A "Peak" Experience: Celebrate International Mountain Day
By Jack Cuffari
December 11 is “International Mountain Day.” This commemorative day was enacted by the United Nations in 2003, in an effort to create awareness about the importance of mountains and promote sustainable development in mountainous regions around the world.
Mountains carry profound symbolism, tapping directly into powerful archetypes and inferring a higher, supernatural power. This is appreciated in many faith traditions and cultures: We speak of gurus on mountain tops; Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed all retreated to mountain tops during their lives; Buddhist temples are often located high up near mountain tops; the list goes on. On top of a mountain we have a wide, unrestricted view, a view borne from an expanded consciousness. By actually climbing a mountain one learns about accomplishment, accessing a place that very few individuals ever do.
So this week, find a local mountain (or hill, hiking trail, favorite walking path, or any other place you can take a walk while reflecting) and challenge yourself to “climb” it. Before you begin, say a few words to honor the mountain and/or your path. Consciously open your heart and quiet your mind so that your journey helps you connect with higher consciousness. Remember that you are connected to that mountain on so many levels.
During the journey, stop to breathe in nature’s beauty and to meditate on gratitude for being part of this scene. Say to yourself “I’m moving up; my perspective is expanding!” If you are fortunate enough to have an actual nearby mountain to climb, stop at the peak, look and see how far the view stretches, and consciously realize that the mountain serves that entire area by its presence. Be aware of what a timeless treasure the mountain is. Look up! The sky symbolizes that which transcends human limitation. Take turns facing all four directions, being mindful of all your blessings in every aspect of your life, even your struggles.
Say a personal farewell to the mountain’s peak, and as you descend, occasionally stop and intentionally look around at the life of the mountain. And once at the bottom, stand and look up at where you have been. Acknowledge that you have deliberately climbed to a plane of higher consciousness and awareness, connected with nature, and opened yourself more deeply.
About the author: Jack Cuffari is a branding and marketing strategist who uses Jungian thought as the foundation of his business practice. Although his path is focused upon the mystic traditions of the Abrahamic faiths, as a non-denominational minister and spiritual counselor he ministers to people from every path. A certified Celebrant, Jack will be ordained as an interspiritual minister in May of 2012. He is active in his Quaker community in the areas of conflict transformation and compassionate listening, and serves as vice president of the Montclair, NJ Clergy Association. [email protected]