Mountains of Inspiration

Mt. Yudono Shrine in the middle of winter

Seeing a 15m tall Torii gate covered in snow, and then having freshly-cooked soup and a hearty lunch underneath it is just plain fun, and a great way to get into the great outdoors, and to really get refreshed. But there's a bit more to it than that.

The past couple of days and weeks even have been a bit tough on me. Just life catching up on me I guess. The reason I know is because I get panic attacks, and find it hard to breathe sometimes. There's no real trigger for it, it just happens, the realities of losing your parents, among other things I guess. I also know because I wasn't feeling very motivated to do much. Usually I wake up really early and want to sit down and get some writing done or maybe edit a video or two. I wasn't really feeling that much recently. Until I went to the mountains, that is.

This morning I was invited to join an ancient tradition that a friend of mine recently restarted. You may have seen it in the video where I stay in Gassan Tsutaya Ochimizu-no-yu, a yamabushi-run Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in Shizu Onsen, Nishikawa Town, Yamagata Prefecture. The proprietor of the Ryokan, Shida-san, led a group of us on a snowshoe hike to Mt. Yudono Shrine, which is about 90 minutes from where the roads end in winter. Well, in the past devoted people would pay a visit to Mt. Yudono Shrine at the lunar new year, a custom that ended during the Meiji Restoration. And that's just what we did.

I think the important part of going to the mountains that leads to inspiration is appreciation. When you go to a place like that, you are just in awe at its beauty, and it makes you want to stop and just say thank you to nature. That's why I think Master Hoshino pushes the importance of prayer while out in nature, without appreciation, there really isn't much point in being out there.

Which is to say, I feel so much better after having been to Mt. Yudono. Now to make a video of it.

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MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM

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