Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Celtic Christianity: A Sacred Awareness

I'm reading a great book that a friend sent me recently. The title is The Eye of the Eagle. In this thought provoking and spiritually insightful book, author David Adams meditates and reflects on the verses of the Hymn "Be Thou My Vision". This ancient hymn was written in Ireland from anywhere between the eighth and tenth century and has been sung and meditated on for more than a thousand years. Adams writes about the deep spirituality that was central to the Christianity of ancient Ireland, which he refers to many times throughout the book as Celtic Christianity. I will probably write a couple of posts regarding this book, as I am still early on in it and it's already making me nod in agreement, stop and take notes and pause, to reflect and savor the truths it draws out.

I have written much on the concept of mindfulness and how it has really transformed my heart spiritually, drawing me deeper into the arms of God and opening my heart to the reality of greater dimensions of love as I experience more and more His infinite mercy, grace, love and compassion. What an awesome God we have! My experiences are not unique. Of course we are all unique individuals and hence experience things from slightly different angles, but when it comes to experiencing the Presence and love of God and the awareness of His eternal reality made manifest within and around us, anyone that opens their hearts in submission, leaving their egos at the door and reaching with thirsty hearts towards God, can experience such things. One just needs to stay centered in the moment, open and receptive to the reality and love God reveals. God welcomes seekers and is always at the door, ready for us to knock, and eager to open and welcome us Home.

Adams writes beautifully about awareness, which is a term I feel is synonymous to mindfulness. He writes about becoming aware of God's glory through Creation and using the five senses to draw deeper and deeper into this awareness. I'd like to share some brief excerpts and would love your thoughts on them :)
One of our greatest difficulties is that we are always wanting to take things apart, to analyse. To dissect living things is fatal! The Celtic Christians tended to seek to discover the underlying unity in things rather than their separation, to align things rather than to divide them. Instead of looking at secondary causes of secondary causes they were concerned with the Prime Mover who united all. There was a consciousness of the integral wholeness in nature, an almost tender awareness of the unseen strands that unite all things and that vibrate with the Presence....

There is something which the Celtic Church seemed to do a lot more easily than we do today- 'to see in the visible things those things which are invisible'. I do not believe that they saw God in all his glory any more than we do, but they certainly saw signs of His Presence. They were aware of creation pointing towards its Creator, and because creation has a Creator we are offered a relationship through it to Him. For them, creation was a way of communing with God. Created things spoke to them of the goodness and love of the Creator who was involved in and with His creation...Creation was the means of communion with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Everything spoke of a Presence, vibrated with His love. They saw a universe ablaze with His glory, suffused with  a Presence that calls, nods and beckons - a creation personally united with its Creator in every atom and fibre....

The Celt says we must take time to play the 'five-stringed harp', that is, use all our five senses. Each of our senses can learn to respond to a wider range, and the very center of our being to be allowed to vibrate to the call of Him who is....The road to the glory of God is through a reverence for and awareness of the glory that is all about us.    
Through our ordinary-God given-senses the Divine, the Holy Three, seeks out our heart and soul. If our senses are not aware of this they need re-training until we are aware that we are part of the mystery of Creation. For many this will be like a homecoming. We shall discover like the prodigal son we have been in a far country and living off poor fare- if not suffering from famine-when in our Father's house there are riches indeed.
~ David Adams, The Eye of An Eagle,p. 7-9

     I will conclude this post with my favorite version of "Be Thou My Vision", I hope you enjoy it! If you have a favorite version of this hymn, please leave the link in the comments section and/or with your thoughts on this post. Thank you!



  1. The practice of mindfulness, yoga or meditation runs parallel to focusing on our 5 senses. To fine tune these encourages one to be more aware of our surroundings, path and to our inner light or teacher.
    I do not think I would have been able to handle to my disappointment without the above practice.
    It ia fascinating to see the change within me and that too me is my compensation to not going on my trip!

  2. wow Great one !!


  3. Beautiful images and music. Just one thing... I got an ad for me to meet single Christians LOL true though.


  4. That is really a soothing music and a wonderful message too... Good for meditation and I fully agree with what YS said.... Thanks for sharing.:)

  5. Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for your post and video. Here is my favourite version of that song:


    God Bless

  6. Beautiful,loved the video..and it is always a calming effect on me.

  7. Mindfulness can help lots of people with depression etc. Good post mate ;)

  8. Be Thou My Vision by Eden’s Bridge has been my favorite since its release a few years ago. Today’s post brought tears to my eyes because Celtic spirituality is where my heart is too. I want to always have my senses attuned to his presence wherever I may be, whatever I’m doing, whoever I’m with. Be Thou My Vision is “our song,” mine and God’s. Whenever I sit down to play piano, this is the song I play and sing. I do hope to read The Eye of the Eagle soon... and can appreciate his ideas on not analyzing and dissecting… all this dichotomizing is of the world. I’ll be back to read this again and again. And hope to hear more from what you’ve gleaned from this book.

  9. The video is great Jessica! Like Jorie said so soothing! Thank you for sharing this post - another excellent post!


  10. Jessica,
    You are a fountain of information when it comes to religion. beautiful music on the video.

  11. This is one of the most powerful hymns written. Listening on headphones right now I'm finding it powerfully emotional. So much of our lives we tend to live with limiting our senses. There is so much more when attaching ourselves to the spiritual and talking to God.
    Another favourite of mine is "How Great Thou Art". It brings back memories for me of a weekend away in the country. Hearing a gospel church singing their hearts out on the Saturday morning touched me. I recorded some of it (somewhat crudely) but even with the poor sound, I still get that sense of powerful, collective connection with God.
    I'll link the video, the "How Great..." recoding comes at the end. You'll need to listen to some "Delirous" first.

  12. A beautiful hymn that touches Spirit within. I love the Van Morrison version with his strong Ulster accent - it seems to go straight to the heart.