I walked today along the beach, listening to the long gentle waves washing through the sand. There was a feeling of peace filling the whole place, with just a whisper of a breeze caressing the air. The school have all gone back, and so there were no frolicking children on the sand or in the waves as there have been for the past few months, and I had the whole place to myself for most of my walk.
As I walked in this liminal space I let the waves soft rythmn soothe my mind and my body, and a deep sense of peace flowed through me. I let go, for a little while, the need to be striving towards something, releasing the drive to acheive which has been so well trained into me. With this release a calm space grew within me as I walked the oceans edge, and I streatched myself into this growing space. I allowed myself to just be, and to be open to this peacfulness around me.
Ineveitably my thinking mind eventually kicked back in, and I found my thoughts drifting to the many Celtic monks who have walked these shores before me. There is an abundant scattering of caves and fresh water spring all along this coastline named after the monks who used them. This was a place of retreat, a place of quite contemplation where they could connect with what was important and release the rest. This was their equivalent of the desert retreats used in the Bible, a space away from the mundane pressures of everyday life where the spititual voice is strong.
I looked back at the footprints I had left on the sand, and felt a connection to the thousands of feet that have left their impressions here, and inevitably been washed away by the rising tide. Fated to gently fade like so many of the marks we make on life, apart from the impressions we make on the hearts of others. These seem like the only ones worth striving for, the only ones which matter in the end, the ones for which we will be remembered.
It feels easy here on the beach to be filled with peace, both within and without, but I cant stay here forever, I’m not a Celtic monk. What I can chose to do is to carry this pocket of peace within my heart and allow it to infuse the rest of my day, my life….amidst all its busy pressures and demands.
This poem hung on my Highland Grannys kitchen wall, and I read it often as a child. I found myself whispering it gently as I walked this place of peace.
A Celtic Prayer
Deep peace of the running waves to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.