I was cruising along a ridge that divides a swamp in Antrim County, Michigan. The weather was a gorgeous 60 plus degree day with a sky so clear it was like staring into the Caribbean on an upward angle. It was what my mother calls a northern Michigan “world-class day” and that is no exaggeration, it was one of those special spring moments in northern Michigan. I was on a quest for the ever elusive black morel mushroom and I was in my zone, hunting in a state of deep concentration. Through years of practice and concentration, I have trained my vision to do super human like things in my ability to differentiate shapes, colors, movement, and frankly my favorite thing to hunt morel mushrooms! As I moved along at a fast pace, I was catching visions of so many different objects and varying types of nature while keeping pace. As I turned to the south, out of the corner of my left eye I saw a massive ash tree hidden behind some pines and cedar trees roughly 300 yards from where I stood.
“I have walked this ridge many times before, yet I never noticed that amazing ash tree,” I thought to myself. As I walked up to the lone ash tree, I was overjoyed to find its surroundings we’re covered in a bumper crop of nearly 100 black morels, the best crop of black morels I have found still to this day.
I found another dozen or so mushrooms hunting that afternoon but I couldn’t believe this ash tree experience. I was so proud of myself for having spotted that tree and was blown away how my intuition told me “go to it” and trust that my awareness had led me to such an experience. As I hiked back to my house I thought to myself how freaking cool that moment had been and how amazingly “awake” I was. I was totally out-of-body on that hike and my consciousness was so alive, it just felt damn good to be so “awake”. As I sat down on my couch I went deep into thought about what occurred earlier. I thought “man, what if I could learn to live my whole life this awake?” I would certainly stop myself from losing my temper in hostile situations, I would be more prepared, and more successful, I figured. I then thought about how sadly “asleep” too many people are in their lives and how little they extract from and give back to the world.
Over the next several years I would experiment with this theory of being conscious or being awake and I’ll be damned if things didn’t start coming to me easier. The more I watched, the more I was out-of-body instead of stuck in my damn mind, the more things seemed to flow together. I applied this to business, to friendships, to family, to intimate relationships and it just kept working. I was 30 years old that day and I still remind myself of this need on a regular basis, but man I feel so blessed to have this gift as I believe that in some ways this energy is making the world a better place and that feels damn good.
The next time you feel yourself ready to lose your temper, ready to snap, get above it and “watch”. The person who is “awake” sees far more than the person who is “asleep”. Oh and after this deep thought go and get your butt in the woods and become immersed in it and be woken up or you’ll miss too much in life.
Image from Jason Hollinger, pellaea on the flickr Creative Commons