What do leggings and a fourteenth century Dominican have to do with each other? Perhaps not much—unless you go camping with a Meister Eckhart sermon.
Those of you who follow the blog may have noticed I’m becoming an Eckhart fan. That’s because he says things like, “The everlasting and paternal wisdom saith, ‘Whoso heareth Me is not ashamed.’” Meaning, for me, that if you really hear the word of God—who may or may not be paternal for you—any sense of shame you have will evaporate because you hear your own divine nature.
It’s always fun when the universe gives you an immediate opportunity to practice what you think you learned. And by fun I mean deeply humiliating.
Later in the day, I went hiking and discovered I had not gotten the new deep woods fashion memo. With two or three exceptions, every other woman on the trail was wearing leggings. I was wearing bulky hiking pants that had sap on the butt to boot. So, yeah, instant shame.
But shame isn’t always easy to recognize. Especially when it presents itself as “Why are all these idiots wearing these stupid leggings? Don’t they know they’re in a state park not at yoga class?” That’s some pretty impressive and rapid externalization right there.
Luckily I was hiking really slowly, stopping to look at trees and ferns and such, so I heard myself thinking this a lot and realized that these were not happy thoughts. Don’t get me wrong—no instant enlightenment ensued. I internally commented on and hated, at least a little bit, every single pair of leggings, but I saw what I was doing most of the time and tried to let it go.
That recognizing and letting go often seems insufficient to me, but I’m gradually learning that it’s more than it seems. The next morning I woke up and actually saw the exact shape and color of the leaves on the trees in my campsite for the first time, the texture of their bark—what creation heard when God spoke those trees into existence.