I am ashamed to admit this, but after several months in this gorgeous little mountain town of Colorado, I finally got out there for my first honest-to-goodness hike. And by “hike” I mean no macadam roads, more than an hour of walking, in a woods, up a mountain, and probably should have brought some water with me.
It’s strange because I think of myself as a nature girl. I am surely a country girl. I love Nature with a passion. But sadly, I am also a bit of a creature of habit. I do have an adventurous side. I have traveled alone several thousand miles across the country or to another country and with barely enough money to survive. That qualifies as adventurous, right? But I also get stuck in these ruts. For instance, I love being outside on beautiful days, but I find myself hanging inside way too long and way too much. What’s that about, eh? I am determined to change this default sedentariness in my life and get out and enjoy this world as much as I can.
So yesterday I ventured forth on a path up a mountain. Ahhhh. Why did I wait so long???
Twenty minutes into my hike I came upon a shadow-lined, lichen-covered heart-shaped rock. It was like Nature was sending me a valentine. “Welcome, Cindy!” it said. “We love you. Come see us more often.”
With joy, I continued my hike past the rushing clear mountain stream. At one point it was not easily crossable because it had swollen too much from recent rains, so I went off-trail and continued climbing up. I was treated with beautiful new views of my favorite mountain – trees and chamisa and prickly pear in the foreground, the great Shining One backdropped against the sky. (That’s the name given this mountain by local indigenous tribes: the Shining One.) Eventually I found myself back by the beautiful stream, lush green grass, and achingly beautiful white aspens against a stunning blue sky.
I feel so high when I’m immersed in Nature. I feel lifted up, I feel nourished, I feel part of the Whole. It’s like there is no separation between Creator and Created.
Whoa. I find myself startled by that thought. I can certainly feel the validity and reality of that statement when I’m talking about mountains and streams and birds and trees. There is such majesty and magic and whimsy and beauty in the natural world. But WE are Created, too. Does that mean there is no separation between God and us???? Is there majesty and magic and whimsy and beauty in us, creations of the human variety as well?
Well, yes. I can see surely God in the eyes of an infant. Of course; that is no stretch whatsoever. I can feel God in the wisdom of an elder. I can sense Goddess in the love and compassion of a good mother. But what about the CEO’s of BP, for instance? Can I honor them as being one with Creator as well? Oh, that’s a tough one for me. What about mentally unstable mass shooters? What about Hitler and those responsible for genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, and on our own soil? What about rapists, child molesters, animal abusers? Oh, we are a sorry, sorry lot, are we not? But is there good in us, too?
Yes. There is good in the human race and there is evil. We are a mixed lot. We can probably all think of “heroes” who have shown their fallibility. It always kind of rocks our boat when someone whom we admire turns out to be imperfect. There are, for instance, rock stars and legendary singers who beat their wives. There are political and religious leaders who have had affairs. And on the other hand, there are despots who delight in beautiful music or adore their dogs. Just as the “good ones” among us have faults and flaws, so the “evil ones” among us have some modicum of goodness or beauty.
Can we entertain the possibility that within someone who seems irredeemable, absolutely unlovable and “bad,” there could be a tiny spark of something that is beautiful? Nelson Mandela and Gandhi both were models for us. They were kind to their captors, their prison guards. They treated everyone with dignity. Mandela’s guards had to be rotated frequently and regularly because he so excelled in befriending them, in reaching their humanity, that they were no longer to be trusted to guard him adequately.
I will always see God in Earth’s beauty, but it will be a lifelong challenge to learn to be able to say or think the word “Namaste” to every single person I meet. (Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit greeting which basically means, “I bow to the God in you” or “The God in me honors the God in you.”)
When we can ALL learn to do this – see and honor the God in everything and everyone, then I believe we will have succeeded in transforming this planet. If we learn to look for the good in each other and if we acknowledge that good, that piece of God, then that goodness will grow with our attention. (“Energy flows where attention goes” – a spiritual law.) Conversely, if we focus on the evil, the evil will grow.
Let’s look for the good.
Creator and Created, One. We are all One.
What a concept.