“Mountain Heaven”

silhouette of mountain under white and yellow sky

It was a beautiful day outside. The birds were singing, the sun was shining brightly and a cool autumn breeze swept across the countryside. I was hiking with my dear friend Jamie back down forest service road 316, a gorgeous trail in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. We had walked about six miles and were 20 minutes from my car when the Divine fully presented itself. We had stopped to smoke a bit of herb and to reflect on our inspiring journey. To commemorate the moment, I expressed to Jamie that I wished to recite a few prayers that I had compiled over the past week. The collection included sacred Buddhist, Sioux Indian, Hindu, Sufi and Christian invocations to the Absolute. I opened my journal and began to read the first lines from the Buddhist-Loving Kindness selection:

 “May all beings be free from danger

  May all beings be free from mental suffering…”

At the exact moment that I recited these lines, a pack of wolves began howling in unison with the prayer. The tone of their soulful expressions was both haunting and awesome. The hairs on our necks stood at full attention. It felt as though the wolves were inside our souls playing their heart-stringed instruments. Because It was nearing sunset, I immediately placed my beloved companion, Abbie, on leash and finished reciting the Buddhist prayer. I then listened… mesmerized.  After a minute or two, the primal sounds of howling stopped. Jamie and I then glanced at one another in silent recognition of this divine moment. Chills went down our spines, as it became evident to us that the Infinite was speaking through the wolves. What were these loyal beings trying to convey? Oneness. Unity. Stillness. Sacred Earth Connection.  As we continued our walk back down to the car, the energy of the forest felt particularly heightened and pure. Soon, the glorious sun began to set over majestic blue mountains and I knew deep within that my home was heaven on earth.

Mindful Musings: Mar 25

“Everything is God”

empty concrete road covered surrounded by tall tress with sun rays

Here is a simple perspective to inject into our daily lives that can solve all of our division: everything is God. Everything that we can taste, smell, feel, see and hear is God. All our thoughts, emotions, desires and actions is God too. All the suffering, all the joy, all the good times and bad is also God. All the people, plants and animals that you encounter…. yup that is God too! Let this perspective of divine omnificence enter our consciousness and watch the world’s problems recede like waves in the infinite ocean. For armed with this mystical knowledge that everything is God how could anyone even entertain the crazy notion of hurting the earth or their fellow man?

Forrest Rivers is a writer and teacher who lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His new book, COVID-19 and Humanity’s Spiritual Awakening is now available on Amazon HERE.

Mindful Musings: Mar 10

“Interwoven”

By: Forrest Rivers

gold and red hindu deity figurine

The indescribable unity

Intricate beads of awareness

The bliss of an intertwined Cosmos

Brimming with the wisdom

Of all the sages

Throughout eternity

Stopping at nothing

To give us the gift

Of blessings on the path

To wholeness and peace…..

Like the Sun’s rays

Nourishing souls

An offering

It’s selfless essence

And guiding light

Opens hearts

To the pinnacle of truth

On this epic journey….

Bridging worlds

Between the form and formless

Beyond the mind

Beyond the thoughts

Of I AM

Stands Lord Ganesh

Removal of all obstacles

Shepherding us to that place

Where Brahman reigns supreme

Awaiting our coming

To this moment

When we remember

Who we were before we were born

In these bodies

To dance and rejoice

With the Beloved once again.

Mindful Musings: Mar 9

“Change you Wish to See”

By: Forrest Rivers

Ask not what your planet can do for you sign

The question isn’t what can I get for me

But what can I do for we

For the truth is so easy to see

That we are all one family….

You hold the key

To a whole new reality

So just wake up and be

The change you wish to see.

Mindful Musings: Mar 7

“A Wise Man Once Said”

By: Forrest Rivers

red and white pagoda temple surrounded by green trees during daytime

A very wise man once said:

“One who knows does not speak

And one who speaks does not know”

Clearly, I do not yet know

So hear me speak now as a fool….

“I am separate from the whole”

The wise man chuckles to himself

And scribbles this message to me on paper

So as not to break his vow of silence:

“You shall transcend the limits of your own mind

And be free when you see that you are just a part of it all.”

Mindful Musings: Feb 23

“The Network”

By: Forrest Rivers

person in white shirt sitting on rock near body of water during daytime

Like the connected roots of trees

Like the cells within our bodies

Like the cycle of the seasons

And like the movement of the Cosmos

We are part of a vast and mysterious network

Where all seeming parts

And polarities

Merge back into One again…..

Seen through an untrained mind

Water is only water

Flowing by without much notice

Seen through an awakening mind

Water is sacred water

Flowing with purpose from an unnamed source

But seen through the realized mind

Water is the essence

Of everything and nothing….

One without a second

No illusion of “I” and “them”

The whole cannot be made separate

From the fruits of nature that are born….

Presence and attention

Will take you far

And deep

To what is

This experience NOW.

Forrest Rivers is a writer and teacher who lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His new book, COVID-19 and Humanity’s Spiritual Awakening is now available on Amazon HERE

Mindful Musings: Feb 9

“Earth Viewed from Space”

By: Forrest Rivers

view of Earth and satellite

If only we could view the Earth from the perspective of an astronaut in outer space. Then, we might finally marvel in wonder at this vast blue sphere of awe that we inhabit. Among the first things to be noticed from space would be the miraculous interrelation of all Earth’s land masses and oceans.  We would profoundly see that both expressions of creation form a mosaic of incomprehensible unity and perfection. As we continued to stare off in admiration of our Divine Mother, indescribable waves of love and compassion would fill our souls with faith and understanding. We would instantly recognize that all the wars and greed; and all the famines and disease are products of the illusion of separation. We would then feel this burning love and compassion grow into a space of wisdom as vast as the Universe itself. We would come to know that all forms are projections of the One Universal mind.

Mindful Musings: Jan 23

“Interfaith”

By: Forrest Rivers

man wearing red headdress

“Interfaith”

Listen now as Krishna speaks

Through the wisdom of your third eye,

The Rastas’ focus is on “we”

But firmly rooted in I and I,

Native souls find God in Earth

The water and trees are our true guides,

Look to Christ when you are weak

 Jesus hears your inner cries,

The Buddha taught to look within

And be present all the time,

Mohammad spoke of eternal bliss

In the now and afterlife,

It is God’s pure knowledge which all faiths seek

Let us embrace this common tie—-

And work for peace. 

Mindful Musings: Jan 15

“Sub Ek”(All One)

By: Forrest Rivers

white petaled flower

The form and the formless

The senses emerging and then withdrawing again

The breath rising and falling

The Earth’s transcendence ends where it begins

No mind but inside and outside all emotions

The union of energy and matter undefined

Without an origin before the act and nameless when it sleeps

Beyond the range of all perceptions and limits

Pure creation

           

You are:

           

Pure creation

Beyond the range of all perceptions and limits

Without an origin before the act and nameless when it sleeps

The union of energy and matter undefined

No mind but inside and outside all emotions

The Earth’s transcendence ends where it begins

The breath rising and falling

The senses emerging and then withdrawing again

 The form and the formless.

Mindful Musings: Jan 9

“Last Night’s Dream”

By: Forrest Rivers

green grass field under cloudy sky during sunset

A sea of blue

But not an ocean

Ancient mountains

Ascending

To liberate we

From the illusion

Of separateness…..

Far below,

In the valley

I see:

What our minds

Cannot easily perceive:

The many merging into ONE….

Have I told you

Of last night’s dream?

One thousand seekers

Climbing the high peaks

To be:

What God sees

When IT turns

Within ITSELF.