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Zane Maser

In the heights, in the mountain tops there lives tranquillity and peace which is the power, the wisdom and the love behind all human life; and in the depths of your heart lies the same tranquillity which is the power, the wisdom and the love of your life. [Remember] to turn to that inner light for your succour and guidance.
White Eagle

THERE ARE special moments in our lives when a clear, unmistakable inner prompting comes into bold relief. Here is the story of such a moment in my life, when the voice of my heart spoke, 'remember the way of the Gentle Brother,' as though to encourage me to have a spiritual spine, to do all I can to live the gospel, as White Eagle puts it.

Imagine a balmy autumn day of beauty and pristine clarity in the high Cascade Mountains in Oregon on the flank of impressive peaks called the 'Three Sisters.' My husband Chris, I and two friends set out early on the 'Obsidian Trail'—a piece of God's geography that is heavenly food for our souls. The air is crisp and refreshing as we start up through one of Oregon's majestic old-growth forests. Their ancient presence emanates wisdom, and, in reverence, we strive to walk God's pure and gentle way.

At some point in the trail, we leave the closed-in forest to enter an immense field of black lava. The heat of the rough rocks warms us quickly, and the sacred odour of pine and fir is carried by whispering currents of air. We turn a bend in the trail and glimpse the first breath-taking view of the peaks cast against the bluest sky. White Eagle says that perhaps we come closest to our true nature and to realising God's perfect life within us when our senses are relaxed in the cathedral of Nature, where the glory and love of our Father-Mother is in such profound evidence. '…listen also to the sounds of the birds and animals, the song of the wind in the trees, of the falling raindrops, and the rushing river,' White Eagle encourages us because, in doing as he suggests, we begin to perceive the 'sounds behind those of earth, the sounds of the unseen world'.

We hike up the trail almost effortlessly, because we have assumed our own personal breathing and walking rhythm. In this timeless moment, I feel I am living one of the guideposts from our Teacher: 'Walk the path of light. Seek the true Source of your being….' We hear the welcome music of a small stream and absorb into our souls its harmony, responding inwardly to the manifest splendour surrounding us. Never did we imagine such a profusion of bloom in meadows this late in the season as lovely wildflowers blend one into another, yet each unique. We feel companioned by the nature spirits who joyously abound in their playground of the altitudes.

Finally, our journey connects us to the well-known Pacific Crest Trail that spans from Mexico to Canada. Our footsteps are now linked with the many millions of hikers who, over the years, have experienced similar life-affirming moments—devoid of the distracted, noise-filled gallop of modern life—when each of us has the opportunity to chose the priorities that honour Earth Mother, our own special life purpose and gifts, as well as the gentle brothers and sisters who walk with us side by side, hand in hand, heart to heart on the gentle path.

The sounds of nature are all that break into our silence, as my inner prayer of gratitude for this holy day of heaven on earth echoes in my heart. Having found a rest stop for lunch, we seem to melt into the rock in relaxed reflection, and our spirits soar on the warm updrafts in this moment when all life feels within the enfolding circle of God's love. Here, we absorb the harmony of the kingdoms that support our lives and fill our inner and outer senses with the

peace of God which passeth all understanding. Here, there are no human-created dividing lines, no artificial separations. 'All are of God and there is no separation.' There is only wholeness and right relationship to self, others, and to life, which ultimately brings self-mastery. 'Those who would bring peace into the lives of others … must first learn to control their own being,' attests our Teacher.

Venturing into the mountains allows us to more easily cut off the chattering frontal mind and the devouring demands of our often impersonal world, to experience a fundamental, uncluttered trust in God. Here, we can access the underlying, absolute peace available to each of us when we take the opportunity to sink into the spiritual mind of our heart. White Eagle would add, in his wise way, 'peace … lies beneath all turmoil and noise and clamour of the world, beneath feeling, beneath thought. It is found in the deep silence and stillness of the soul'.

As we start our descent to where the trail links back into the Obsidian Loop, we encounter a distressed, disoriented young college student who became separated from her professor and classmates on a geology field trip. She apparently crossed the stream below where she took the fork in the trail to the left and headed for the 'spring'. At this point, she has no idea where she is, no map, no compass, no sense of direction, no keys to a vehicle, no food, and little water. She is completely unprepared for the mountain terrain and her fear is palpable. To help her regain composure and clear thinking, we reassure her as best we can, show her repeatedly where she is on a map, give her guidance as to what the best course of action is, and fill her water bottle.

I notice that, while she shares her story, I am becoming more and more out of harmony internally. How quickly and easily one can temporarily lose the still water of the spirit! I jump right into the ring of my ego self (with both feet!) with thoughts like, 'that professor seems not to have properly prepared his students for this arduous trek; why did he not check to make sure everyone was together before they set out after the stream, etc. etc.

All these thoughts seem perfectly reasonable to my rational, analytical, outer mind, which is always seeking to justify itself and which often pushes me around. How did I get into this murky place so quickly? To my dismay, I was in the warp of destructive, negative thinking and casting judgment on the sheer 'appearance' of the situation and in only one side of the story! How insidious is such thinking in daily life and simple encounters that without constant vigilance I can become so rapidly engulfed in a habitual trance of reaction and response I don't want to be in. How quickly I can lose the edge of compassion, both toward another and myself! Our Teacher would caution, 'Don't condemn [anyone, including our self], just love and understand.' He further counsels: 'When you are tempted to judge another, be silent; hold back your judgment and say to yourself, "I do not know the forces at work. I cannot judge."'

White Eagle teaches us about the path of a gentle brother and that 'the only way is the way of love'. He says, 'Love refrains from judgement, never attributes motives to another, for God alone knows the heart of your brother. It is so easy to judge. Refrain always. If you do not understand, know that the time will come when you will understand the reason for certain things happening. …love must be your innermost and spontaneous response towards every soul you encounter.'

His teachings show us that we must not only understand the way of gentle brothering with our minds but also translate this ideal into our daily lives, never failing to be tender, compassionate, and loving in all our interactions. And, above all, to give in thought, word, and deed only what we would most wish to receive in return. He continually encourages us to focus our thoughts on the Christ Star, on sending out the healing Light, and on imagining and feeling the qualities and essence of the Master.

Indeed, as we are about to head down our mountain trail, the professor and a student arrive searching for the lost one. We hear his perspective and his obvious concern for this student, as well as the fact he had given straightforward, clear instructions, as far as he knew. From his point of view, before they embarked as a class, he thought all was in order, and he had not anticipated this unfortunate mishap. Who among us, in one way or another, has acted from a similar reference, thinking we were understood, and that all was in order? Perhaps this incident occurred on this day of perfection to bring home the lesson of the inadvisability of any judgment.

Sometimes such learning is rather uncomfortable, but despite this, we must be thankful for every experience, however painful and humbling. 'A few mistakes,' White Eagle promises, 'do not matter. It is what you are thinking, what you contribute in love, compassion, and great-heartedness to humanity that is important.' And we may be certain that a fresh opportunity inevitably waits. With his usual compassion and understanding of us when our little outer self is in command, White Eagle additionally tells us that 'each time you resist the temptations to resort to the lower mind and the thoughts of the material world, and respond instead to the light from your higher self, you are growing stronger in spirit; and more, you are increasing the power of the Light on earth'.

Thus, after hearing the complete story, I suddenly feel a warm, comforting sense of coming to my self again. Ah yes, this is what White Eagle has been teaching me for so many years—the principles of the gentle path and the art of gentle brothering are the way of the gentle brother. 'Follow God or good; take the gentle way, offer the other cheek, be guided by your intuition, and love; and you will have chosen the better path, the path of God.' In one fell swoop, as so often can happen, I had lost my equipoise and violated the principles and path most dear to my heart and life. How often in any given day do I consciously or unconsciously fall into this pattern?

Though I so often sin, or 'miss the mark,' or 'fail to go direct to the truth', I realise that one's inherent goodness, God-ness, comes in all forms and brotherly ways as we journey along the path towards ultimate perfection. It comes in the gentle view of myself; the way of treating my earthly self with patience and acceptance; of realising my innate self-worth and inner sweetness even when I temporarily lose my footing on the path. White Eagle tells us to, 'Be patient in dealing with each other, with the little errors and 'failings'. One's inherent goodness also comes in the way we each chose to live in harmony with the plentiful gifts of nature and the world we share with all kingdoms of life, from the mineral, to the angelic, to the celestial. It comes, perhaps most importantly, as White Eagle assures us that, 'we cannot tell you how much you achieve by your kind and good thought'.

In our eternal quest for the inner light, may we come to realise that the way of gentle brothering is much like the infinity symbol. If you follow from the inside to the outside and from the outside to the inside, there is no disruption or discontinuity. It is one unending whole—all in One and One in all. So, if you have your hands in a dishpan or garden soil, or are walking your dog, or typing at your computer in a hectic office, or making high-powered financial decisions as a corporate executive, or hiking mountain timberlines, may it be all for the love of gentle brothering. All in One and One in all.

For the love of God, I open my heart to the morning
For the love of God, I rise and faithfully serve the
      tasks. He has placed before me this day.
For the love of God, I send forth the Light as I kneel
      humbly before my inner altar of Christ.
For the love of God, I think, speak, and act in,
      kindness patience, serenity, tolerance, and with a
      heart full of joy.
For the love of God, I remember all day long my
      special duty on the path as a gentle brother
      living in God's grace.
For the love of God, I rest my body and mind as I fall
      peacefully to sleep under the gentle, guiding,
      uplifting ray of the Christ Star.
And so having lived this day, for the love of God, I
      sweetly surrender my being to the rest and
      restoration of the inner, eternal world, where all is
      truly One.


© Zane Maser 2002.

This article was published in Stella Polaris, Journal of the White Eagle Lodge, Volume 51, No. 5, pages 182-186 (2002).

For information about the worldwide work, visit White Eagle Lodge

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