Consider this...

By Mike Johnson


Four million visitors cruise, hike, backpack or snowmobile their way through Yellowstone National Park each year. Living just 52 miles from the park's east entrance makes it seem as if a healthy percentage of them are our vacationing friends and relatives.

We love taking visitors through the park - especially first-timers. Nothing beats looking at such grandeur through the eyes of your guest's appreciative face twisting with spectacular ohhhs and ahhhs. Isn't sharing what you love with a grateful friend the best kind of fun?

But then there are the city dwellers.

These are the type of guests who can't slow down. Their world consists of full-time immersion in the things of man - the career, the television, the sporting event. If it can't arrive by remote control, cellular phone, or computer keystroke, they aren't interested in going after it. Constantly bombarded by external stimulus, these high-strung folks have such a short attention span that they find it impossible to stop and just BE.

Yellowstone, of course - like all nature - is better enjoyed the more slowly you travel through it. Part of the adventure is the drive from Cody to the east gate entrance. This scenic drive is one of the most spectacular in America and does a great job of slowing your senses to better appreciate America's first National Park. You follow the roaring Shoshone River through mountains, valleys, lakes and forests. Every trip includes sightings of elk and deer, most include Bighorn sheep and if you're fortunate, moose and bear.

The trek begins just outside of Cody by driving through a series of three tunnels bored right through Rattlesnake Mountain for a combined distance of almost a mile. While in the tunnel, of course, all you can see are the rocky walls that surround you. Even though there are gorgeous views all around, you can't see them until you exit the tunnels.

And so it is for those city dwellers who arrive at Yellowstone expecting it to be a non-stop video game. Their expectations of constant external stimulation build personal "thought tunnels" that prevent them from being able to absorb the grandeur of Yellowstone.

Because they look at life through a filter that unconsciously compares what they want with what they see, they are forever driven to search for more stimulus, yet never satisfied with the results. They stand before a 308 foot waterfall for 30 seconds, turn to their partner and say "Cool. What's next?"

Sadly, we're all a bit like this in one way or another. We only see what is in our own heads. We create the thought tunnels of our own minds with our unconscious values, desires, and cravings, weaving the walls that limit of our vision of the world.

In effect, we don't see things as THEY are, we see things as WE are.

The only way to remove these walls is to question our values. Is this something I really value or is it merely something I was told to value? Question our desires. Do I really want to remain a slave to this desire to be a millionaire? Question our cravings. Are the kind words of others really worth all the action it takes to earn them?

Through questions, our thought tunnels collapse because the only strength they ever had was our failure to question them. Once they're removed, we're once again able to absorb the universe's grandeur.

Free from our thought tunnels, we stop talking to ourselves and let God start talking to us.


Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at