At a recent mindfulness retreat I was guided through a mountain pose meditation. I thought of Haleakalā, with her long, gradual slopes encompassing most of the island of Maui. I thought of how she is always there with a universe of beings on her. Her movement is imperceptible. She is massive and steady. She allows whatever is, to be. Sometimes all around her is very clear, and taking in the totality of her expanse, her immenseness is just awe-inspiring. Sometimes the clouds are covering her so that it’s easy to forget she’s there. But even when the clouds are so socked in that her peaks are not seen, as one travels up her slopes, gradually moving higher and higher to where the air thins and the ears pop, still there’s more of her way beyond. On the road in the clouds with dropping temperature and rain, there’s a slight, barely perceptible lightness that shifts. Then a small glimpse of blue. Then suddenly the sunshine appears again, so intensely bright. A completely clear sky of the deepest blue and a brilliant sun that seems close enough to touch. Her peak is almost always clear with a vista high above the clouds. Able to look down and see the fog and the rain way below. But looking out ahead to clearness, clarity, infinity. The awareness of being a part of a larger whole. Of belonging. An awareness of the steadiness of the Earth and our universe, regardless of the disturbances below. I strive to be like Haleakalā. Steady, consistent, stable, with clarity and a deep knowing beyond the moments of disturbance. Sometimes I forget the peak is there when I’m so tuned into the clouds and the storms. In those moments it’s hard to remember the peak and there’s fear that it’s not there anymore. But it’s there. It’s always there. It’s always there for us all.
Counseling can be a pathway to discovering or remembering the peak, though the journey can be scary at times, frustrating, sometimes even overwhelming. But one day the light begins to shift, and the small glimpse of blue begins to peek through. Then suddenly the sun shines bright again. From this vantage point, high above the turmoil below, there’s a deep knowing and understanding that puts things into perspective and shifts the view moving forward. Even after descending from the peak, there’s a vision of it that always remains. A knowing that it is always there.