Mindful Musings

The Smoky Mountains vs. the "Smokey Mountains”: Who's Right?

“A Faithful Silence”

By: Forrest Rivers

It is a beautiful day outside and you decide to hike to the top of a glorious mountain. When you arrive at the trailhead, your mind is anxious and your thoughts wander in every direction away from the present—the here and now. For the first 20 minutes of your walk, you are totally consumed by reflections upon the past and possibilities for the future. In your restless mind of untamed thoughts, emotions and impressions you replay your countless dramas from yesterday and make big plans for what you will accomplish tomorrow. Such worries over relationship troubles, workplace dramas and recent personal failures coalesce with wild imaginings of your hopes and dreams yet to be fulfilled. At this phase of your journey, you are feeling anxious and alienated from your inner self.

You continue walking along the trail in this uncomfortable and distracted state until the miraculous happens. Your mind begins to quiet and your heart tunes in to the glory of your natural surroundings. You then start to notice those wondrous happenings that you took for granted only moments ago. On your way up to the rarefied peak, you are swept away by the harmonious songs of the Earth. Through a new pair of eyes, the first thing you realize is how the warm life-giving rays of the sun stir all living creatures into action. As a child of the sun, you begin to feel an indescribable kinship with all beings of the forest. You then quiet down even more and tune in to the heavenly sounds of swaying tree tops and the whispering wind. You then smell the sweet aroma of spring’s blooming flowers and hear the faint sound of flowing water off in the distance. It is at this point, that you have entered into a natural and sacred space that has been called Zen, Oneness and Satchitananda by mystics across various faiths.

As you bask in the wonder of this heightened state of awareness, your body feels light as air and your vital energies come into balance. As the top draws near, you hardly recognize the being that has become, but yet, who has always been. Arriving at the mountain top, you now feel an overwhelming sense of love and appreciation for the perspective of the Eagle. Standing at the summit of a rocky abyss, you recognize the soft grooves etched into the great blue hills. You then feel wildly comforted by the vast jungle forests that rests upon the surrounding mountain tops and stretch as far as your eyes can see. Looking out at the vast expanse of glorious Earth, you begin to understand just how inconsequential you are in the grand scheme of things. However, somewhere inside you know that in being nothing you are indeed everything. You then walk back down the mountain in a faithful silence.

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