Maril Crabtree, Visiting Writer, wrote this piece while at Shadowcliff Lodge, Grand Lake, CO, late August, 2010
I am here in the mountains. I am here in the center of my life, a life that often whirls about me in tornadic fashion. Yet here in the mountains all is still, slow, in the cool morning air. Below me flows a river carved by glacial time.
Glaciers and tornadoes seem to move at opposite ends of the time spectrum, but both are great forces of change; both collapse whatever is in their way as they grind forward.
Time and change. Elemental forces so great my mind can hardly embrace them. Yet I continue to inch my way along the horizon of my own track, creating my own tiny slice of beauty and destruction.
Sometimes I sip from the nectar at hummingbird speed. I dance with the tippling rhythm of aspen leaves shivering in the wind. Eventually I pause, look around me, discover the stone at my feet – solid and unmoving, yet shimmering with sunlight in such a way that it moves as well.
The universe of my perception is alive and well this morning. Everything moves, dances.
In this space I can begin to empty myself of even perception itself. I can come to a state of awareness that I call “listening prayer,” a state of no-thought, no-feeling in which there is space for God’s voice, or my own quiet “knowing,” to arise.
Arriving at this space, there is an instant recognition of my true nature, the nature that is at one with all and everything. This pure awareness, it seems, can move mountains.
Many have attempted to describe it, from Hildegard of Bingen to Teilhard de Chardin to Eckhard Tolle. Voices across the centuries still call us, remind us that here is something beyond change, beyond time itself.
As I surrender into this space, as I experience my oneness with all, I’m thankful for whatever-it-is that links me in this way. The feeling of thankfulness shimmers, hovers for a moment in my consciousness, then disappears, leaving me once again dancing in a space of pure being. No thought, no emotion, just vast, unending awareness.
Do I live here? No. But it is a lifeline that is available whenever I choose to link in again. Whenever the real mountains seem far away, or the mountains of obstacles I create in my day-to-day life block my vision, I can sink into this space and remind myself: this is all there is. This is – abundantly – enough.