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In this scenic video, Daniel describes his hike on Rigden Trail.

In the precious opportunity that is living in this place, on this vast great land, the walls between us are imaginary, and solid. What is happening in us, how we feel about who we are, doesn’t know architecture, or time. Feeling the earth beneath our feet, and sky above, we breathe — consume earth and exchange it for heaven. We intuitively and experientially join heaven and earth, connecting to the essence of being human, finding balance and comfort in the natural world.

KCL Resident Daniel Herbert stops at the Grates during a Rigden Trail hike. Image by Carrie-Anne Palmeri.

Some understand, and others ask more questions about why someone would choose to spend 2 ½ hours outside, hiking in the snow; or, hours upon hours, week after week, out on roads or bicycle paths asking the muscles in my body to help me achieve a goal to be faster, stronger, run farther, be better than I was the day before. What my training has taught me, and what I experience out on the trails, is that my storyline becomes less and less important. Time and narrative become a foreign language out in the woods. The snow, trees, rocks, sky, and earth don’t ask questions. I walk upon and move through them. They don’t need to go anywhere, be anywhere else. They are as they are, themselves, and part of the whole that is a forest, mountain, river, planet. As we are already, family for all we meet.

So, I ask myself the question. “Who am I?” “Why do I persist?” I hear a voice answer with another question. “Is that a question about past or future?” In the peaceful quiet of stillness I hear another voice, whispers on the wind: “Breathe, just breathe.” “You are more phenomenal, and less formal; stronger than you know. “I’ve got you, says my heart. All ways, always.”

Daniel: Silence on the Trail.

Just as we commonly see this beautiful land in pieces and identified with names and numbers, there is no separation. We are the same. Being outside keeps me connected. When I see unimaginable tranquility, I stop walking and rest, appreciating how fortunate this situation is, and how precious we are to each other. The land witnesses, and agrees. I offer a Supplication to the Mother Lineage, and continue on my way.

As you watch the panoramic video of my lunch stop, you might be able to hear my feet moving the snow, but I had to make that noise happen. There just are no other sounds. I hear the quiet voice of the land as I feel my own heartbeat. Earth and heart are the same, the letters are just arranged differently. It is so simple, and much easier to connect with what is our true nature, in nature. If you add a “b” to earth, it becomes breath. And with each breath, we realize we are truly more connected to nature and to each other.

I am looking out from the window in my room now, onto the mountain, minutes away from our household morning meditation practice. New hope, and a new future is dawning for me here. I look forward to hearing more stories from the land as I continue to change, and live a sustainable life wherever I am, synchronized with the seasons, our world, and others instead of holding on to identities and reality as being solid and fixed.

Thank you for taking the time to engage your perceptions, and my love and passion for nature.

From Karmê Chöling, the cradle of loving kindness that has held so many in its care; with gentleness, joy, and cheerful equanimity, Namaste.


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