serotinous cone – a special version of the pinecone, in my humble opinion, though the pinecone is a remarkable creation anyway. That word ‘serotinous’ is a term for a seed that requires a specific environmental trigger in order to release. These pine trees grow in dry, rocky sites and the cones are tightly closed, holding the tiny delicate seeds within them safe, until just the right moment. Here’s where the spiritual resilience part comes in: these pinecones require VERY high temperatures in order for the cones to open and allow the seeds to disperse. So the not-so-lowly pinecone expends all of this energy to grow a fertilized egg, nurture and protect it, and then must face what would seem to be complete and utter destruction of that which it protected in order for that seed to be ‘reborn’ into the world – literally out of the fire. And Jack Pine cones are quite small. One would think that a hot fire would just incinerate these on the spot. A magnificent example of ‘the dark before the dawn’ and what spiritual resilience looks like from the viewpoint of a pine tree.
From the human perspective, this is my riff on the matter. To have spiritual resilience is to walk – steadfastly or with teetering, skittering baby steps, however one can – through one’s own darkness, and survive to reach the light, where a thriving life reveals itself. To be willing to sit curiously in one’s darkness and allow it to be what it is. To gain access to the ability to hear and heed the words and direction of any and all guides along the way back to one’s heart. To realize the experience of surrendering to one’s Self. To awaken, reach down into, and face one’s deepest fears, confront and allow them to transmute into whatever they really are – sort of like slipping underwater, knowing one is irrefutably drowning (there’s that surrender again), allowing it, and discovering the gills were there all along, then realizing one is becoming reborn in a whole new way. To attain pure consciousness, awakening to the Self and beyond suffering, and seeing who we truly are. To discover that the Grail is within us and always was. To find gratitude in the most trying times of all. To acquire through the ashes of one’s old life, wisdom and strength, tempered from the fires survived, and radiate a light that illuminates enough to help others through their own journey through the darkness. To know and find peace in realizing that the steps taken along the journey is the journey.
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