In May of 2014, my husband, Gyandev, and I went for a week-long vacation in Sedona, Arizona, which is known for its majestic red mountains and many great hiking trails.
It was interesting to watch how the mind gradually relaxes while in nature, and how the daily stresses of life dissolve in the presence of calm mountains.
Through daily hikes in peaceful nature, one’s spirit can soar and expand.
But even in nature, one’s mind can drift and dwell on mundane things and miss the opportunity to receive the gifts of nature.
During our morning hikes we remained quiet, and I tried to open myself to the heart of nature, to feel the peace and the solidity of the mountains, to be still at my center.
One day, while we were hiking in Fay Canyon, we decided to climb a steep hillside leading to a beautiful, natural arch. The path was narrow and steep, and not easy to hike. I had to pay attention to each step, to avoid falling or tripping. When we reached the top, the view of the canyon was magnificent. We sat quietly, absorbed in the beauty of nature. As we prepared to go back down, there was a strong wind, and as I looked down, I felt a bit anxious walking down the steep mountain.
I asked my husband to sit with me and meditate, before we went back down. We sat in the silence, eyes closed, focused at the center of concentration, between the eyebrows. As I practiced meditation, I became very quiet. After a short time, I felt centered and refreshed. As we walked down, we remained quiet and focused, paying attention to each step. When we reached the canyon floor, I paused, and looked up. I felt very joyful and uplifted, as if I were one with nature. Being in the present moment, centered and present, helped me to feel that blessed unity.
For me, this experience was a metaphor for how to deal with life’s challenges. When one faces a challenge, the tendency of the mind is to dwell on the problem, spinning uselessly in worry and anxiety. We can get paralyzed. If instead one meditates, gets centered, and then starts toward a solution by taking one step forward, then the next step will reveal itself. Staying grounded, focused on the here and now, and moving energy in a positive direction, can ultimately lead one to the final solution.