From the introduction to SIGNS & SHRINES: SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS ACROSS NEW MEXICO
. . .Why do certain natural settings of mountains, groves, streams, and rocks, and certain cultural properties and built landscapes, such as shrines, churches, temples, and monuments, evoke feelings of awe, wholeness, and belonging to a sphere much larger than our everyday reality?
At sites such as Bandelier National Monument, Chaco Canyon, and Taos Mountain, at the Earth Journey stupa in El Rito, the Temple Montefiore cemetery in Las Vegas, and the Marigold Day of the Dead Parade in Albuquerque, or walking the grounds of the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, or watching the Mescalero Apaches’ ceremonial Dance of the Mountain Gods, peace, connection, a sense of being blessed, of purpose, of participating in a drama beyond our own, temporarily overwhelms our petty “monkey mind” without our conjuring it or trying for it.
It matters not what our individual religious beliefs are. Such places speak to us in their own subtle, strong, and silent language if we are the least bit open. All I can say is: Welcome to New Mexico!. . .
What struck me so forcefully, from the time I first traveled through New Mexico in 1972, is the peaceful coexistence of so many different, clearly articulated spiritual paths. An early drive through the Jemez amazed me with the sight, in close proximity, in this narrow canyon, of Buddhist, Catholic, and Native American communities. . .
This book highlights special places in New Mexico where we may retreat to repair our souls, rest from the world, seek peace in a community where the dedicated, such as the Benedictine monks at Christ in the Desert Monastery, devote their lives to offering just such a possibility to guests. One may join in the practice of prayers or meditation, or simply sit by the flowing river in silence and watch the changing light on the rock walls of the canyon. . .