Enlightenment goes on forever. There is always more to explore in the endless play of consciousness. During my second trip to Arches National Park, this became even more evident.
Three years ago on my first visit to this special place of power, Enlightenment awakened and I was reborn as Isis. The energy of the Mother flowed through me and I dissolved, and along with it all doubt and any need for validation. The infinite Happiness and Peace I had chased for most of my life became a permanent state of being. Even when annoyed with the trials and tribulations of daily living, unreasonable joy permeates through my mind as if teasing my ego, constantly revealing the truth of non-dual Reality.
On this year’s retreat, a group of fellow students on the Path met me in Utah. Opposition greeted each of us on our journey; however we all made it to the little town of Moab by sunset. Over the course of the weekend, we explored Arches, discovering places I had not found on my first visit. Even now there are many more areas to visit; like Enlightenment, there is always more in Arches!
On our first walk to Broken Arch, dozens of blooming prickly pear cacti greeted us with yellow and purple flowers. At the Arch, we sat on a shaded flat area as the wind began the first of many sand-blasting
purifications. The stress of the opposition we faced in our travels disappeared, leaving only shining joy. The world, with all of its worries and plans and schemes fell away from each of us. The energy of the Mother supported us, hugging and cradling us in her arms, fully accepting all aspects of our being.
That night, we visited what I call the Temple of the Eye. Steps lead up to a massive Arch overlooking the valley and facing another Arch, which appears like a portal with a river of pure creation pouring forth from its opening. As we began our walk up, I asked if the others were ready to see God. We meditated well past midnight as the clouds played with the moon and stars. At one point, the clouds parted, leaving a hole the same shape as the Arch we sat under. Stars twinkled through this sky eye like tiny pupils reacting to light.
As I focused on each chakra, I observed the movement from unity to individuality and back to unity. When I had trouble observing the third eye, I realized the eye cannot see itself. The earth, moon, and stars were my body and the wind my breath. Without a mirror, I could not see Myself, so I moved on to the crown. Waves of emotion pulsated through me, bringing tears of joy to my eyes as I felt all of this as me; I was being reborn thousands of times in an instant.
At some point during all of this, God appeared in the form of four women who were laughing and giggling at first, but grew quiet as they approached. Startled yet relieved, one of them spoke with me about how they were feeling some fear about being there alone in the dark. I told them we were meditating and enjoying the wind. One of them apologized for disturbing the peace and I laughed, saying “not at all.” We were one, and I loved the play of creation standing before me. Some in our party were a bit cranky about being disturbed, especially when the women started taking selfies around the one student who most wanted them to leave. Soon they went on their way and we returned to the silence within the roaring of the wind.
This new level of connection to this powerful place continued to grow within me the next day. We returned to the temple area, but this time we went to the portal arch. I sat outside, waiting for an invitation to enter this most holy space. When the time was right, I climbed up the rocks and passed through into another world. At the top, the most beautiful puddle I have ever seen greeted me like a precious gift from God. A tourist walked by, so rather than let the emotion overpower me, I stifled a sob. I laughed at this new awareness of the exquisite beauty of this world that pulled such uncharacteristic sappiness from me.
Although I had visited this place three years before, it was completely different than I or my companion at the time remembered. Before, there had been only a large boulder with steep drop-offs on all sides. Now there was a path leading down to the valley and a stone bridge crossing to the huge formation marking the other side of the valley.
Despite a latent fear of heights, I was drawn to cross the narrow bridge. As I sat in meditation on the other side, I merged into the womb of the Mother. Energy flowed into my heart – everything: the light, the dark, the fear, the anguish and sorrow, and the joy of everyone and everything streamed into my chest. The energy passed through the channels and gathered at my second chakra, building and building until it connected with the kundalini in the first chakra and burst. It flowed up the central channel and exploded out my third eye as the river of creation I had seen the night before. At the same time, energy poured out the crown like a fountain, returning the energy to my heart keeping the cycle going. Ecstasy beyond bliss fails to express what it felt like to be that cycle of creation and destruction. The feeling remains with me even now as I write these words.
Later that day, we moved over to the Cathedral; a complex of Double Arches which creates the sense of being in an ancient church. We climbed over the rocks, as some of our party scaled a wall to perch inside a smaller Arch. Children scampered around, delighting us with their ability to pick the lines of travel up and down the rock walls without hesitation. As the sun set, we sat like Buddhas inside a mandala, each on our own private throne in the Cathedral, while the remaining tourists took pictures. With the descent of darkness, we meditated and waited for the moon.
Sliver light appeared behind a large rock formation that reminded me of a giant Ganesh. The clouds parted just behind his right ear as the moon began to shine. The wisps of cloud remaining took on ethereal shapes: a phoenix, a baby dinosaur, then a huge wolf with piercing eyes surveying us. The moon and clouds danced, revealing a peek of the silver orb, then hiding her in the shadows. She revealed her full light as we readied to leave, as a parting gift, before dark storm clouds swallowed her whole.
Following the path back to the cars, we walked in complete darkness with just flashlights to guide us. Only a few feet of the path could be seen in front of me, reminding me of how life is like that: we don’t usually get to see very far from where we are; all we are given is a light to show us where to step next.
At the retreat house we took a moment to express one thing we were thankful for during the trip. To my surprise, the student who had objected to the selfie-taking women said he was grateful for their presence. The experienced allowed him to shave off a bit more of the bondage to the ego, letting him be more at ease with things that disturb his peace. This change provided an excellent example of the sense of friendliness and openness I hoped we would all bring back to the world. Each of the students grew a little deeper into Light over our short four day trip. I feel enormous gratitude to have been honored to be with these remarkable students of Light and share this beloved space.
While I have left Arches, Arches has not left me. The wind is my breath; the earth, moon, and stars are my body. As the play of consciousness continues, there is always more to explore. And for my next adventure, there’s a body to rest after all the over-exertion, dishes to wash and laundry to fold.
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