August 4, 2008

Don’t miss the miracles

This past weekend I went hiking with a couple of friends, shout out to Samir and Aimee! Our day started around 6:30am with overcast skies and mother earth showering us with rain. But undeterred, we ventured out on our 1.5 hour drive to Mill Mountain in the George Washington National Forest. We arrived at our destination just before 9am and got our gear and minds ready for the 6.5 hour hike through Mill Mountain with a “short” crossover to Big Schloss to take in the must see vista. Initially I wondered if the crossover to Big Schloss was worth the extra 2 hours of hiking, but it really was in so many ways. As we all know there is something extremely rewarding about setting a goal and reaching it. But the thing I’m learning to appreciate even more than achieving the goal is the process. It’s the hawks protecting their nests, the chipmunks harvesting for the winter, the mushrooms so varied & unique that only a power greater than man could’ve created them. Long story short, it’s the journey. A quote from Thich Nhat Hanh says that “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” We’ve all heard very similar quotes before, yet we still walk past miracles everyday and fail to recognize them as such. Ask a blind man about the miracle of seeing a flower or a deaf man about the beautiful sound of a rolling stream. Why do we have to be without before we appreciate being with? I don’t know, but I do know that everyday I’m trying to be more thankful, more appreciative and more of a protector of the endless miracles of our earth. Having said that, after 5 hours of basically walking on a Stairmaster my body and mind started to wander to the car, a shower and my bed! But then I refocused my thoughts to the natural beauty of my surroundings, focusing solely on my walking meditation, and before you know it I had reached the goal. Now the initial goal was to reach the summit and conquer the hike, but as I look back, the things that flash in my mind when reflecting are the hawks, the chipmunks, and the mushrooms. These things may pale in size to the mountaintop, but I’ve found that these are the first things I mention to friends when discussing the hike. Amazingly, if we allow ourselves to recognize the miracles then we have a greater chance of truly comprehending them. For the word comprehend comes from the Latin roots cum, which means “with”, and prehendere, which means “to grasp it or pick it up”. To comprehend something means to pick it up and be one with it. I’m finding that through nature I am learning how to comprehend people. Again to quote Thich Nhat Hanh, “if we want to understand a person, we have to feel his feelings, suffer his sufferings, and enjoy his joy”. Whether we’re talking about nature or our fellow man, let’s put forth the effort to comprehend it. For if their feelings are our feelings then we wouldn’t hurt them.

1 comment:

Marlo said...

Stu, I certainly enjoyed reading and sharing your thoughts in this particular blog. I just stumbled upon the link in an email that Mick had sent. Now that I have it, I will read more. The last line is so on point. Thanks again for sharing. Marlo