Spiritual Mysticism or Spiritual Naturalism?

As we walked into our standard Best Western’s breakfast room near the Inyo Canyons, there was a transformation. The walls were plastered with what looked like pictures of movie stars. Apparently, this was Hollywood’s favorite location for filming cowboy scenes, and the hotel wasn’t going to let that one slide any time soon.

The surrounding Inyo canyons were looking like that I admit. The horizons widened, the rocks and foliage blended together in beautiful sandstone with broccoli-like vegetation everywhere. The canyons had miles and miles of rock. Flat plains stretching on before hitting the mountain ranges. Pink, red, orange and sandstone. It took us some time to appreciate its beauty. Life seemed sparse yet the possibility of life here seemed abundant. I tried imagining a time in Earth’s history when the place was teeming with life, maybe large dinosaurs spotted the plains with winged creatures careening overhead, and possibly a lush, green surrounding rather than the pink-ish desert looks that were in front of us now.


I tried imagining the place a few hundred years from now – would it be a city, or a settlement of some kind? Would there be more visible forms of life and humanity? How about a few thousand years from now?

It is definitely heartening to step out of urban life for a brief spell. It is also when you are most capable of doing what you want. Do you want to sing a song? The rocks are your audience. Go for it. Do you want to jump in the middle of the road, the mountains are your witness. So, we spent the day in near by cowboy locations acting out like cowboys and cowgirls. Only these cowboys & girls wore woolen caps and gloves and heehawed like donkeys.


The fact that we are miniscule in the scheme of things is never more stark than when gazing at nature’s grandeur. I tried looking for that feeling of oneness, and could come up with no better words than Spirituality and Nature. The internet spewed articles on religion and spirituality. But that was not what I felt there. There was no religion except when the cold got a bit much and I said, “Rama! It is so cold!”.

My grandmother would have approved.

Sometimes, Lord Ganesha kept us company. (We saw rocks shaped like dinosaurs and elephants.)

There was awe, humility, peace and the sense of security that our valiant car could provide transport and warmth.

That night after the heehawing in Inyo canyons, I had vague and hilarious dreams of my grandmother running after a donkey in a 9 yards saree. Who is to say that a mouse did not really pull a wooden trundle with Lord Ganesha seated on it across the canyons that night? Spiritual Mysticism? Maybe.


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