All throughout the town of Mt. Shasta – it’s officially known as a city but at an annual average population of only 3500 people, I can tell you, it ain’t no city – I hear people say ‘you know, it’s the mountain’ to explain the inexplicable. By inexplicable I’m referring to anomalous actions or bizarre behaviors exhibited by individuals who were otherwise stable or normal (whatever that means). Or else, the mountain is credited with drawing people from around the world who are seeking ‘enlightenment’ or ‘ascension’ or ‘heaven on earth.’ In fact, it is said that Mt. Shasta is ‘the place where heaven and earth meet.’
I beg to differ, respectfully, humbly.
Part of the mountain’s lore is that it has powers – spiritual, namely – to change a person’s behavior, mental state, or aspiration. I’ve heard it said that this sacred mountain is the root chakra of the planet. Ok, I got it.
However, if the mountain is the catalyst for profound change in people’s lives then these folks are the effect of change from without and not the cause of change from within. At least that’s how their thinking is structured.
And if that’s the case, then how are these people – who claim to be ‘enlightened’ – any different from the single mother living in poverty who credits the federal welfare system for keeping her family alive; or the Catholic who credits the picture of Jesus, or the Pope, with healing their diabetes; or the masses who credit, or blame, a President for saving or destroying the country; or the guy down on his luck whose only hope of it ever changing is by winning the lottery which he plays week after week with crossed fingers?
Really, what’s the difference? I see none.
Please understand that I’m not being critical of people who look to the mountain for help or to borrow its energy in order to make the change they desire. I’m not. But I don’t see how this view and approach empowers anyone.
Now, I acknowledge the power of faith – or whatever you want to call it – which can make a placebo appear as the active agent in change or healing. Yes, this power is innate. But that’s the point isn’t it? That it is the innate power of faith that makes the change possible, not the object of faith.
The mountain can act as a trigger, that is, as a focal point of attention and energy that activates the psyche in the individual which activates the faith, the belief, the trust. And then things happen. But was it the mountain that produced the change? I say no, respectfully.
(The mountain was and still is sacred to the Native Americans whose ancestors are buried there. They chose the mountain to conduct sacred burial ceremonies and other sacred rituals in ages past. And it was these rituals that made the mountain sacred beyond its own natural sacredness. I say beyond its own natural sacredness because all of Nature – all lands, waters, and skies and all expressions of life seen and unseen within them – is sacred, endowed with the power and beauty of Soul (Consciousness) that permeates all of the Universe).
However, I do not find fault with the position taken by many in Mount Shasta. None whatsoever. All are entitled to their unique spaces of possibility without ridicule or restriction. Besides, their belief in the mountain as the agent of change in the lives of the inhabitants here does lend power to the mountain, its surroundings and admirers through the power of myth and imagination.
This is part of the mystery and power of Life as expressed in all, through all, as all. I honor that.