use this URL to see a 5:40 video paging through my new book, “Moved by a Mountain”:
A Mountain Can Have a Profound Effect on our Consciousness.
This excerpt from Moved by a Mountain:
Imagine that you have arrived in a mountainous area during a storm, when thick, dark, low clouds have been pressing down on the earth, preventing any view of the mountains. After a day or two, the rain stops and the clouds begin to thin and brighten. You begin to feel the invisible sun’s warmth on your face. A patch of blue sky is revealed here and there. Then, you turn your head, and are awestruck at the sight of an alpine crest, appearing through a hole in the clouds, far above. Its beauty has a theatrical quality, as when a curtain is lifted to reveal a carefully planned stage.
This can be one of the most powerful visions in the mountains. Perhaps in part because of the conflicting images: an immense mass of rock floating in the sky, defying the laws of Nature. The scene could evoke archetypes of, or deep mental associations with, the supernatural–deities or angels, or God. Maybe the intensity of the experience is partially due to the element of surprise: the shock of the unexpected perspective, and the sudden onset of awe.
No matter what the psychological mechanism, that awe is a signal to us, a communication from the Field of Consciousness, reminding us to see past our habitual thought processes, those rooted in a world-view of our own fabrication.
There is a traditional Zen statement that can be translated as, “Clouds leave, blue mountain appears.” Seeing the mountain is a metaphor for the experience of spiritual insight. Suddenly we realize that we have been living in the cloud of our own mental construct, our fantasy of reality, and our concept of self. The truth has been there all along, eternally, but we’ve been trapped behind a veil of mist, unable to see.
The mountains and the clouds conspire to express what it is we need to know; our need to know it is revealed by our immediate and profound response.
only 200 copies of the book are available for Christmas. they are pre-publication copies that are embossed, numbered and signed. get them for yourself and for gifts at
By Thomas Campbell
The photographs of mountain landscapes on these pages are not the casualties of ever increasing entropy (erosion), but rather the survivors of an inexorable process dictated by the second law of thermodynamics that moves all things physical toward higher states of entropy with the passage of time. Such mountains stand tall and proud, unyielding to the endless tortures of wind and rain, snow and ice, unmindful of the relentless freezing and thawing of the seasons. Contemptuous of the might of men, they remain unbowed, magnificent, and majestic for all to enjoy and appreciate. Though they are much older than humans, we are both the result of eons of evolution; enduring the abuse and enjoying the benefits of many millions of years of random destruction and creation to become what we are now, survivors on an evolutionary journey that is still unfolding. Though our paths are very different, the process is the same, and thus, there are lessons we can learn from the wisdom of the ancient mountains. As it becomes increasingly clear, we are all interconnected in fundamental ways which we are just beginning to understand – all joined as one living small blue planet.
The majestic landscapes depicted by Reed’s photographs remind us of our comparative smallness and insignificance. Simultaneously, we can identify with the persistence and enduring power exhibited by these wild monuments of nature. As Reed discovers in his account of living in the presence of The Throneroom, we can become mentally, emotionally and spiritually entangled with these mountains in a profound way, and the result will resonate with our core as a perfect meditation of being whole and complete in the moment. In that identification of oneness with the mountains, we can begin to realize that we are a part of what is real, and sacred, and grand in the big picture, as well as what is small, profane, and dysfunctional in the little picture–that we too are a piece of something beautiful; a work of natural art that is shaped in the little picture by cycles of birth, choice, and decay. Through observing the resistance of The Throneroom, Reed awakens to an awareness of the continual struggle against the tide of increasing entropy; that human beings are also in the process of forming something majestic that is bigger than ourselves. The hope of our species is that our boundless collective and individual potential will one day develop its own expression of beauty and perfection that will be no less a majestic part of this world’s landscape than the mountains in these photographs.
From our perspective, these wild and dangerous places are metaphors for the invincible, powerful, adaptable, and immortal – all things that we, as puny physical beings, are not. Yet, surprisingly, they are good metaphors for “we the people” who collectively animate the form of an evolving humanity that has few limits placed on what it might become. Moved by a Mountain reminds us that we, like the mountains, face the challenge to persist and endure until we become a thing of peace and beauty. Love is our destination, and the mountains show us our path and urge us on to be all that we have the potential to become.
As we look at these dramatic photographs of The Throneroom, we get a momentary taste of our immortality as conscious beings…a challenge to evolve and become, to persist and grow, as both individuals and members of a race with nearly unlimited potential. Gazing at these photographs, we can sense the awesome power of natural existence, the challenge and uncertainty of a dangerous environment, and the immortality granted by evolution that subsumes the individual. This state allows us a healing and helpful glimpse of a bigger picture that puts our individuality in perspective as a part of something larger, more lasting, and more significant. Thus the mountains speak truth to us. If we listen, we can resonate with their message at the core of our being. They inspire us, and in doing so become beautiful in ways we deeply understand but cannot express at the more shallow intellectual level of facts and models of human behavior.
These wild places and high peaks put us in touch with our own power and purpose; we see our own potential in their images and find healing and peace in their encouragement to join with Gaia and all of her creations to become all that we can be, a necessary step toward actualizing the potential of the whole. They nudge us onward to find our destiny as they have found theirs; our destiny, an expression of natural love, encouraged and focused by their destiny, an expression of natural beauty. Only together can we succeed for, in truth, we are but one.
This is the piece i created in a 20 minute writing program in Homer, Alaska, on the subject of “community”. the session was initiated with the prompt about a Upik native who had a fish and his neighbor had none. the project is called “one city, one prompt” and you can check it out at:
“I got a fish.”
“Shit. I didn’t get any.”
“Lets build a fire and cook it.”
They gathered driftwood and built a fire, and when there were coals, he laid the salmon there and covered it with seaweed.
The salmon came every summer. They came to spawn in the rivers and streams. They came to die in the forest. They came to be eaten, and when they were eaten, those who ate, shit, and their shit nourished the land, and the forest grew from that nourishment.
The flesh of salmon came every year, like a wave of nutrients from the sea, penetrating the land by the arteries of fresh water that drained it of snowmelt. Everyone depended on it. It was the way it was. The bears, the eagles, the seals, and the humans all relied on the annual flood of flesh.
And when it came, it was not yours or mine, but for all, a bounty of providence from the sea for all life on the land. And didn’t the snow come from the sea too? The snow that the salmon used to make their way inland?
The seaweed held in the moisture, steaming the fish from above while it roasted from below. They ate, together, and gazed across the bay, watching the tide rip by. The tide that flooded and drained the bay twice a day, taking nutrients from the land to the sea to feed the fish and the crabs and the mussels.
As they ate, it was clear that all is as it should be, that they fit into this dynamic–were a part of this exchange between land and sea.
And the joy they experienced from the taste of the moist fish–a flavor better than any other fish–and from the heat of the fish in their belly after a long day in a penetrating wind, and from the sharing of the bounty–that joy seemed to be part of the dynamic too.
It all seemed to be screaming some kind of Hallelujah, as if this was all one big divine party.
The gravel of the beach was surrounded by spruce reaching for the sky, fed by the shit of bear, fed by the salmon that were fed by the small fish that fed on others that lived off the nutrients of the land that flowed down with the snowmelt that came from the sea. Sitting there with their butts on the gravel, they looked into each others eyes and giggled at the beauty of it all.