The same mountains looked ominous the day we departed for Denali National Park. Dressed in drab gray and white clouds looking solemn and sad, they seemed to be saying, “We’re not in the mood today.”
External circumstances often dictate our emotional barometer. If the weather is nice, we are more likely to be happy. Imperfect surroundings might negatively impact our mental disposition. But we can’t always control the outside world. The weather changes. Each person writes their own version of the script in our daily dramas. Despite cosmetic enhancements and athletic development, our bodies are not immune to aging and illness.
Is there a way to hold these two pictures of majestic and cloud covered mountains with equal fondness in our hearts? I’m not suggesting you celebrate when receiving tragic news or experiencing discomfort of any kind. It’s quite normal and healthy for a wide range of emotions to arise in response, such as anger, sadness, fear, guilt, blame, and sometimes even apathy.
For me, it helps to remember that the majestic mountains towering over Resurrection Valley are blanketed by snow most months the year. Some are even carved by glacial ice, waiting patiently to thaw and expose the full extent of their beauty in summer months and what they have learned from a harsh winter.
If you can surround any difficult experience with compassionate, gentle, patient, confident, and courageous awareness, it will transform in the alchemy of your heart. This doesn’t mean you will necessarily get your way. The tragedy might still proceed as planned. What changes is your relationship with it. The circumstance is no longer an intruder on your perfect life, but a wise teacher guiding you to freedom and unconditional love.
There is no timeline for this transformation. In my experience, it depends on how deep our screws for conditional wellbeing are grooved, how burdened we are by expected outcomes, how sincere our intentions are for meaningful healing to occur. You must know who and what you can rely on to cultivate this type of vast awareness capable of surrounding any experience with a kind and curious attention.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your search. Chances are if you are reading this post, there is a part of you wanting to hold the majestic and cloud covered mountains with equal fondness. One simple intention is enough to travel the path of peace.
May your surroundings invite you to hold all experiences with equal fondness, to transform them in the alchemy of your heart. May any intruder become a wise teacher. May the path of peace be a journey, not a destination.