We often try to displace obstacles in our lives in an immediate and absolute way, convinced that their irrefutable presence is somehow disempowering us. They are larger than life, an intimidating force commanding our attention with their stand over tactics and unbending fortitude, demanding our subjugation.
Obstacles can be seen in a symbolic way, mountains that tower over us like mystical gods looking down on our fragile humanity. Mountains are symbols of stature and strength calling us to climb and rise above our immediate situation to find a breath of fresh air that can re-stimulate our respiratory health and relieve our societal suffocation. These pinnacles are a sacred reminder that the terrain of life is arduous and rugged, a terra firma phoenix that has risen from the earth like a holy calling to lure us beyond the current surroundings.
The Psalmist said, ‘I lift my eyes up to the mountains where does my help come from'
The mystics saw mountains as a symbol of constancy, resolute strength, stillness and heavenly summons, a challenge to courageous vocation, a reference point for the adventure that life would offer. They entice us to higher ground, greater perspective, and the clarity of an elevated atmosphere where life takes on greater coherence and meaning, a separation from the noise of our immediate surroundings, long enough to hear the sound of silence echoing and rejuvenating our soul.
“Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and do not doubt in your heart but believe that what you say will happen, it will be done for you. - Gospel of Mark
When Jesus spoke metaphorically about speaking to our mountains he was asking us to approach the daunting task of larger-than-life situations with a confidence in our ability to see it in new ways. Moving the mountain was more about how we move towards the things that we are facing in life than how they move from us. The sea, as Jules Verne says is an embodiment of supernatural and wonderful existence, a leveller of the playing field, bringing everything into submission to the primordial powers of its deity. The Greeks knew the power of the sea and assigned it a divine protectorate, ‘Poseidon' the God who awaits our alpine challenges with eager anticipation.
Maybe this ‘Haiku’ (traditional form of Japanese poetry) is a great way to find a new slant on how we face our obstacles, one day at at time?
Don’t ask the mountain to move, just take a pebble each time you visit.
Impediments are a natural part of the existential landscape, like great teachers they help us to navigate through life with delicate precision and determined resolve... be patient with yourself.