Friday, August 6, 2010


In my hiking trip to northern New Mexico, I've hiked through sites sacred to the Cochiti, Zuni, Nambe and Tesuque peoples. I've tried to practice reverence while doing so just as I would expect the same when someone visits a church. The photo above is of Nambe Lake, a sacred place to the Nambe and Tesuque.

I understand reverence as "profound or deep respect" for someone or something. When we're reverent, we are in a state of mind or soul that senses the sacredness of something. This "something" could be a place, a person, God, or even an idea or concept. For example, many Christians feel reverence for the concept of the Trinity and Muslims feel reverence for the Qur'an.

Reverence taken to its logical extreme becomes awe. At times this week, I've felt awe at the profound beauty of what I've seen and experienced. Awe can be overwhelming and is often beyond words. Awe can be evoked by those same things that evoke reverence-- the difference is in the degree.

This week in the wilderness has reminded me that we are surrounded by the sacred. We just need to view the world through the lens of reverence. When we do so, we practice what Albert Schweitzer called, "The reverence for life."

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