Reverence for Existence: A Way of Knowing
Brestrup’s Reverence for Existence is an elegant exposition on the wisdom and peace that nature can offer, if only we choose to look. From sere deserts to ancient glacial paths and beyond, we follow Berstrup’s travels and trains of thought as these magnificent landscapes prompt deep reflection and reverence for being. He teaches how to truly appreciate the sacredness of place and of being, of life itself. Along the way, he shares his views on the teachings of many philosophers of nature such as Muir and Thoreau, to name but two of the most well-known. Among the places he visits are the Sierra Nevada Mountains, of whose awe-inspiring majesty I can attest myself, along the Natchez Trail, Big Bend, and Yosemite. But Brestrup’s own home, his very backyard, is no less inspiring. It is a wildlife refuge, where animals that have been rescued from shady zoos, irresponsible people, and the entertainment industry share space with him.
All I could think while reading this was the quote from Cicero’s On the Nature of the Gods: “everything is alive; everything is interconnected.” This entire book, Brestrup’s worldview, it all spoke to me on a very visceral level. I must confess, I was absolutely horrified to read, in the chapter “Mindful Engagement,” of a monk’s denial that there was any other way to find enlightenment aside from the practice of sitting meditation.
I taught meditative practices for some time, and formal sitting meditation was but one of those practices. I also taught walking meditation and immersion in nature, and I personally love walking meditation. I adored Brestrup’s views on the concept of anthropomorphism. It is very much akin to my own view, which my paternal grandmother thankfully helped shape in accordance with the beliefs she grew up learning from her own great grandmother, who was of Cherokee blood, and her grandmother and mother too. Along with Cicero’s idea that “everything is alive and interconnected,” I would add that everything possesses its own sentience, and that notion is also explored in.
Brestrup has an easygoing, engaging writing style. While dealing with these deep topics, never once did things feel dry or bogged down. In fact, I flew through the book and reread parts for enjoyment and for prompting further musings on my part. The messages contained in this gem of a book are crucial. If I still taught, this would most definitely become required reading!
|Dr. Craig Brestrup
|Camino Bay Books
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