At certain junctures in our lives, the distractions of our physical existence can ensnare us like a rabbit in a hunter’s trap. Pursuits of such worldly desires as money, power and fame may seem to fulfill you for a time…. perhaps for the better part of your lifetime. But inevitably, the day arrives when you gain a glimpse into the deeper mystery of being through an infinite number of possible avenues such as a walk-in nature, hearing a beautiful song, ingesting a sacred plant and even witnessing the birth of a new born. This glimpse into the higher reality is in fact a glimpse into God, the Tao and the One itself. In such a moment of transcendent knowing, it might appear that the illusionary barrier separating your soul from your body has finally been broken down. But in truth, there was no such barrier to begin with. For your soul, the Atman, was there all along waiting like a glorious butterfly to capture your attention at just the perfect moment for your awakening.
Forrest Rivers is a writer and teacher who lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His new book, COVID-19 and Humanity’s Spiritual Awakening is now available on Amazon HERE.
One day, I sat by a roaring creek with a heavy heart, and this is what it said to me:
“Dear seeker, have you ever noticed that I never stop moving? Day and night, rain and shine, summer and winter… never do I cease from carrying my lifeblood to all beings. You don’t think I have days when I lament my circumstances? Flash floods, droughts and toxic chemicals dumped in my crystal-clear blue waters can certainly put a damper on my day!
“Yet, I must flow on, so that I may merge with the rivers on our journey to fill great lakes and oceans. My purpose is to flow, that is my dharma… my eternal destiny!”
Intrigued by this wise and talking creek, my melancholy mood began to fade, and I asked it a question: “How do you know to flow? Whenever I try to figure out my higher purpose or dharma, as you call it, I grow more anxious and confused. Please teach me how to flow, so I may, at last, discover my destiny.”
The creek replied in a hushed tone that brought my attention fully to the moment:
“How does a cat know to hunt? How does an eagle know that its purpose is to soar high above the mountains, as God’s first messenger? How do trees know to shed their glorious leaves in the fall, and how to synthesize life-giving oxygen from sunlight?
“Intuitively, all sentient beings know how to act in harmony with their purpose. Even your own kind have this knowing deep within you. Sadly, many of your human brethren just convince themselves that they don’t have such wisdom and submit their souls’ power to their minds. Please remember, the mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master!”
The creek paused for a moment and then continued, “Are you at all familiar with the Great Tao?”
I shook my head no.
“Well, the Great Tao is that mysterious life-force energy that all things in this world originate from, are always one with and will return to again. The Great Tao is the perfectly seamless marriage of past, present and future, set against a backdrop of infinite stands in space.
“The Great Tao is like water. For IT carves its path through the canyons, with no mind that it’s moving or shaping anything. Yet, at the same time, the Great Tao contains the full awareness of everything in the Universe. IT is the sublime manifestation of both the form and the formless. Beyond the cycle of birth and death, the Great Tao is as present in IT’s devotees’ mystical prayers and incantations as IT is in a mother nursing her newborn child.
“Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage who first gave breath to the expression of the Great Tao, described it as the common ancestor of all things. Learn to flow with IT, not against, and the deepest mysteries of being, including your own destiny, shall be revealed.”
The creek stopped speaking and returned again to its silent meditation. In that moment, I, too, grew silent for the first time, and heard the ebbs and flows of the creek. It was singing a beautiful song of joy and sorrow, of love and heartbreak, of light and darkness and of faith and fear.
I slowly submerged my body in the creek’s holy water, and suddenly burst out laughing. For just as everything once was, everything will be again!
“Lao Tzu’s Shadow”
What We can't control
Is called grasping blindly
That you are clever and wise
Without intent or purpose
Is called foolish banter
And flowing with the WAY
Is called awareness blooming.