Posted by: Stephen Paul | August 19, 2008

Being alone in nature–as ceremony

This morning I got up early and hiked into the range of foothills that begins rising just up the hill from where we live. I do that a couple of mornings each week in order to experience the sunrise. I got to the hilltop spot I had selected a little early, in time to appreciate the surrounding mountains, the waking valley far below, and the still near-full moon. I arrived at my destination in time to do a simple ceremony to express my love and gratitude to Mother Earth and Being.

The sunrise itself was, as always, spectacular. You can watch the whole event, from the first speck of brilliant light to the moment when the entire sun has emerged above the peaks. You can see and feel the prana–the life force–eminating, and, if you open yourself, you can accept that life-giving grace into your body–into your very being. It is truly a powerful and magical time.

After the sunrise, I hiked on to an even higher peak that offers an even better, and more secluded 360 degree view of the entire mountain-circled valley and another parallel mountain range to the North. Alone in nature, high above the world below, it seems so much easier to regain perspective and to reconnect with Spirit and guidance. It seems…well…natural. There was a steady breeze that kept the bugs away, so I was able to linger longer than usual. It was hard to begin the hike back down.

I feel such happiness and contentment when I’m in nature, but there’s something very special about being alone in nature–especially on a mountain top. It’s a personal, even intimate experience. If you set out to approach the experience as a sacred ceremony, it becomes even more. It becomes a reorienting, revitalizing, and blissful experience. You remember yourself and your place in all that is. It’s as if you wake up not just to a new day, but to life itself again.

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