How do I distinguish fundamental beauty from fleeting, or superficial, beauty? What is True Beauty? What is the nature of illusion? What is the nature of dis-illusion? How do I get through illusion to Truth?
Reflection / Contemplation
I spent my day with illusion, dis-illusion, and Truth.
My family went on a hike and I agreed to go with them, although I whined at the “moderate” technical level which this hike is labeled. I get the effort part, and in most cases I am a trooper. But when the climb is steep and the trail is wet, wet, and there is a mix of slick big rocks, loose rocks, and tree roots on the path itself, I get a bit anxious. Well, a lot anxious, especially ¾ the way to the summit and I wonder how I will return to the parking lot in one piece.
I can handle the climbing part. It is the descent which scares me to pieces. I have very loose ankles and not the best of knees. The gravity of descent is dicey at best. Combine this with the potential for a jammed ankle on the step down, clipping a toe in a tree root, slipping on a wet rock, or twisting my ankle on a loose round rock. You get the picture.
It was ¾ on the way up that I was dab smack in illusion land. I was mad that I said yes to this venture. I was mad that my family picked out this moderate hike that challenged me inside and out. I wanted to stop right there and pout, which I did for a bit, and then continued the climb.
We were met at a small lake and spectacular views of a mountain with numerous waterfalls at the top of t. It was sunny. We had a nice lunch. I was able to sit for a bit and draw (something I haven’t done for a while). We were all pleasant with one another, and I forgave them for taking me on this adventure. With views like this, well, forgiveness comes easily. Cooperative weather helps too.
Then it was time to come down the hill. I will credit walking poles, good hiking boots, and a supportive family which gave me the courage to get down, especially trying to scale down a very large wet rocks with no footing for my feet; this, and intense concentration, of course with each step.
The dis-illusion piece came as a breakthrough in my thinking. Yes, I can get down this mountain safely, if I just take my time and utilize my poles and boots. I was successful at reaching the lot, with one minor hard landing on one ankle and a slight twist of the other one. My knees held up rather remarkably well. Whew!
For this brief piece of my day, I was able to break through the illusion that my body cannot handle challenge. But what I discovered was that in my decision to get to the Truth of my capabilities, it took concentration and effort, a lot of it. I know enough from these family hiking adventures that it is on the descent that you are more likely to get injured as gravity pulls our bodies forward: we are tired, and get distracted.
My experience today offered an insight to me about Truth. It requires vigilant attention to break through the distractions illusion directs us toward. Illusion is static and noisy, taking me/us places we do not need to go. Who knows what would have happened had I stayed in pouting mode. When dis-illusion hits, it is a good slap in the face. I got slapped today, for sure, and it was my only way down.
Guest Contributor Lita Artis
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Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
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