Mindful Musings: May 4

“Inspiration for the Soul”

By: Forrest Rivers

(Abbie taking in the view atop a 12,000 FT peak)

In her eleven plus years on this Earth, my beautiful and inspiring dog Abbie has been speared by a buck(very nearly ending her life), survived two vicious attacks from other dogs(one of which left her with over 50 stitches), consumed an iron packet at the bottom of a dog treat bag that also almost killed her, badly cut her side open on a briar patch(also requiring stitches), cut her paws open twice on glass at the park and even ate a batch of pot edible cookies(Yup another trip to the Pet ER!). Yet, despite enduring so many dramatic and life-threatening events in her journey, after every incident she has bounced back even stronger and more resilient then before. Like the glorious mountains that she hikes nearly each day alongside me, Abbie’s life is a testament to the power of will, courage and faith in the face of adversity. My gratitude could never be expressed in words for the infinite blessings and profound teachings that she has shared with me. Truly, Abbie is the essence of living spirit.

Mindful Musings: May 3

“The Soul of Nature”

By: Forrest Rivers

forest trees

The trail is my refuge

A road to God

The beckons my mind

To acknowledge

All I am a part of….

As I walk

My spirit is moved

By the beauty of the divine

Beyond space and time

The soul of nature

Is reflected in the moon

Watching

Waiting

With her eyes

Fixed on the tides

That condition my mood

To transcend

the illusion of separateness.

Mindful Musings: Apr 30th

“Seeds of Karma: A Short Story”

By: Forrest Rivers

two men sitting on road

One day, a very wealthy banking executive by the name of Jeffrey Goodwin was walking down the street in New York City just a few blocks from his office for lunch when a homeless woman grabbed his attention. The young woman, who was around 25 years old, waved him down and said in a polite voice:

“Sir, could you spare some change? I have fallen on difficult times.”

The 55-year-old banker, who was dressed in an expensive Armani suit, stared dismissively at the young woman and said in an arrogant tone:

“I worked hard for my money, why should I help you? “

The banker then proceeded to carry on his way but not before the homeless woman recaptured his attention by calling him out by his childhood name:

“Jeffey, I am very disappointed in you. I did not raise you this way. Don’t you remember when your mother used to bring you to soup kitchens when you were but a teenager to serve meals to those in need just like me?”

Taken aback, Jeffrey Goodwin stopped cold in his tracks and turned to face the woman who was 30 years younger and said:

“How do you know my childhood name? And, who told you that my mother used to bring me to soup kitchens when I was young?”

The homeless woman stared adoringly at the wall street elite standing before her and whispered the words:

“I know these things because I was your mother before I passed away when you were the same age I am now. “

Jeffrey Goodwin suddenly dropped to his knees and began sobbing uncontrollably for the first time since his mother’s death all those years ago. He then stared the young woman right in her eyes and said:

“But how can this be? How is it even possible for you to have died and then to retrun in a new body. I don’t think I understand!”

The young woman, who was in fact his mother from her previous life, hugged the banker and shared what wisdom she had:

“The Universe is a mysterious web of wonder, dear son. About three years ago, I roamed through India for a period of time and met a venerated sage. And he taught me that reincarnation is a fixed and eternal law of the cosmos. Everything is born, then it dies and then it is reborn again. My child, just as the butterfly sheds its cocoon at its moment of transformation from a caterpillar, the soul sheds its body at its moment of transformation from form back into the deathless realm of pure spirit. And, after the soul sheds its body, it then wonders about freely without any hindrance into the mystical planes. But inevitably, the day finally arrives when the soul, pulled by its own karma, chooses to leave the sanctuary of its celestial heavens to take birth once again in a body to continue its journey of truth and enlightenment. “

Astounded at what he had just heard, the wealthy banker then asked the woman in a semi-skeptical tone:

“But how do you know that what your teacher, or whatever you call him, was telling you the truth?”

The young woman smiled and simply said:

“For one a true sage never lies. Most importantly, I experienced the truth of his words directly. One day, while meditating with him and some of his disciples high in the mountains, I had several visions myself from a previous life as your mother. In those visions, I discovered that you, dear one, are my link to the timeless wheel of birth and death!”

For the first time since meeting her, the banker looked upon the homeless woman with great reverence.  Within his own heart he now heard the truth of her words speak. Oblivious to the loud background noise of the city, the reunited mother and son rejoiced in a long and joyous moment of silence together. Finally, the banker broke their awe-filled moment and summoned the courage to ask his mother a question that now arose in his mind:

“If I may ask, why did our paths cross here in this improbable setting of New York City? Afterall, you raised me in the country. How is it that we are meeting here?”

In response, the homeless woman laughed and said:

“All I can say is that it was our seeds of karma to appear, here, in this moment of space and time so you could remember that there exists no power stronger in this universe then love. “

Tears streamed down the face of the wealthy banker as he began to feel great shame for all his greedy and selfish behavior. He thought of all the people like his reincarnated mother whom he had brutally judged and ridiculed for their suffering. And he thought of the lies that he had told countless people to convince them to sign away what little savings they had to fatten his own wallet. In that moment of deep reflection, Jeffrey Goodwin experienced great regret for a life wasted in pursuit of ignoble aims. Right then and there, he resolved to use his immense wealth to create a foundation to serve the homeless and all people suffering in poverty. And he just now happened to know the perfect person to appoint as both his personal spiritual advisor and director of a campaign to serve the poor with the spirit of loving kindness.

Mindful Musings: April 28

” Responding to a Skeptic”

The sun with a corona mass ejection

Often, I am asked the question does “God really exist.” And my answer to that question is always met with another question: “Does the sun rise each day? “Typically, the person asking me this question will respond with something like the following: “Well, sure, the sun rises each day but I can’t quite make the connection between the sun rising and the question of God’s existence?” To which I always reply with the following: “Does the sun not give us unconditional love through shining its light indiscriminately upon all beings everywhere? And in doing so, does not the sun also provide us with all the warmth and nourishment our crops and souls need to grow? Tell me, does not the sun (who you readily admit exists) embody the very divine qualities that have been ascribed to God through the ages by all the world’s greatest sages?”

Mindful Musings: Apr 27

“God’s Debris”

river between brown rocky mountains during daytime

Ants industriously building

Their homes in clay

Bees busily buzzing

In their hives of honey

An intricate network

Of trees

Producing air for us to breathe

And faithful rivers

Carving their paths

Through the mountain side

We are God’s debris

That’s what we are

Why should we think that we are any different

Then the ants, the bees, the trees

And the rivers running free?