We are walking from Nazareth to Capernaum, following the Jesus Trail. We are presently in Cana, staying at an Arab-Christian place, near the Franciscan Wedding Chapel. The chapel was built in 1879 over the ruins of earlier Byzantine ruins, a site thought to mark the wedding feast at which Jesus performed his first miracle: turning water into wine.
Some people renew their wedding vows at the altar of this church. Others pray regarding relationships.
People have left written prayer requests among the archeological digging within the Franciscan Wedding Church.
I wonder what you would write if you were to compose a note to leave at this place.
We leave Cana — walking on the Jesus Trail. This trail was created by two guys who wanted to make a trail similar to the pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago, Spain. The trail has attracted attention because it connects Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Connecting Muslims, Christians, and Jews is better than water into wine, isn’t it? How about connecting men and women?
I have had the opportunity to talk with many couples during family therapy sessions. Many men and women have problems saying what they need their partner to hear and feeling secure that their partner is hearing it. Merely expressing anger does not do the trick. Many couples develop ritualized patterns of conflict.
By writing out your thoughts you can discover what it is that you want from a relationship. Unfortunately, it is difficult to change another person. The only person that you can change is yourself.
The trail is well marked — except that new trails have been created, some of which coincide with the Jesus Trail. The Israeli government has recently built the Gospel Trail — which overlaps the Jesus Trail. Like men and women, the two trails diverge, then come together, then diverge — it is not clear why.
Meditation is a way of discovering what is going on inside yourself — the first step in self-change. Changing your attitudes is a secret to solving many relationship problems.
I am thinking about relationships and we take a wrong turn. Karen is pissed off! Our trail turned and we walked straight. We catch ourselves and get back on the path.
Relationships are easy during the early stage — but typically there is a “stage 2” phase involving “power relationships”– the partners seek to put less in and get more out. This strategy does not work well.
We look at a pylon. The Jesus Trail has been joined by the Gospel Trail. The Gospel Trail is better marked than our Jesus Trail — our blazes have become more difficult to find. The Gospel Trail tends to avoid Arab villages.
We arrive at Ilaniya and stay at the Barkai family organic goat farm, run by nice Jewish folks. We will be staying in a geodesic dome.
The goats greet us.
Here is our dome.
I start a fire in the wood stove and we wash and hang our clothes.
Lao tsu writes (chapter72):
“When they lose their sense of awe,
people turn to religion.
When they no longer trust themselves,
they begin to depend upon authority.
Therefore the Master steps back
so that people won’t be confused.
He teaches without a teaching,
so that people will have nothing to learn.”
Lao tsu provides guidance for the inner way. You don’t need to follow anyone because, actually, there is nowhere to go. The path is inside. There is nothing to learn because you already know it in your heart.
I have found that relationships and meditation are connected. If your relationships are going well, meditation goes more smoothly — the thoughts and emotions that come up are easier to process.
During troubling times in your life, meditation can be more difficult. Negative thoughts and emotions come up. That does not mean that you should cut back on your inward path — it means you should meditate more. Meditation is good medicine, even if bitter. You can discover what needs to change inside.