Back at Mountain Light Sanctuary yesterday for an evening. I made my way up the creek. Slowly, owing to a broken rib. White bubbly beauty covering up rocks that gave purchase to soaked and happy feet…climbing up mountain cascades. Dropping into breath taking pools, owing to their depth, temperature and aliveness…gently swimming and floating while immersed.
The shorts were the only clothing that the sunlight through the trees could find on me, but that only lasted until I was sure no wayward hikers on the main trail could see me any longer. Naked I became the water and every branch I brushed against. I hummed and toned my way through. I stopped to talk to spiders and touched their webs admiringly without tearing them apart. My hands felt into water soaked moss on rounded rock. I went into any direction that caught my eye.
I climbed carefully onto a massive tree bridging the stream in a ravine. So old, so long had it been there that there were smallish trees growing out of its softened self. I kneaded the aging friend, thinking about how we all do that eventually. Life and death in beautiful places. Life said “go left and walk til you see it”. And so I did. I saw on the slope ahead of me, a black snake, nearly 5 feet long. It was gorgeous. The evening sun fell upon it all glossy. I watched its face closely, how it delicately chose its path, how a single wrong move on the steep cambered slope would send it falling into the water. It moved with its whole body activated, every bit of him/her clung and held fast, and yielded in turns. Finally the way was made to a bush root. The center of the snake rested there and there the snake remained for the rest of my stay.
There is a complete emptiness. Not an awful sort. Not a sort that needs filling. It is a full nothing. It is the space of silence in between something dying and something else being born. It is like the sound that the space in between stars makes. It is the sound that passes in the vibration when two lovers gaze at one another. It is the space that exists in all things at all times. To be precise, this is the space that underpins everyday of your life and it is what I directly experience all day, everyday, regardless of what is coming or going in the mind. It is in the mother sound I have heard all day long, every day since the awakening happened on the day I died.
At times it appears to be stronger than others. That is why I was in the creek this day. I needed a place to let it be as strong as it needed to be. I needed a place to be completely unfiltered and let it move however it needed to move. I needed the container of a place that well matched what was attempting to align. And when I found the right place, above the wild creek, with the resting snake behind me, with the sun splashing, what moved through me was the same as all that and nothing more. There was just the empty full. There were just the wide open eyes looking at nothing eyes can see, but they felt it all.
At the end, there was a thought and a feeling. The thought that someday it won’t be here. All this life. The streams. The people. Mountains. Water. Someday it won’t. And then the feeling…and it wasn’t sadness. It was confusion. How can it be that so many of us do not die on the spot from the oppressive weight of all the aliveness we do not embrace while it is still here? How is it that breath, for example, isn’t taken into the lungs like the medicine it is…like the elixir for the next moment it is? How is that we let people pass by our paths without saying what is really there to be said? How do we survive a single day of not being authentically up front and honest with ourselves about how much we suffer or how much joy we ignore?
And yes, I know why. The reasons why are like spider webs. They catch things. They are part of what the mother sound is all about. But still, in that innocent way, it still baffles and boggles how very much we miss, how much we are actually capable of forgetting.
I came down the mountain stream. I put my shorts back on. I watched the water dancing in the last ray’s. I bowed in gratitude for being able to be there once again. ”I am glad we both still exist” I said to the stream and the mountain.
Then I walked back into the place where people were…that place where if we do not engage with others, we never embody nor share what we learn while steeped in our true nature.