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 forest service road 316, a gorgeous trail in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. We had walked about six miles and were 20 minutes from my car when the Divine fully presented itself. We had 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 that I had 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 that 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 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 then 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.
Here is a simple perspective to inject into our daily lives that can solve all of our division: everything is God. Everything that we can taste, smell, feel, see and hear is God. All our thoughts, emotions, desires and actions is God too. All the suffering, all the joy, all the good times and bad is also God. All the people, plants and animals that you encounter…. yup that is God too! Let this perspective of divine omnificence enter our consciousness and watch the world’s problems recede like waves in the infinite ocean. For armed with this mystical knowledge that everything is God how could anyone even entertain the crazy notion of hurting the earth or their fellow man?
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.