In Spain there stands one of the oldest medieval stone bridges. It has 20 arches and leads one across the Rio Orbigo, along what is known as the Passage of Honor, because of a famous jousting tournament that took place in 1438.
According to legend, a knight from Leon named Don Suero de Quinones, was scorned by a lady who had captured his heart. Drowing in despair and misery, feeling his honor threatened, he took up a cause. He threw down his gauntlet to any knight who dared to pass, as he stood defending the bridge. Knights came from all over Europe to accept his challenge, yet he successfully guarded the bridge from passage for 30 days. Then he continued on to Santiago to say prayers of thanks for his newfound freedom from the bondage of love that had held him in misery.
This story comes from Sonia Choquette’s book Walking Home, which tells of her journey to wholeness as she hiked across Spain along the El Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James).
In January we started a series called Spiritual Cross Fit, where we shared spiritual practices that are available for us to use. Whether you hike the El Camino or the Appalachian Trail; whether you choose to start a meditation or Qi Gong practice; whether you start a journal, start painting, play an instrument, chant, sing, practice yoga or dance; start some type of spiritual practice that changes the vibration and draws you home, inward, to your heart.
When I feel balanced, I realize I choose my attitude. When I am done fighting the low level, distorted emotions of confusion, judgment, shame, and embarrassment, I notice they are phantoms of the ego.
Jesus says in Luke 6:37, “Do not judge…do not condemn… forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over…”
I realize defending myself against those error thoughts of judgment and condemnation is like Don Suero de Quinones defending a bridge to nowhere in order to get his honor back.
Although the struggle or fight is sacred, as it tires me out and eventually my mind opens, and I am able to meet those error thoughts with forgiveness and understanding.
There is another path. The path to love, which I experience once I have cleared myself from the debris of sticks and stones of the world through engaging in some form of spiritual practice.
Spiritual practice helps me SEE there is nothing, no I, to defend.
Smile, Rev Janice