From Tom Crum e-mail, dated Dec 1, 2011. Tom and Cathy Crum have floated with MFRE on the Middle Fork Salmon the past 2 years and are going to raft the Grand Canyon with MFRE and Tour West this April.
“The Magic of Quiet
The snow is falling quietly here in the Colorado Rockies, lightly coming to rest on the naked November branches and creating a soft white blanket on the ground below. The earth is going to bed for the winter. The quiet time is what Mother Nature chooses now, the time for hibernation and recovery – time to rest. Of the many things we have to be grateful for this season, we often forget to give thanks for a very important one: the beauty and healing spirit of quiet.
Some days the world seems to have lost its sense of nature’s quiet time. Everything is digitally alive – phones, computers, televisions, clocks, vehicles – and we all seem so busy about some thing or another. I love the noisy, frenetic craziness of it all, but only in its place.
Nearly 40 years ago I went to a three-month-long intensive meditation training program in the Swiss Alps. Knowing that, within weeks, I would be expected to meditate for six to eight hours a day was daunting to a young guy who had trouble sitting still at all. But I was determined to somehow struggle through, to see if there was anything to that “meditation stuff” that people told me would be so good for me. At first I had to ease into the practice, but by the time I was meditating alone for six to eight hours a day – in 30-40 minute segments with breathing exercises and yoga asanas in between – I didn’t want to stop. Although the length of time I spend meditating nowadays seems like a baby step compared to when I was in Switzerland, it is still a blessing that helps me let go of my addiction to the thinking, ego mind and relax into the big picture, into the mystery – where I find creativity, connection and love.
Isn’t that true in your experience? Isn’t it from the place of mystery – of quiet – that you often become open and awake? Where you recognize that it is not the ego that provides the most fulfilling path, but the quiet, the letting go?
In our lives there is much physical activity, lots of great interaction, lots of information being shared. But we can make a point to start each day learning and practicing the art of meditation and the appreciation of silence. During activity too – such as while skiing – we can periodically return to quiet – listening to the sounds of the mountain and of our skis in the snow. In our Magic of Skiing program we like to end the day with a silent run. Connection to the environment deepens, our awareness expands, and joy and learning accelerate. In quiet we find the moment. We find the magic.
Tom is an amazing man and teacher. We are blessed to have his presence on the river.