Practicing yoga, teaching and living in Japan - assorted ramblings
13 Oct 2011
Moon mountain 月山 moon day
Somewhere I read a quote from Guru Krishnamurti:
"When one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature then temples, mosques and churches become important."
This area of Japan has three mountains which are sacred for the Shugendo, mountain ascetics, for whom englightenment is to attain oneness with spirit. Awakening is obtained through understanding the relationship between man and nature. The Shugendo focus on the developement of spiritual experience and power. Their training grounds are the mountains.
Thus inspired, off I trot to the holy mountains.
In Buddhist thinking asana are meditation.
Focus the mind.
Walking up a mountain, focus and connection with a strong energy of the mountain......or could just be the slightly thinner air and intense exertion making me feel a bit high.
Standing firm at 1984 metres Gassan is the highest mountain of the three holy mountains in this area in Japan. Symbolising death. I like to think of it as the Shiva mountain, destruction and death. It is the more difficult of the three to climb. Often cold and very windy at the top.
So walking up mountains. Pretty intense. Very much like yoga. I have been walking up the same mountain. It's been my extra practice these past few weeks. There are many mountains, but I stuck with the same one. It is an impressive mountain, and the walk is beautiful. First up gradually through a valley, with velvety green spine like ridges, then up on to the ridge, exposed, the back side, with a view of more mountain spines and valleys, then the ascent up the rocks to the blustery and usually cloudy peak. Finally reaching the stone steps to the shrine on the peak. Under the tori gate to the inner sanctum built in 593AD. There is a crescent moon carving in front of the alter, again recalling Shiva, who often has a crescent moon in his hair. It is the moon mountain. Today the bottom was a warm, mild sunny day, yet at the top it was gray, bleak and incredibly windy. Crouching down low so as not to be knocked off your feet.
I noticed how the weather effects my perception of the route up the mountain. How the rocks in bad weather look dark, hard, cold, slate gray, ominous, but how the same rocks in fine weather take on beautiful blue gray hues, look warm and solid, inviting one to hop and skip.
Made me ponder how our emotions are the weather of our mind. How the same bike ride to work can look so different. Once, on a low point, I remember how nothing was shining or looking beautiful, I saw nothing to photograph. Knowing full well it was my mind projecting this. The feeling of a slight, gray fog, a veil to life. Much better when mind is healthy, good weather days, surroundings shine no matter what the physical weather as long at the internal is fair. I read once that sun salutations bring sunlight to the soul, and indeed they do. When we have sunlight in the soul the outer weather patterns won't affect us so profoundly, our environment will always show us beauty.
Mind you, getting caught in the rain on the way to work still sucks.
Oh yeah, and practice has been ok. It's been there, between work and mountains, slow progress but feeling good. Practicing, practicing, practicing...