The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.
A low cloud hid the mountain peak. There was only a hint of a rise in the land peeking out under the billowy, grey shape. It seemed as though the mountain had been tucked in by the sky for a much-needed nap from eons of activity. Not only had it been in formation for millions of years, but also it has undergone countless, seasonal shifts, bringing bursts of water, wildlife, and color to its slopes.
The shrouded mountain reminded me of stalwart people who are always behind the scenes in life. There are the ones whom I have never met, such as the prophets, saints and spiritual masters, whose wisdom flows like ripples of grace through life. Then, there are people like my ancestors who are the foundation of my abilities to negotiate life’s ups and downs.
I particularly think of my father Bob Vogt, who had a steady, easeful presence. Much of his work life was spent in silence as he cared for the plants, soil, and the large farm vehicles used for tilling, sowing and harvesting. He understood the rhythms of nature. As a farmer, his life decisions were intimately linked to the amount and timing of the rains and snows. In a semi-arid region, his patience required a level of faith and confidence in natural abundance and divine will that most of us who live in urban areas cannot even imagine.
If you asked him if he were worried about whether it would rain, he’d answer, “It will rain. It always has.” He would say that it doesn’t help to worry about the weather, or any of those things or people, over which you have no control. Instead, he modeled doing the best we can by making consistent and informed effort, and being sincerely grateful for what we have. Even with his discipline and sense of responsibility, he seemed to have an ample inner pool of humor and light hearted-ness to keep him and those around him grounded.
A ray of sun broke through the clouds revealing the upper edges of the mountain. Even though my memory could direct me to where I was going, I felt a tangible relief to see the mountain. The peaceful, undulating ridge line gave me a solid sense that I was oriented in the right direction – toward the stillness of mountain. I hope you will join me.
- Prepare –
- Begin seated.
- Gently shrug your shoulders up and down and few times.
- Open your mouth wide and yawn, or try to yawn. Smile.
- Shake through your wrists. Open and squeeze your fingers.
- Begin seated.
- Practice –
- If comfortable, close your eyes. Otherwise, keep your eyes slightly open with a soft gaze.
- Allow your hands to rest comfortably in your lap.
- Bring to mind someone who has helped you in your life. This might be someone who genuinely wanted the very best for you.
- Allow yourself to wholeheartedly think of that person. If your mind wavers, gently bring your thoughts back to thinking about that person.
- Imagine every cell in your body is thinking of that person who truly loved and helped you.
- Take three to four smooth, even breaths.
- Then, silently utter “thank you” a few times from the depths of sincerity.
- Return to your day –
- Sit quietly for as long a you feel comfortable.
- Return to your day.
This poem appears on page 123 in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. The translation of the poem is by Sam Hamill. The practice was inspired by Mr. Roger’s Rule.
HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com. KateVogt©2018.