Laura Fahys awakened to a grating alarm. Her head spun. She used to arise with a smile, relishing her terrific bay-window-view of the Berkeley hills but today she felt irritable and it wasn’t just morning grogginess.
She’d fought with her fiancé, Tom, and thing had gotten so heated she’d even threatened to return the engagement ring. Why does everything lovely turn rotten so soon? Laura thought as she squirmed out from her comforter and headed to the shower.
Laura frowned as she got dressed, and made a spontaneous decision to take a weekend trip to Mount Shasta, one of her favorites places to hike and meditate.
She snatched an overnight bag and stuffed it with clothes, Power Bars, sleeping bag, and Thermarest mattress. Grabbing her Volkswagen keys and a gallon of mineral water, she headed to the car and pitched her stuff in the backseat. I’ll take refuge on the mountain, she thought as she started the ignition.
Zooming up I-5, she gasped as the snow-capped fourteen thousand foot peak of Mount Shasta soared into view just six hours after she’d left home. My Sacred Mountain! You steal my breath. Standing as solitary as God, the great white peak stretching far above the dense dark Siskiyou woods makes a striking, intoxicating impression.
The air grew cooler along the sun-splashed slopes leading up to the final parking lot. A two-mile hike to my Squaw Meadow Sanctuary. Oh, to live here forever. No annoying fiancé driving me nuts. She grabbed her pack and set out on the trail leading from Panther Meadows to her favorite spot.
As Laura traipsed through old growth cedar, oak, conifer, and Douglas Fir, she inhaled the rich scent of moist earth and smiled at the ferns, boulders and moss strewn along the path. She felt the earlier tension slipping off as every cell celebrated the fresh mountain air surrounding her. Why did I let such a silly thing provoke me? What a fool I am! She shrugged away the thought, emptied her mind and starting humming a tune as she neared her destination.
Arriving at the circular cluster of six trees that made a chapel-like room, she tossed her gear near a boulder. I’ll set up camp later. Laura sat in the tree-chapel and meditated for a few minutes. Then she consumed a Power Bar, gazed at her beloved Mountain for a moment and set off to roam with her heart soaring.
After some time, she rested on a rock near the spring’s source, watching the sunlight fabricate diamonds on the crystal-clear stream. Why let the world bring me stress?I don’t need much to survive. Maybe my savings are enough: I could build a cabin, meditate daily. What’s the point of life if I have no peace? Only spirituality matters.
Wind whistled through the trees. Ah, the mountain welcomes me. Laura smiled.
“Greetings, dear one,” said a voice.
“Who said that?” She whipped her head around but saw no one.
“They call me Blue Pearl.”
“Why can’t I see you?”
“I’m made of light. Your mind’s trained not to register me. Close your eyes. You may sense my radiance.”
“I see you!” Laura perceived a vague blue orb between her eyebrows. Wow! This is cool.
“Good. You have the gift of insight.” Laughter tinkled like bells. “Let us begin.”
“Begin? Begin what?”
More tinkling bells. “Your training, dear one.” The blue glow brightened.
“Are you my spiritual guide?”
“I’m one of many helpers who arrive when your soul’s ripe for unveiling mysteries. You’re tired of the world and hungry for Truth. Very few humans know it, but all possess this hunger within. I’ve come to feed you.”
“Knowledge is of mind. Wisdom, of spirit.”
“How do we start?”
“Follow me. I’ll guide your intuition.”
Laura felt prompted to climb the mountain. As she ascended, a stream of inner guidance unfolded in Blue Pearl’s voice: Notice the tree line ends up ahead and all you see is rock, light, and sky. Along the spiritual path, everything nonessential must drop away. Below the tree line are diversions: flora, streams, wildlife. As you climb higher, there’s nothing to distract you. You can be focused within.
The atmosphere became rarefied as they gained altitude. Laura noticed the purity of her thoughts increasing.
The higher you climb, the more subtle your thoughts. At the zenith, you’ll have no thoughts, only peace and expanded vision: a panoramic perspective. Things that seemed huge, like fighting with your fiancé…
“How’d you know about that?” Laura’s eyebrows shot up.
Shhh. Be still. These things no longer weigh upon you. They’re tiny ants, invisible and irrelevant compared to the vast sky of self-awareness. Your attachment to identity falls away. Only Truth is.
Laura gasped at the spectacular view from the top; her eyes grew wide as she drank in the scenery with its volcanic cliffs towering above oceans of dense forests, the conical sister peak, Shastina, joining in the chorus of rock and sky, the gulch in- between and the vast expanse of valley below.
Close your eyes, Laura.
Laura turned her gaze inward. What she saw behind closed eyes was even more spectacular. Happy tears streamed as her mind expanded within realms bathed in light. She remained immersed in rapture. Then, a single thought arose: Blue Pearl’s right. Everything’s meaningless compared to this bliss.
Now, my dear, I have one more important message for you, until we meet again.
“I’m ready,” whispered Laura.
You cannot stay on the summit forever. Bring this vision to the valley. Remember this view while you work things out with your fiancé.
“Okay, I’ll try.”
What you experienced here is a vertical burst of spiritual awareness. Applying this vision horizontally means remembering the view at all times and practicing patience, compassion, forgiveness and adaptability in your daily life.
“What do you mean by adaptability?”
The ability to adjust yourself to every circumstance with optimal behavior that reflects the art of response rather than reaction.
“You mean, like not snapping at Tom when my mood is out of sorts?”
Yes, dear. Something like that. If you keep your mind tuned to the panoramic view, you’ll feel less burdened by problems; from that perspective they appear smaller. You will have more control over your reactions. Now, go and practice.
Laura parked her car, but stayed seated as she gazed over cultivated lawns and then at her house with its wooden porch swing and stained-glass window near the door. The wind chimes sang in harmony. Everything looked the same but seemed different. It’s like a movie; I’m witnessing my own life.
Another car pulled up behind her. In the rear-view mirror Tom appeared apprehensive as he approached. Laura opened the car door and stepped onto the grass, greeting him with a smile, a hug…and then a kiss. They melted into each other and any remnant thought of the argument dissolved.