One sunny, but cool, afternoon I decided it would be good for me to combine meditation and shamanic journeying with an actual walk through the woods. I live near Yellow Creek Park, which winds through the community in which I live, so that’s where I chose to go. I wasn’t quite sure where my internal journey would take me.

Once I got to the parking area, I plugged in my ear pods and began listening to shamanic drumming tracks that I often use when I journey. I was mentally and emotionally open to whatever my journey had to offer; so I started down the dirt path with eyes and heart open.

As you descend the beginning of the trail, there is a small bridge on the left with the creek cutting through the valley. I stepped off the trail and went down to the water’s edge. “Ah!” I thought. “Today Water will be my teacher.”

I stood there for a while taking in the beauty and serenity of the place. I watched the water flow – sometimes over rocks, sometimes around them, sometimes pooling at the edges, sometimes flowing back on itself as it crested over the rocks. This was the first of three stops in my journey.

I took the snowflake obsidian and moonstone Mala beads from around my neck and began one of my three primary mantras: Om Mani Padme Hum … the Compassion Mantra taught to me by Master Dhonyo from Tibet. I worked through 108 repetitions of the mantra while immersing myself in the environment and inviting it to be my teacher.

Observations and Realizations, Stop I:

  • I was observing water that I would, most likely, never see again.
  • While there were slight variations, the water was flowing together on a common course.
  • The water was contained by its environment and its course influenced by that environment.
  • Although the environment was more solid than the water, this did not mean that the water didn’t impact its environment. While soft and fluid, the flow of the water – ever so softly and over time – water can make its mark on its container. It can soften hard edges. It can erode and reshape. It can create beauty.
  • Strength is found in water’s gentle persistence.

Sensing that I had received what I needed at this first stop, I made my way back up to the trail. Just a few feet along the trail I noticed a beautiful white feather laying right in the middle of my path. My heart filled with joy with the gift! I carried the feather with me through the remainder of my journey and it will soon make its way to my personal altar.

Having walked a distance, I felt the pull to the creek again. When I approached the water’s edge, I found a small, rustic wooden bench. I decided that this time of meditation would be a sitting meditation. I was sitting along the same creek, but the environment was quite a bit different. We were deeper into the forest. The hillsides were taller and the flow of the creek was gentle.

The sun was just about to set between the trees and was slowly inching its way down to the edge of the hills. What was left of direct sunlight shown upon the waters. I felt the perfect mantra would be the Healing Mantra: Om Shree Dhanvantre Namaha. As is my custom, I used my Mala beads and recited this mantra 108 times.

As I did, I noticed the sun sparkling on the little currents of the water. Sometimes it was just a few sparkles dancing, then they would join together in sparkling waves. I experienced so much joy in this natural light show … my heart was full!

Observations and Realizations, Stop II:

  • We are all the Light of the World! We sparkle and dance and shine in our own unique manner. Sometimes our shine is brilliant and almost blinding. Sometimes it can barely be seen, but it is beautiful nonetheless.
  • Sometimes the Current draws us together and we display a stunning wave of dancing light. We dance together for a while, then the current moves us on.
  • I was the only person in creation to witness this beautiful Dance of Light(s) … and I was thankful!
  • Oh, how much must the Soul of the Creator be filled with joy as S/He observes and experience the beauty of Creation … often sights that no one or no thing could see except the Creator’s Self.

The sun had set as I continued further along my journey. It was a little cooler in this early evening and I found myself in an area that direct sunlight does not often shine. Deeper into the woods I noticed that there we still a few ‘ice-falls,’ as I refer to them. These are areas in the cliff where natural seepage of water flows out of the hillside. In the Winter these form beautiful ‘ice-falls.’

As I stood there and pondered these vestiges of a harsh Winter, my thoughts went to the molecules of Water who were trapped in the remaining ice. They were stuck. Frozen. Temporarily cutoff from the flow of the remainder of Water.

I smiled as I thought of Ganesh: the Obstacle-Removing, Broken-Tusked Elephant! As I engaged in the Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha Mantra – dedicated to Ganesh – I saw him happily jumping around the small glade near the water’s edge. Normally, when engaging with Ganesh, I see him joyfully stomping through any obstacle … kind of like a spiritual bull in a China Shoppe.

This time, I realized that Ganesh must be much more gentle and delicate in his maneuvers; elsewise, those trapped within their frozen cages would be damaged in their release.

As I chanted, I watched Ganesh walk into the cold water, dip his trunk in, take in the water, then gently squirted water warmed by his Self onto the frozen captives on the hillside.

Observations and Realizations, Stop III:

  • True power can – and often, must – be gentle.
  • Care must be taken with those who are trapped and frozen.
  • It can take time and patient persistence in helping others return to the Flow.

I have long realized that Water was my Element; but little did I know the depths of realization that I would encounter on my shamanic journey to meet with Water on this day.

I am looking forward to more journeys to meet the other Elements.

Written on April 27, 2015
Yellow Creek Park
Struthers, Ohio