Tent Rocks: Beauty and Reflections About Faith's Narrow Gate
Time, with its singularly unique skill as a Sculptor, has created some truly stunning works. Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a vast, natural, open-air gallery. An expansive landscape where you can touch the art and be touched by it. Where you can see the powerful influences of geologic forces, and bear witness to the effects of earth's volcanic eruptions, flash floods and long droughts. Where you can ponder some of nature's processes and contemplate life lessons. With the neighboring Cochiti Pueblo, it is also a place rich with cultural history and tradition.
The subtle multi-colored layers that form Tent Rocks, being both igneous and sediment ary, are the result of two different processes. Between six to seven million years ago, there were active volcanoes in the neighboring Jemez Mountains. This volcanic activity, along with desert winds and water are the artful materials which Time has used to create these stunning sculptures.
Slot Canyon trail is a wonderful hike. There are a few places between the towering canyon walls which are extremely narrow, and in some places, steep. One needs to carefully place one's feet heel to toe in single file while bracing against the rough walls, and occasionally crouch down under boulders or a fallen tree truck.
As I was following the soft, sandy path, I was reminded of a passage from the Gospel According to Matthew (Matt. 7:13-14). This chapter gives guidance to the believer on how to approach life and discern what is acceptable in terms of doctrine, behavior and exercising sound judgement. It is also where we find counsel about prayer and the Golden Rule. We are instructed that the measure we give is the very one that we will get; and that we are to earnestly ask, seek and knock, in order that we might freely receive, find and have the door opened to us.
The verse that came to mind on the passageway through the sculpted and slotted canyon was this:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."
That skinny, sandy trail, with its towering walls, the places of rocky ascent and slippery descent, those sharp turns and curved corners, seemed like a perfect experiential metaphor for the narrow gate. And I found myself thinking about the beauty of nature, the remarkable opportunities for personal growth and prosperity available to each of us, despite our wretched economy, and the limitless gifts of grace that surround us.
Yet in reality how few of us actually experience this wonder, or avail ourselves of these opportunities. It takes effort and intention. The way is neither easy nor wide. And it takes so much less effort and thought to drift from day to day, to follow the crowd, to complainingly stay in our rut, or look for ways to either overstimulate or anesthetize ourselves. I know people who never experience silence on a regular basis. They are almost always surrounded by some kind of noise and are often engaged in fairly mindless activity.
The way that leads to life is narrow and hard, while the way that leads to destruction is wide and easy. While these words seem harsh, I find that they mirror my experience in business, as well as life. The way to success is narrow and requires discipline; while the way that leads to remaining stuck in some unsatisfying status quo is wide, and requires little thought or effort. There are so many who seem to resist the rigors of self-discipline and thereby miss all of the joys and the rewards.
Jim Rohn has said that each one of us will choose between two types of pain in our lives. The pain of discipline or the pain of regret. With discipline can come great reward; with regret comes deeper disenchantment. Every athlete knows this, and so does every single person who has accomplished anything worthwhile. So much is possible, and so much depends on choosing well, rather than merely accepting things as they are or as they come to us.
I loved hiking though Slot Canyon and feeling both blessed and small within those majestic stone passageways. The rock formations stood like silent sentries intimating their sacred,Time-hewn heritage and their special place in nature. I am eager to return.
Incorporate this philosophy & you will enhance your life!
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