If you’ve never read Frank MacEowen’s “The Mist-Filled Path,” let me recommend you do so. It is very closely aligned with the ideas I’m raising in “A Wilderness Hike,” as well as some in “Getting Unstuck” and a lot of what I have to say about music and healing.
MacEowen speaks of the Celtic practice of hillwalking, a pursuit that “reminds us of who we are” in this world of the “Sleepwalkers,” unaware of their true nature, as if in exile. This process of discovery blends the worlds of physical and spirit, teaching us to walk in the “Mist,” to “walk between the worlds.”
For MacEowen, the landscape as mirror:
It is a splendid revealer of things not often seen with the eyes of everyday life. When walking out on the land, it is good to invite the “eyes of the seer” and the “eyes of the poet” to be present. These are eyes that see the true shape of things. Poets and seers see things differently. When we relax the literal thinking mind and enter a landscape with more fluid perceptions (a soft gaze), we soon find that we become changed. We are then able to connect with our primal, preliterate selves. This preliterate, or perhaps postliterate, state of consciousness opens us to the Great Mirror of Nature.
Similar to the procedure of Chi Gong and toning, MacEowen discusses “setting our root,” noting parallels to shamanism, to lnitiation, and to Vision Quests:
The Celtic tradition of divination and seership is rooted in an understanding that clarity of thought and vision can be found in nature. It is no accident, for instance, that so many Celtic seers, ancient and modern, have been shepherds, drovers, and crofters. These individuals are often out in the land hillwalking. Their souls are customarily deep in the consciousness required to receive vision, spiritual insight, and prophecy. This thread of the Celtic tradition understands well William Butler Yeats’ notion of ‘the condition of quiet that is the condition of visions.
Thus we have a “dying of an old way of seeing,” and a “rebirth of an even older way of seeing.” Similar to Buddhism (MacEowen makes a case for ancient Buddhism among the Celts), the desires of ego lead to suffering and separation. But the “longing of soul” is a path to peace, beauty, and the soul’s evolution. “Grow the soul green again,” suggests MacEowen, noting that to “attune” to our soul longing brings “at-one-ment.” And again, this is a melding of physical and spiritual:
The body is the sacred temple through which the shaman, mystic, or healer receives certain prompts and guidance. We all have access to this soulful bodily wisdom, but we must open ourselves to its richness and not cut ourselves off form our own earthiness. Our earthiness is holy. In the word of the Rhineland mystic Hildegard of Bingen, “Holy persons draw to themselves all the is earthy.”
And so we move to the rhythms of nature and life. We sing! We dance! After all, in Hindu traditions, there is an ancient phrase, Nada Brahma, meaning “the world is sound.” Energy. Vibration. Frequency. This is healing—and celebration. “It is healing for us to remember our sense of place with the holy shapes of life. When we make it a point to remember the holy shapes, we in turn remember our own divinity.”
MacEowen speaks of the Oran Mór, descripting it as the deep spring that fills the sacred well of the human soul, an ancient rhythm, an ancient melody that one hears in the wind, in the waterfall, in the beautiful strains of sound in Celtic music, song, and chanting. It is a healing song, an enlivening song heard in the giggles of a grandmother, the whispers of a lover, the questions of a child:
The Oran Mór remembered becomes a level of human consciousness that can help us accomplish great things. The macrocosmic dimension of this teaching is realized within the individual life as a microcosmic expression. As a Sufi mystic once said, “Music does not produce within the human heart that which was not already there.”
Thus MacEowen explains well what this “A Wilderness Hike” series found at the start—there is a healing energy in the wilderness, a sound, a vibration, a mirror that shows us truth amid the usual clamor of the mind. Through hillwalking, the Sleepwalkers can learn to walk between the worlds, becoming again who we always have been.
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October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”
You can read the series from the start via the links here:
Oct. 1: A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2: The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3: Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4: Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5: “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6: Mountain. Buddha. Impermanence.
Oct. 7: The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8: Finding the Keys
Oct. 9: “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10: Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11: We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12: Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13: Getting Unstuck: Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14: Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15: To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16: Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17: Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18: Do you want to be the boss? Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19: Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2: Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness