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Under the Volcano

Anne Dalke's picture
Shaye commented that "the mind has to be let go of. Words and thinking will never get to truth. Expansion of mind and expansion of consciousness are not the same thing." Could you say more about that...that mind is much more than consciousness, you mean, and that to get anywhere--really anywhere--we (I mean I!) have to stop thinking so much....?

I've been told by many people over the years that I think too much, and I certainly think that I'm thinking too much to profit as much as I mind from my current course of Spanish language study....

...but sometimes (I really do think that!) thinking really can move mountains.

Probably because I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, amid a large extended family that made me feel quite safe, I have always found it comforting to be in the mountains. Being there gives me a sense of steadiness, of groundedness (even when the mountain in question is an unstable one, like the volcanos in Iceland or here in Guatemala. And I did learn, years ago, that the Biblical phrase, “I look up to the hills, from which cometh my help” might well/probably is better punctuated as, “I look up to the hills. From whence cometh my help? It cometh from the Lord….” (not, in other words, either from the mountains or from the spirits that inhabit them, but rather from the God who is beyond them all).

In this context, I greatly amused, last night, to come across Augusto Monterrose’s “Faith and Mountains,” in The Black Sheep and Other Fables (1969):

In the beginning, Faith only moved mountains when this was absolutely necessary, as a result of which the scenery remained the same for millennia at a time.

But when Faith started spreading and people began to be amused by the idea of moving mountains, these did nothing but change place, and it became more and more difficult to find them in the spot where they had been left the night before, which of course created more difficulties than it resolved.

From this point on, decent people chose to abandon Faith, and now for the most part mountains stay put.

Whenever there is a landslide on the roads and a number of passengers die beneath the rocks, this means that someone, nearby or faraway, has had a glimmer of Faith.

It occurs to me that now it is industry, buttressed by science, that has the power “to move mountains” (=drill tunnels through them, dig into them). Given such capacity: who needs faith any more? And for what purpose?