Joanie and I spent the last few days backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail.As usual, the experience out there was an immersion in beauty – interesting, varied, subtle and not-so-subtle beauty. For me, it's a bit like Holy Communion.
One evening, an hour or so before dusk, I decided to write about an experience in the moment.For those who have been following these postings for a while, you'll detect a familiar theme.
Beauty and the Beast
I'm sitting on a rock face high on a bluff overlooking a beaver pond way below in a valley of pines and poplars.It's a majestic scene – quietly beautiful as the sun begins to soften in the western sky.Leaning back, lounge-chair-style, with a huge slab of granite supporting me and stubby cedars growing through crevices in the rock at my feet, I realize, with a jolt, that for some time now I've let this bounty of beauty slip right through my awareness.Instead, my attention has been riveted to an interior drama, a fretful fantasy.The "beast" was back.
Eckhart Tolle – whose book, The New Earth, now provides backing for the sheet of paper I'm writing on – says it's a success when we become aware of ego's story telling.Maybe so.At this moment, though, I'm not feeling particularly successful – more ego commentary, I suspect.
Last night, at a campsite six miles southwest down the trail, while reading The New Earth, I was struck by a particularly powerful passage in his book.I hunt for it among dog-eared pages.
"You are the light of Presence, the awareness that is prior to and deeper than any thoughts and emotions."(p. 118).
Grateful for the message, I breathe … and soften – attuned, for a time, to the quiet observer inside who does not judge, who does not fret.