Mindful Musings

“Don’t Fear the Falling Tree”

By: Forrest Rivers

Creativity boost - Trees falling without a sound, quantum ...When I go hiking in the mountains during a storm I am sometimes asked this question: “aren’t you afraid a tree might fall on your head?” Usually, I only answer with an ambiguous shrug. I am happy to report that I now have a sure reply! No. I am not afraid of a tree falling on my head. Nor, for that matter, do I fear getting struck by lightning, being attacked by mountain lions or getting lost in the woods. In very recent times I expressed these fears…. but not anymore.  I am just beginning to truly understand the meaning behind a most popular truth: you can only control what you can control.  At some point in life, we must all find our faith within and surrender to the Universe.  Indeed, if all occurring phenomenon are really manifestations of the Ultimate Reality, the One, the Infinite; then everything in the cosmos is perfect just the way it is. All our suffering. All our pain. All our hopes. All our dreams. All our feelings of loss and gain. Everything unfolds with great intention and purpose. We are always cared for even if we cannot fully tune in to the subtle but inspiring guidance of the Universe.

In the end, that which we perceive as our unbearable suffering may well turn out to be our greatest blessing(s) later in this life, through death and beyond. Why? Because God is love and IT’s driving motivation is for us all to learn and to grow. So, if it should be my fate for a tree to fall on my head while walking through glorious mountains then let it fall where it may! Perhaps, suffering such a fate would mean that my soul was prepared to experience the oneness that abides in passing from life to death and back again.

                    Mountain Heaven

By: Forrest Rivers (originally published by the themindfulword.org)

Sunset at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It was a beautiful day outside. The birds were singing, the sun was shining brightly and a cool autumn breeze swept across the countryside

I was hiking with my dear friend Jamie, back down the forested service road 316, a gorgeous trail in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. We’d walked about six miles (about 9.6 kilometres) and were 20 minutes from my car when the Divine fully presented itself.

We’d stopped to smoke a bit of herb and to reflect on our inspiring journey. To commemorate the moment, I expressed to Jamie that I wished to recite a few prayers I’d compiled over the past week.

The collection included sacred Buddhist, Sioux Indian, Hindu, Sufi and Christian invocations to the Absolute. I opened my journal and began to read the first lines from the Buddhist-Loving Kindness selection:

“May all beings be free from danger
May all beings be free from mental suffering…”

At the exact moment I recited these lines, a pack of wolves began howling in unison with the prayer. The tone of their soulful expressions was both haunting and awesome. The hairs on our necks stood at full attention. It felt as though the wolves were inside our souls, playing their heart-stringed instruments.

Because it was nearing sunset, I immediately placed my beloved canine companion, Abbie, on leash and finished reciting the Buddhist prayer. I then listened … mesmerized. After a minute or two, the primal sounds of howling stopped.

Jamie and I glanced at one another in silent recognition of this divine moment. Chills went down our spines, as it became evident to us that the Infinite was speaking through the wolves.

What were these loyal beings trying to convey? Oneness. Unity. Stillness. Sacred Earth Connection.

As we continued our walk back down to the car, the energy of the forest felt particularly heightened and pure. Soon, the glorious sun began to set over majestic blue mountains and I knew deep within that my home was heaven on Earth.