Mountains and Perspectives has been my go-to theme this week, after I felt touched by last Sunday’s reading that described Jesus taking his students up a mountain, inviting them to witness His transfiguration (Mk 9, 2-10).
Many scholars suggest that this mountain may have been Mount Tabor. Although Mount Tabor is quite small in comparison to other well known mountains, less than 600m, it rises spectacularly from a flat landscape, not too far from the plains nearing the Sea of Galilee.
Can you imagine the breathtaking views the disciples would have encountered on their way to the summit? Emerald green slopes filled with varied vegetation such as yellow crocuses and daffodils, wildflowers, oak and pine trees. On the horizon they likely saw the Jordan river, the Sea of Galilee, Plain of Jezreel, even Nazareth…
Some theologians speculate that Jesus took His disciples up the mountain to facilitate a shift of mindset in them, to offer a divine perspective, to strengthen them prior to His crucifixion…
Mountains have been known to symbolize the seeking of connection with a higher power, the sacred, the divine…
Even in our popular culture, who can get out of their head the instant classic scene from Frozen featuring Elsa climbing the North Mountain. In longed-for solitude, striving to distance herself from the expectations and internalized messages swirling in her head, looking for another perspective around coming to terms with her powers (as opposed to just trying to suppress them, which clearly did not work for her); and finally, transforming herself on the peak of the North mountain, “letting go” of past ways of thinking that no longer resonated…
A mountain has always been my favorite analogy for the self: stable, grounded, centered, strong; all the while basking in/being penetrated by the light and love of God. Personally, the analogy of the mountain comes to my mind whenever something is “ruffling” me and asking me to reflect more on my inner experience.
Alas, we may not always get the chance to go mountain climbing :-(. Luckily there is plenty else that can help us to experience fresh perspectives… Here are some ideas:
Simply asking yourself whether there is another way for you to see a situation may be a helpful starting point. This already opens your mindset to embrace other possibilities...
Being around/playing with children is also likely to stir up creativity. My little ones are a constant inspiration for me, taking time to experience the world on their level through play constantly surprises me with fresh perspectives…
Even getting out of the house and going for a walk has been known to shift our point of view and make it more expansive…
Finally, making use of art/creativity to reflect on your inner experience, whether through journalling, drawing, or other art forms, is likely to be a perspective-shifter…
Creativity of all kinds focuses your mind, engages your imagination, and feeds your soul. Being creative can also facilitate understanding and encourage healing. Creativity is mindfulness in motion-intuitive, artistic motion. Creative moments and activities give you a boost and help you feel energized and good about yourself. Sue Thoele
Out of an intuitive experience of the world comes a continuous flow of novel distinctions. Purely rational understanding, on the other hand, serves to confirm old mindsets, rigid categories. Artists, who live in the same world as the rest of us, steer clear of these mindsets to make us see things anew. Ellen Langer
Once you've seen there is another perspective, you can never not see that there's another point of view. Ellen Langer
We are all in need of a shift of perspective, especially at times when we get caught up in past emotional programming or unhelpful mindsets. I hope your week will include plenty of inspiration and nourishment to support you in continually elevating your mindset towards your best self and your faith.
Is this why YOU created Mountains?
With every awe-filled step I’m taking
My “I” feels small, and yet expansive…
With every step horizon widens,
My sight breaks through her earth-bound boundaries…
With every step as clouds draw nearer,
The wind sweeps off me endless fears.
Is this why You created mountains?
To elevate disheartened mindsets?
And while the gentle rain, keeps falling
on every pain point, joy, and sorrow;
And while the sun, still permeates
Our every moment with her luminance;
I, too, remember to keep rising,
From plains to heaven, like a mountain!
And elevate, beyond the earthly plains, once more,
All in the heart that longs for boundless love!