Silence, Meditation and Hiking!


Last week I had the privilege of joining 7 other people on a silent retreat.  The unique characteristics of this retreat was not only the silence but the chance to meditate 3x a day and hike through various parts of the high desert found in southern Arizona.

Each evening we would meet and reflect upon a reading, video or parts of a book related to the wonder of God and nature.  This relationship was often symbolized as a flowing river.  To strengthen our awareness, one evening we turned to Laurence Freeman OSB, and read lectio devina style, parts of a newsletter that he had sent out years ago that was perfectly suited to this week of silence.

“To feel this natural peace by the glass-smooth river, as the birds sweep and dance above it, as the sky brightens like an irresistible human smile that you know won’t let you down, is to find oneself anew.  It is to be restored to the harmony of nature- the shalom in which we resonate with all creation, with these conditions merely as an absence of conflict or as an escape from risk – as do urbanized human beings in their security compounds walking below the cold gaze of security cameras- is to not be there at all.  It is to miss the gift of peace and to be far away in an illusory world,” Laurence Freeman OSB.

Over the next few weeks, I will continue to reflect and write about this retreat.

“God saw all that he had made and saw that it was very good.  When we see this, we see with the mind of God,” Genesis 1:31.

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3 Responses to Silence, Meditation and Hiking!

  1. Patricia White says:

    Ah, coincidence? I am fairly new to contemplation and centering prayer and am practicing daily. Just so happens that I am heading to the high desert area of southern AZ for a two week stay this Wednesday 3/27, We’ll be staying in Bisbee. Do you have any recommended hiking trails/ areas? thank you, pat

    • Pat, you will really enjoy southern AZ. Our small group went to the Chiricahau National Mounument and Mountains. Here is a great website: to use as a resource. I would say the trails are for the moderate hiker. We also went to Kentucky Camp which is a bit easier hike but not as picturesque as the Chiricahau’s but still beautiful. Our last hike was in Patagonia at a nature preserve. Here is a link to some information: It’s beautiful – easy hike, fairly flat, a small creek runs along much of the path and watercress is a stunning green floating on the water. We just moved to the Tucson area so I had never experienced the “high” desert. It reminded me of the northwest corner of Montana. Will you be in Bisbee the whole 2 weeks? If you need more ideas, please let me know. Our group of 8 did a lot of meditating in the forms of sitting by the creek, walking in silence….. it makes your senses keenly aware of the beautiful world we live in. It was a great week for my soul:)
      Mary Jo

      • Patricia White says:

        Thank You Mary Jo! We will be in Bisbee for about 12 days and then we are going to head north to the Sedona area for 3 days and then back to Tucson for a quick visit to the Saguaros before we head back east to MD. I want to spend as much time as possible in contemplation/ meditation so your suggestions are so very welcome. Thank you for your blog. Although I have not commented before, I have found untold inspiration in your work. Thank you.

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