Many years ago, in the dry red desert of the Four Corners region,
while driving out of camp from a vision quest coming to its end, a herd of domestic horses galloped across the dirt road and we stopped to let them cross. So open and clear from the work we'd been doing, I was truly and deeply moved by their beauty. Then a mile further down the road, we stopped again for another herd of horses, but these horses were different. These were wild horses. Their gate and their energy was just so much more vibrant and alive. They were free, and every sense about them was turned on and tuned in to the network of the wilderness. They made no assumptions about what was coming next. Even their manes seemed to billow in the wind with more freedom as they ran together.
The gift of these two contrasting experiences forever reminds me to not be lured into an overly routine life. To never ask spirit to bow down in obedience, and to never build a fortress of self-discipline so rigid that spirit cannot enter or leave. But rather, to create the most open field within which it can live and move and guide. And to be willing, when necessary, to give up the comfort of the safe and familiar, in order to answer the vibrant call of spirit.
One of the great values of mindfulness practices is to remove the obstacles to spirit. Not to tame spirit. But to remove the fears, complexes, and illusions that obstruct its free and wild flow.
When things are too tidy, spirit can’t enter. When things are too predictable, our senses weaken and we lose the scent of spirit.
Spirit is a force that longs to initiate us into a bigger life, a greater view. It's a guiding force not only for the individual, but for the collective too. We would all benefit from the doors you might keep open for spirit to appear. To animate you, and to disrupt anything that's become lifeless.
If you’ve lost touch with spirit, if your modern life has you feeling isolated and robotic, turn to the wilderness and to otherness where your senses will reawaken. Turn to environments and landscapes that aren’t the usual. Different skies, different life forms, different ways of being in the world. You will always find spirit in the wild spaces where it's free to move. Including your dreams, which -- free from the constraints of the rational mind and the identities we impose upon ourselves -- are alive and well in the great wilderness of the psyche. These wildernesses will show you the way back to wonder. You'll remember who you really are, and the great mystery you belong to. Because despite the illusion of our manmade lives, this world is nothing less than a miracle, and nothing short of magical. Somewhere you know this. May you always remember.