Our Journey Is Not Yet Complete, We Still Walk The Mountains, And Reflections On The Poem, “Give Us Men To Match Our Mountains” – Akakura Onsen, Japan

Our Journey Is Not Yet Complete, We Still Walk The Mountains, And Reflections On The Poem, “Give Us Men To Match Our Mountains” – Akakura Onsen, Japan

There are many stories in Buddhism about pilgrims and ascetics who went to remote mountains to seek answers and to discover mystical secrets in their search for enlightenment.

Often they would be admired as rugged individuals, who had learned to control their minds, rejoice in the silence, conquer solitude and release themselves from the clutches of the inner demons that control so many people’s lives.

In Tibetan Buddhism, some of these demons are painted with demonic faces on their stomachs, meaning that their guts and hunger control them and overrun their lives.

But the truth is that the spiritual seekers, often learn much humility and became tender and gentle beings, not rugged or careless at all.

The search for the guru or the ascended master who will reveal herself to you and remind you that you ARE the ascended master you are looking for, is illustrated by a lone seeker, climbing up a very tall mountain.

She is not looking to build a hut nor a mansion.
He is not looking for the thrill of an untracked ski piste. 
She is not looking for a temporary high.

They are looking for the eternal, the God within, the ascended master of his or hers true divine nature. 
With every pilgrimage journey on which we have embarked in the past few years, I have had that intention in my heart.

I was not looking for a holiday on foot. 
I was after Enlightenment and Ascension.  
I was looking to master my lower self, or at least to get closer to that wise inner voice.

Today, as we walked on the stunning mountain roads alone on our way to Akakura Onsen, I remembered a poem by Zen Master Ryokan:

“Last year I was a fool, roaming the moutains in search of enlightenment. 
This year, no change.”

But joking aside, there are greater benefits to walking in the mountains on foot pilgrimages as described by Annalee Skarin in her book, “Ye Are Gods.”

Annalee explained the biblical story of Job, who complained to God about his miserable life, full of misfortunes. 
She wrote:

“There is a whole chapter in the Bible about Job’s grief for having been born into this world.

Most of us at some time or other in our lives, have wondered why we were born, and even perhaps resented being here. 
What God said to Job is: 
“Stop whining and be a man! 
Have you forgotten how badly you wanted to come to earth? Are you not one of my sons? 
Were you not among them when I laid the foundations of the earth? 
Did you not shout for joy with the others that you were to have the privilege of being born into this world and gain a body of flesh and bones. 
Were you not happy to learn good from evil, to learn to handle tangible material, to choose between right and wrong, to discover and prove your worth?

God always desires His children to “Gird up their loins and be like men.” 
His children must be self-reliant, not whining weaklings. 
He led the children of Israel for forty years in one of the most desolate spots upon this earth.

Why? 
Because they whined, and had to become self-reliant and develop faith in the God within themselves.

You can say that it was god, who led, or perhaps drove, his noble and great ones from the nations of the earth, to this new land of America, to build, to conquer, to achieve. 
But mostly to become MEN. 
Men of vision and courage and stamina. 
Men who could stand united for democracy, liberty and truth and uphold goodness and honor.

On the State capital building of California are these words: “Bring us men to match our mountains.”

The cry of America from the beginning of its development has gone into that invitation for the great and noble to come and partake of the greatness of a heritage of freedom, and to give of their strength to the land in which they live, be it village, hamlet, a town or a city.

God desires a people who can pioneer in physical, scientific and spiritual fields. 
He desires mankind not only to understand the purpose of their existence, but to courageously cast out all fear. 
People to march with their faces to the light, unwaveringly and uncomplainingly. 
He desires that they learn to humble themselves in great and mighty prayer that they might be great people.” 
(By Annalee Skarin)

This is why we walk in the mountains and walk on pilgrimages. 
We want to become strong and worthy. 
With every pilgrimage, we develop a little bit more, whine a little bit less and get a little bit stronger.

We walked to the nearby ski/Onsen town of Akakura, which is an older, but still picturesque ski town in the area. 
We circled the gorge and saw the large waterfall that we had hiked down to yesterday, and then came upon the quiet town.

Most of the ski town was already closed for the winter season, but not yet open for the summer season. 
There are hot springs foot baths at several locations in town, and many accommodations and ski rental shops that were closed.

In the window of a closed ski shop, I photographed the first photo of this post.  
I do not remember what it advertised, it touched my heart because it spoke volumes about my own journey.

The condition of the buildings in town was a bit battered by the snow, and most accommodations and food choices seemed to cater to families on a budget. 
We enjoyed the walk, and were able to get back to our hotel well before the rain clouds started to roll in.

The next day we sat in our hotel’s lobby, reading, resting and thinking. 
Outside the big lobby windows, mist and clouds were rolling in over the ski slope, clearing and then reappearing, representing the clouds in my mind that were clearing up and rolling back in. 
It was restful.

I was remembering a crazy spiritual woman who was briefly interested in buying our house on the hills in New Zealand. 
She stood there, looking over the harbor and the land, and then she told me: 
“New Zealand will be missing a lot when you leave here. 
It is a fabulous land, but it is not matched by the people who are currently living here. 
They are not good guardians of the land, and so they destroy it.“

I will end with the wise words of the American poet Sam Walter Foss:

“Bring me men to match my mountains, 
Bring me men to match my plains, 
Men with empires in their purpose, 
And new eras in their brains.”

With love and respect,

Tali and Jules

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