My Experience with Mountains

Mountains as a Hallowed Plane

            Mountains have a special way of luring the imagination into an almost transcendent plane of being. Their beauty and scale speak to us on a base, primordial level. Mountains stand ethereal and hallowed in our meager presence, enticing our gaze and our minds upward towards a higher world of grace, power, and magnitude.

Mountains conjure up such pronounced feelings of awe and wonder within me. Being in the presence of mountains is a spiritual experience for me. It’s like sensing the towering stature of some olden god, the winds from which utter timeless words of wisdom to the fleeting, short span of a venturing life. We are ants amongst giants. Mortals amongst gods. The rolling green hills and the piercing, jagged snowy peaks speak of a time far beyond our humanity, far beyond the meager comprehension of our world. And we must listen, and be humbled.

Mountains have the illusion of being static, fixed points of timeless wonder. They however are part of a chaotic process of movement and flux like everything else. Mountains are not static but are very much alive and churning. Yet even since the dawn of our humanity, they have appeared fixed and noble. Their movement cannot be perceived by the human mind in our brief lifetimes, not in a hundred lifetimes. Their changing shape and stature influenced by glaciers, winds, rivers, and tectonic plates are not perceivable to us. They exist on a timescale far beyond us, like shifting giants from another dimension of time entirely. Deep time.

Mountains are a reminder of our mortality, the fleeting nature of our tiny human form. To us they are a steady, permanent, unwavering backdrop, like vertebras of the earth, from which all of our activities, movements, and change can contrast. They are the canvas to our paint. They are like grounding entities that remain uninterrupted by the chaos of our worlds. From generation to generation, culture to culture, from our accomplishments and devastations and back again, they stand and watch. Unfaltering. Enduring. Steadfast.

We always seem to gravitate towards a fixed point in our lives, like a stationary center around which our lives can revolve. We seek gods and source energy and parents and authority figures and heroes. We cling to the immaculate anchor, something seemingly grand and motionless to contrast the scuffling of our tiny feet in an altering and uncertain world.

Mountains are the sensory equivalent to this practice. Is it any wonder that mountains are associated with so many religions and spiritual practices? They are the keeper of the gods, the gateway between realms. They are our masters. They contain the secrets of time. They are untamable, unbroken and undisturbed by our modern encroachment. They are the wildlands in our hearts come manifest. We would do well to listen to them, to let their ancient energy flow through us. Be still. Let their magnificence shake you to your knees in grateful humility. Let the light and shadow from their intricate contours bewilder you into a state of peace and serenity. Let the immensity of their heavenly position beckon you to action as this temporary vessel of energy, this insignificant and magnificent human being.

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