Report 1

Personal Impressions from the Dedicated Gathering on the Island of Mallorca

A Walk on No Road
(by Lewis Lebolt)

As an alternative to sitting indoors and meditating, Stèphano invited us to take a walk with him. A number of us joined him. When we stood outside, he asked where we'd like to go. We stood in the sunlight in the courtyard and considered. "Out," we said.

We proceeded through the gate, pausing to observe how water collects at the lowest points of the flagstones in the courtyard and sensing what collects at our own lowest points, the holes in the whole.

The View

We paused outside the sanctuary gate at the top of Randa Mountain and took in the view. The Santuari de Cura was at our backs. Before us was a fenced-in installation filled with tall masts, antennae and parabolic dishes raised up on girdered columns that keened in the wind. 500 meters below us, the island of Mallorca spread out in all directions on this sunny January day. The installation spoke of authority, surveillance and power; the view of the island was spectacularly beautiful. We walked on, sensitive to the beauty and ugliness around us.


No Road

We came to an overgrown road. "What's this road?" Stèphano asked. "This is nothing," a well-read man said. He had looked into this question and knew what he was talking about. "It looks like a road," said Stèphano. "It's no road," answered the well-read man. "Well, I'm standing on this no-road and it seems real enough to me," said Stèphano. The well-read man explained, "It doesn't go anywhere." "Let's walk on this no-road and find out," Stèphano replied.


The Weeds

After a few steps we came upon dense undergrowth, a riot of tangled low weeds to the left and right of the no-road. "I see something growing here," said the man. "Weeds," said one of us in a tone of dismissal. A woman in the group felt uncomfortable and claustrophobic at the sight of this jumble. "We call these weeds and often dig them up," Stèphano said. "People say they're useless. Are they beautiful? Who's to say? Look how densely they grow. They compete but don't suffer with the competition." With mixed feelings we left the twisted tangle behind us and walked towards a clearer area.

The Barren Spot

We came to a rocky spot, barren of weeds. "Why don't weeds grow here?" Stèphano asked. "The stones." "Something in the soil." "Access to water" were offered as suggestions, as well as other factors. "Perhaps," said Stèphano. "Do we also have spots like this, where nothing grows? " Heads nodded in agreement. "What makes the dead spots in us?" he asked. After some discussion, we agreed that these are areas of contraction. We hold these areas so tightly that they wither. "But look!" exclaimed Stèphano, leaning down and looking closer. "There's moss growing here, a little on one stone and more on another. How can moss grow where other things can't?" "They don't need roots," said a woman who was familiar with plants. "They simply cling to what's there." "They make the best of the situation," replied Stèphano. "They do what they must to survive. Here they don't have to compete for resources, though the resources are meager, to be sure. Do we show life in this way, too? Or do we say, 'It's not good enough?' or refuse to see it and acknowledge it?" As each of us considered how we show life in our own bare patches, we left the spot that no longer seemed as barren as it first appeared. The no-road curved ahead of us.

The Sign

We came to a building. In front of one wall was an area paved with stones. There was a sign on one end of the wall. At the other end, stone stairs led up and away from the no-road. "The staircase to heaven," one of us remarked.
"Notice where this no-road goes!" exclaimed Stèphano. "It actually leads somewhere!"
The sign on the wall said, "Respect au sa Natura" ("Respect your nature") and this became a theme for us.

"Do we respect our nature?" Stèphano inquired aloud. "Look at this paved area, for instance. Is it natural or man-made?"
There was much to be said for both points of view. The stones were natural but were obviously brought from some place and fitted together with mortar.
"Maybe all we ever do is rearrange what is already there," commented Stèphano.
"And remember that you also destroy a mountain when you take away its stones," commented a man in our group.
The connection between creation and destruction brought us to a discussion of Brahman, Shiva and Vishnu, the Creator, Destroyer and Preserver and their relation to the Law of Wholeness.
"It's just like making marmalade," said a woman who knew about such things. "The apricot is Brahman, Shiva is in the preparing and cooking and the sugar is the preservative, Vishnu.""Cosmic jam," said Stèphano and smiled. "And it tastes so good," said the woman. Imagining Shiva dancing in a jelly jar, we turned from the sign and continued our walk.

The Cross

We came to a simple cross, three meters high, made of dull grey metal pipes. The cross rose out of a column of four green painted tires, cracked and flaking, topped off with concrete. The cross marked the spot where Ramon Llull, a famous hermit, had once lived. Someone criticized the ugliness of this thing. Another laughed and made a snide remark. "Let's not start there," suggested Stèphano. "We're often eager to point out the imperfections in things. Maybe those who made this did the best they could with limited resources." The conversation moved on to the meaning of commemorating a site such as this and pilgrimages. One of us, a Jewish man, observed, "The Jews don't perform pilgrimages though they say to each other, 'Next year in Jerusalem.'" "What does 'Next year in Jerusalem' mean?" asked Stèphano.

"It expresses the experience of exile and the yearning to return," said the Jewish man. Stèphano asked, "Why do you say, 'Next year'?" "If we said 'Tomorrow' or 'Next week,' we'd already be packing. 'Next year' is far enough away that we understand it isn't right now, yet close enough that the yearning is poignant and intense. Many people go through their whole lives saying 'Next year in Jerusalem' and never get there." "Why do you say Jerusalem?" As if explaining something self-evident the Jewish man replied, "Jerusalem is home."
"I suggest that each of us can come home today. We don't have to wait until next year," said Stèphano. The listeners were startled into silence.

We turned and ascended the "staircase to heaven". When we came to the top, we discovered that we had returned to our starting point. The no-road that led no-where had brought us back home. We were at the sanctuary gate. The walk was over, but the path continued.

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