Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mount Shasta: Be Still and Know

Mount Shasta:  Be Still and Know

I first heard the famous verse from Psalms “Be still and know that I am God” when I was in my early 20’s.  As soon as I heard these words, I knew that they held a huge key.

At the time, I was doing lots of meditation, so I had some practice at sitting still.  But, I had no clue how to still my mind.  Stopping the endless barrage of thoughts seemed impossible.

I figured that it would take something drastic to learn to be still, so I decided to go into the jungle (I was on Kauai at the time), fast for a week, and focus on those magic words as much as I could
I gave it my best shot, but my mind never stopped.  

 When I came out after the week (I still remember that first dinner at an Italian restaurant), I didn’t feel the least bit transformed.  I was still living in the craziness of my mind, longing for a respite.

Many years later, I heard Adyashanti, a very wise American teacher, say something along the lines of “Don’t try to be still.  Just notice the stillness that is always already present.”

That really helped a lot.  I had such a strong habit of achieving things by efforting that I’d figured stilling my mind was one more thing to accomplish by trying my hardest and not giving up.  That approach didn’t work at all.

The idea that the stillness I craved for was already present was very comforting.  Gradually, I began to let go of my trying habit and relax enough to taste that stillness.

I discovered that in certain environments, it was easier to notice that always present stillness.  When I lived in Southern CA, I spent lots of time by the ocean and in the Anza Borrego Desert.

Over the years, by far the best place I’ve discovered, for finding true peace is Mount Shasta.  This mountain amplifies the silent stillness in a uniquely powerful way.  Just looking at the mountain now through my office window, my mind slows down. 

The amplification gets much stronger when I go up on the mountain.  There are certain spots, such as Ascension Rock, which I mentioned in my last blog, where it’s so easy to drop into the silent stillness, it’s feels almost like cheating. ;-)

I feel incredibly grateful that my desire to experience the truth of  “Be still and know that I AM God” has led me to Mount Shasta.  

Yes, my mind is still pretty active, but I don’t struggle to stop it like I used to.  The mountain’s reflection and amplification have helped me to know who I AM.  When I venture away from Mount Shasta, that sense of stillness is much easier to access than it used to be.

Andrew Oser has been offering spiritual life coaching, along with guided retreats on Mount Shasta since 1982.   Through hikes to little-known sacred sites, guided meditations, spiritual life coaching, and time drinking in the silence of the mountain, he helps clients to deeply renew themselves in body, mind, and spirit and receive clear vision for their lives.

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