The Portable Grand Canyon
Take the Spiritual Energy from the Grand Canyon With
You Wherever You Go, to Energize Your Spiritual Life
by Charles Creekmore
Back in 1999, I needed a break from hard, banal, and blasphemous reality to treat a bad case of world-weariness. So I ran away to the Grand Canyon, where I signed on for minimum wage at Grand Canyon Village as the world's oldest errand boy.
My pilgrimage to the Grand Canyon soon turned into a crash course in spiritual energy, that life force which, according to American Transcendentalists such as Henry David Thoreau, fills us with wonder at any lovely vista, manifests itself throughout nature, and gives us power to rise above the slings and arrows of everyday life.
In fact, my four months at the Grand Canyon transformed me in much the same way as Thoreau's time at Walden Pond transformed him. It convinced me that nature's spiritual energy is a method for the madness of the world. Now I take that spiritual energy with me wherever I go and find it every day in my own backyard.
Yet my routine at Grand Canyon Village was anything but "Walden-esque." The professional job description included collecting trash from barrels along the south rim of the canyon, cleaning toilets and urinals at the Bright Angel Lodge, mopping floors all over the village, doing odd jobs for grumbling guests, and cozying up to the resident ghost rumored to be residing in the historic El Tovar Hotel. I liked to think of this paranormal guest as Teddy Roosevelt, minus his horse laugh and all the Rough Rider protoplasm.
As I was carrying out these duties, I couldn't help but notice how well my English degree had prepared me for my job. It undoubtedly qualified me for Garrison Keillor's Professional Organization of English Majors, or POEM, along with all the other English grads working at Burger King or Stop & Shop.
The only fringe benefit of my underemployment was free mental health insurance. My chores allowed me to indulge my real purpose for being at the Grand Canyon, which was total immersion in spiritual energy. I was there to get back in sync with the laws of nature, get back in touch with the eternity of myself, back in harmony with the pulse of life. It all amounted to the same thing.
Chasing that secret agenda, I interrupted my work many times each day to take a break from unfettered life. I would stand on the rim of the canyon and suck up the atmosphere churning invisibly, invincibly, indivisibly inside.
One universal truth I learned from my four months living on the edge of forever was a real shocker: that I didn't need to be there to conjure up the Grand Canyon and all its splendor. I found that we carry the Grand Canyon with us wherever we go. It squeezes into any back pocket. We can pull out the Grand Canyon anytime, anywhere we are, by simply sensing the mysterious, majestic, wild, and welling energy thrumming through all nature.
My discovery of this portable Grand Canyon also recycles the basic tenet of the Transcendentalism practiced by Thoreau at Walden Pond. "Generative energy," as he called it, pools in the font of everywhere, permeates nature, and springs eternal in the human soul.
You can make contact with that energy right now, right here, right away, even as you read this article.
Imagine yourself on the south rim of the Grand Canyon and feel the natural power throbbing through everything. The throb is out there in the wind currents. The throb is out there in the wing beats of condors. The throb is out there in the vast rock formations, shivering like water. The throb is out there in brushstrokes of sienna, ocher, cadmium, amethyst, rouge, and rust, which dab the canyon lands with divinity. The throb is out there in the Colorado River as it traces its lifeline in the palm of existence. The throb is out there in the electric silence. Feel the throb.
The Cosmic Tumblers Click Into Place
Spiritual energy acts as the transformer for our interconnected universe, generating a vast chain reaction of 'accidentally on purpose.' It's an intuitive concept I can easily believe each time I gaze into the coincidental universe manifesting itself, minute by minute, ad infinitum, in my own backyard.
Any moment of our lives can also become an encounter with spiritual energy. Any moment can become an encounter with the Grand Canyon. It's only a matter of mindfulness.
When imbibing spiritual energy, I'm often reminded of a line from the "Field of Dreams" film: "There comes a time when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place and the universe opens itself up for a few seconds to show you what's possible."
There's no reason in the world not to take pleasure in our collective field of dreams right outside. Nature's spiritual energy is our most ancient legacy, and this is where we can go to claim it: in our own backyard.
Here is what the miraculous simplicity of "Walden" was all about: delighting in the simple, elemental, and elegant things that make life worthwhile.
This article was adapted from Charles Creekmore's free electronic book, Back to Walden, posted on http://www.backtowalden.com/.
Charles Creekmore wrote the self-help book, Zen and the Art of Diabetes Maintenance, published by the American Diabetes Association in 2003. More than 20 literary journals have published his poetry, and as a freelance journalist he has written for the New York Times, Psychology Today, Travel & Leisure, National Wildlife, Islands, Runner's World, AARP, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other mainstream periodicals. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.