Easy to Be a Holy Man on the Mountain

Keith Cleversley Celebrating the World

I could feel each pore pop like microscopic air bubbles breaking the surface as I eased into the ancient mineral spring used by the Arapahoe Indians. I am inside the womb of Mother Earth, in a hot spring cave on the side of the Rocky Mountains somewhere in Colorado. This place truly feels magical, as Mother Nature’s warmth gently wraps itself around me, seeps into me, and sings in quiet, pulsating tones.

The ceiling above me collects the moisture from the air, gathering into droplets, and releases it with rhythmic precision. My frame surrenders and fades into waves of rippling water and heat, swaying in delicate embrace of this place of remembering. Leave it to the white man to take this land from the Arapahoe, and then nail up some wood planks in the shape of a carnival booth on the side of this mountain, to sell tickets for those who desired entry into this sacred place.

Around my neck is one of the few personal possessions I own that holds meaning to me; it’s a necklace made by a Himalayan Shaman, crafted of silver that she personally mined from her mountain home. She, like the Arapahoe, was forced out of her home, to make way for a mining company that heard there was silver in the mountains, just as had happened here in Colorado. It reminds me that so many of the cultures that I think had it ‘right’, have been conquered, ousted, suppressed, or just plain destroyed.

And it never ceases to amaze me; experiences like this so often seem so out of reach. Yet, a few minutes in these waters and I again remember who I was before I entered this human frame. The world quietly creeps off, the future falls away, and I am left with only this perfect moment. Soon, even my body starts to lose its tether, and as the mitragynine lilts through my body, the symphony of sounds, sensations, and thoughts carry me off.

This disconnect is what seems to breed such anger and discontent in the world around me. It only takes a few minutes of being with the elements; the very things that allow us to exist at all, to catapult me back to my senses. So much often seems so important, even as I move through the world as awake as I believe myself to be. But the meaning of the statement; ‘It’s easy to be a holy man on the top of a mountain’ rings deeply inside of me in the places and these moments, where it’s easy to feel awake, alive, and connected.

One of my favorite films; ‘My Dinner With Andre’ ponders the question about whether it was necessary to seek out exotic experiences in exotic places such as this to find complete joy and connection in our lives, or if we could find it reading the morning paper while drinking our coffee, looking across the table at a loved one.

And this is root of my own growing discontent: I constantly debate myself about whether or not true joy counts if I seek it in the places where it’s easy to find.

In reality, I don’t know if I feel like being (that metaphorical) holy man who lives amongst the people. Why is that any more valid of a way to live ones life than to choose to seek out as many deeply meaningful and enjoyable experiences as possible in the ways and places I know I can find them? I adore the general aesthetic of Buddhism, but I don’t agree that these frames and these lives are for suffering. To me, these frames are gifts from the Universe; an expression of the energy of the Universe in its purest and highest expression.

I revel in my body. I treat it like the temple it is and do my best to honor the frame that brings me so much joy. Hell, if I were some formless entity of higher consciousness; a “god” let’s say, one who created life as we know it, but is unable to exist in this carbon-based frame I exist in, what would be a greater gift to this Divine consciousness than to fully experience and appreciate these glorious bags of bones and water and blood? I want to do nothing less than to soak in as much as I am able to while I am able to, but part of me feels that since I know joy, maybe I should find a way to help others find their joy.

Until then, I keep my beacon lit unflinchingly, seeking out others who feel as I do about their lives and the world around them, shining as brightly as I can, looking at the world wide-eyed and ready for whatever it or the Universe might bring me, flying in the skies, diving in the oceans, and loving the woman who means more to me than life itself.

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1 Comment

  • Manny Stiles
    August 16, 2008 at 2:02 am 

    Your duty is only to experience your journey the best you can. It’s not your job to live other’s lives (a.k.a climb their mountains for them) and not your job to deal with/handle/accept other’s interpretations of your journey but merely to live your life knowing others are watching! If you climb the mountain and find it easy (the hardest part is acknowledging the mountain is there), it’s only because you’re making it easier for others to follow your lead.

    Climb because you can! And because it’s there! Stand on the top and shout Halelujah! Scream at the top of your lungs – even if it is only inside you!

    It’s easy to be the Holy Man on the Mountain, but unfortunately you will never attain the same Holiness the Mountain keeps within itself. That’s the beauty of it!

    Those who seek your “shine” are only more willing to see your light than their own; fear, consequence, circumstance – these are not your matters but…

    Please KEEP WRITING! This is some good shit you got going on here! Know that it feels just as good to let the “shine” out as it does for others to seek that same glow.

    Peace and good tidings, –Manny

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