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.

Mindful Musings

Last Night’s Dream”

A sea of blue

But not an ocean

Ancient mountains

Ascending

To liberate we

From the illusion

Of separateness

 

Far below,

In the valley

I see:

What our minds

Cannot easily perceive:

The many merging into ONE

 

Have I told you

Of last night’s dream?

One thousand seekers

Climbing the high peaks

To be:

What God sees

When IT turns

Within ITSELF.

Rocky Mountains - Wikipedia

 

 

Mindful Musings

THE POWER OF THE MANTRA

For 13 years, a great monk prayed, meditated and fasted in the mountains in order to see more clearly into the nature of things. One morning, this wise man decided to climb a high peak, where it was believed that great spiritual power dwelled. The monk filled his canteen full of water and ascended the five labourious miles (about eight kilometres), barefoot, to the mountaintop’s 13,000-foot (or approximately 3962-metre) summit.Upon arrival, he soaked in the transcendent beauty of the streams and valleys below. Tears rolled down his face as he felt the spirit of the mountain rush through him. Overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude, the monk dropped to his knees in exaltation and paid reverence to the Earth.After a few moments of deep contemplation upon the wonder of it all, the monk jumped to his feet and was immediately struck by what he saw. Standing there before him was the most beautiful, radiant woman he’d ever seen. She was tall and slender, with skin that seemed to glow in the afternoon’s high-altitude sun.The woman smiled warmly, and then seductively motioned for the monk to walk the 10 paces to where she stood, running her fingers through her long, flowing dark hair. The entranced monk stared at the woman for a long moment, and felt the desires of years past pulsate through his being with the intensity of deep ocean currents.To still his mind, the monk began reciting the vows that he’d made when he joined the monastic order. Of course, celibacy was one of those vows. He then began repeating the following mantra in his head:

“Desire breeds attachment
Attachment breeds suffering
Suffering breeds delusion
of who we truly are.”

As the monk continued to repeat his mantra, he felt the torrent of desire gradually fall away. The deluge of deep ocean currents was being transformed into nothing more than passing waves on a sea of change.

With an even more inviting smile, the mysterious woman motioned once more for the monk to approach her. The holy sage took two steps forward in her direction, and then bowed and said:

“My fellow soul traveller, it’s a great honour to be in your presence upon this mountaintop of bliss and wonder. It’s twice the honour that you’ve welcomed me with such a warm smile and kind spirit. But it’s spiritual wealth, nothing of the physical, that I seek upon this rarefied peak of truth.

“The Indwelling One commands that my mind surrender to IT’s pursuit of the highest kind of knowledge. Now, I must wish you farewell and much fortune on your journey.”

The monk then bowed to the woman one last time, and turned to walk back down the mountain. However, just before he took his first descending steps, the mysterious woman transformed into the brilliant colours of a rainbow and then vanished into the heavens.

In awe, the monk looked up at the sky, and saw a glorious double rainbow form out of the mist above the dazzling blue mountains.

The noble monk attained his spiritual power and went on to inspire and teach many disciples for 50 years, until he dropped his body to complete his cycle of birth and death.

****Originally published on the mindfulword.org

Forrest Rivers is a lover of the Earth and author of the book The Hippie Revival and Collected Writings. He lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Feel free to reach out to Forrest through email: forrestrivers4@gmail.com or leave a message on his website: forrestrivers.com.

Mindful Musings

       Two ranges, one teacher


Two people partway up a mountain with a snow-capped peak

Two mountain ranges evolve over time. Both arise from the same spark of creation, but represent different qualities of their Creator.

The taller, vaster, younger and more rugged of the two ranges speaks to the spirit of adventure and youthful exuberance. With its tall, snow-capped peaks, jagged terrain and cold winters, this range draws in those youthful spirits who see in these mountains the metaphorical challenge to conquer their fears and achieve their hopes and dreams.

Due to this range’s imposing landscapes, many of its inhabitants choose to reside along the periphery rather than within the cradle of these great and inspiring mountains. Captivated by its majestic summits, many young people migrate here to fulfill their quest for adventure and to achieve personal transformation.

The smaller, homier, ancient and less rugged of the two ranges speaks to the spirit of deep-rootedness and refined wisdom. With its lush green forests, soft rolling hills and warmth-inviting climate; this range attracts those reflective souls who find, in these densely-wooded mountains, the solitude needed for meditation upon the eternal self.

Due to this range’s gentler sliding slopes and ridges, many of its inhabitants live within the heart of these exquisite blue mountains. While less young people may migrate here than to the former range, those who do lay down deep and permanent roots like the rhododendrons and mountain laurels that provide the range’s humble grounding.

The spirit of adventure, youthful exuberance, deep-rootedness and refined wisdom are all core facets of our inner journey along the path to self-realization. The qualities of each of these two great mountain ranges, then, serve as natural contemplative reflections of our own states of being.

Each also reminds us that we must always heed the call of our inner child to ascend the rarefied peaks of wisdom that comes with experience and age.

****Originally published on the mindfulword.org

Forrest Rivers is a lover of the Earth and author of the book The Hippie Revival and Collected Writings. He lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Feel free to reach out to Forrest through email: forrestrivers4@gmail.com or leave a message on his website: forrestrivers.com.