the view from the top of the mountain in nice
but you can't live all alone at the top of the mountain ..
unless you want to be a hermit
A Spiritual Traveler through Life
We've all seen them .. the glossy brochures in the travel agents' windows, all
promising the delights of some far off destination .. and the spectacular view from the top of
some mountain or other.
So, we go into the travel agent and ask about some particular destination that appeals to us - for
some reason or other ..
The travel agent brings out heaps more glossy photographs and itineraries .. maybe, if we are
lucky, we can get an even better idea from the Video. If we are really lucky, we might even find a
travel agent who has been to the destination we have in mind .. and can get an idea of that
special place that we want to visit through a set of human eyes - a first hand account .. not in
the words of someone who has been to a seminar, but the life experience of someone who has been to
that place that draws us, spoken in their own words, of what they saw through their own eyes ..
what they felt .. how the experience moved them.
Have you ever noticed how the expression of the person who has really been to a destination and
returned contains none of the superlatives or "sales pitch" of the brochures - or of the
people who became instant experts by reading books and attending the travel seminars ..
A Personal Metaphor
I was lucky .. I had a "teacher" who had been there, done that .. [ I've
written about Paul elsewhere in this site ] .. and one day, I confronted him and said .. "If
things are really like that, what are you doing here, working in the travel agency .."
"Well Christopher .. the view from the top of the mountain in nice but you
can't live all alone at the top of the mountain .. unless you want to be a hermit .. but you can
come back down off the top of the mountain and, if you are so moved, you can tell people of your
own journey, your own experiences, and what you saw and experienced from the top of the mountain
.. and as you have discovered, your words will have an aliveness and a humanness that is not
apparent in either the travel books - or in the words of those that just make something up from
what they have read .."
Kundalini, Compassion, Unconditional Love, the Transpersonal are just like that ..
there is nothing in the guide books or in the videos that can replace the personal experience of
climbing that mountain, having a look at the view, feeling the ambience .. and coming back down.
I have found that there is usually more than one track up to the top of the mountain .. the
scenery and sights can be very different. I have always been attracted to mountains too, perhaps
because it is somewhere in the blood of my ancestors who used to live high in the Tyrol's a long
The mountains in Australia are not that high .. but with what my friend Paul had told
me, I decided to go visit one .. and the journey was a bit like the metaphor for my life ..
Up on the North West of NSW, there is a place called the Warrumbungles .. an ancient landscape
rich with Aboriginal History and surface land formations containing remnants and relics of several
Glacial periods in our history .. somewhere that is endowed with many rare gemstones which cannot
be mined because it is Sacred Land to the Aborigine and the Government has seen fit to protect the
area as a National Park ..
According to the travel brochures, there was some sort of beauty about the place, brilliant
vivid colors, lots of wild life .. you know, the usual "spiel" that they usually make
up on the second hand account of somebody else ..
When I drove in through the portal, it was nothing like I imagined ... a harsh brown landscape
contained within the canyon walls .. the occasional kangaroo ducking and weaving to avoid the
thousands of campers and day trippers who had come for a look ..
I wandered over to the ranger station, looked at the display .. and I must have said something
different to the Ranger because he took me aside and handed me a set of typed notes ..
" These are some of my observations .. but you cannot see all of the scenery by hanging
round the valley floor - or by looking at our photographs .. I've been all over these mountains,
and if you really want the experience, I'll offer you a track that not too many seem to want to
Its the quickest way up the mountain, goes straight up .. its a little more difficult than the
tourist route.. but its funny, not too many tourists seem to be able to get to the top - even by
the easy track ..
So, I scribbled a few notes on what he told me .. and with thanks, I parked the car and started
to walk .. I must admit that I felt a little bit uneasy .. anyway, I found the start of the track
.. a bit suspicious because it didn't look like it had many people walk it .. not like all of the
other tracks in the area .. and so, I started my journey up the mountain .. pausing a while at the
little creek to sit and listen to the water as it babbled happily over the rocks, splitting into
smaller streams only to come together again a little further on .. .. and to talk to the spirits
that looked out at me from under the native vegetation .. even spoke to the snake that was
placidly sunning itself on a rock in the middle of the path (until I realized what sort of snake
it was .. and then I had to resist the temptation to turn tail and run in the opposite direction )
.. but it was only the guardian .. and the guide .. the angle of its body pointed down the faint
track that I was to follow ..
Upward .. the trees closed in over the ever narrowing track producing an umbrella that blocked
out the sun .. or was it the threatening thunder clouds .. somewhere off in the distance a
Kookaburra cackled hilariously .. was he laughing at me .. faces peered out at me through the
shrubbery .. or were they the nightmares of my mind ..
It started to rain .. the glossy brochures didn't ever talk about the rain .. a few large spots
started to splatter and erase the dusty footprints that my feet had left .. then the rain got
I'm turning back, I thought out loud .. it's not that far back to the car. "No you're
not" said a voice inside my head .. I looked around for the source of the voice - and off the
track to the left, spotted a small cave in the side of the cliff face ..
The rain got heavier as I sheltered from the thunder and lightening .. some of the bush
creatures, seemingly fearless joined me in my shelter .. a mother wallaby and her young nuzzled
into my hand and took a bite from the sandwich that I was eating whilst the beady eyes of a large
lizard looked down from the rock ledge above my head ..
I was shaking pretty well by the time the rain stopped .. I stepped out of the cave and started
back down the track .. taking all of two steps before some unseen force grabbed hold of me and
turned me round to face up the track which was, now running with water ..
the sun came out and a strange mist enveloped the world around me .. the trees took on a ghost
like appearance. In the silence after the storm, the pounding of my own heart was even louder that
I imagined it could be.
It seemed like I had to go on .. over the fallen logs - picking my way carefully through the
mud holes. The Track got much steeper and the seat of my pants took on a decidedly wet, brown
appearance as I picked myself up after losing my footing ..
and the sun disappeared again. The wind started to blow and my wet coat started to get very
cold. Now .. this was the middle of summer in Northern NSW .. but it started to snow .. not normal
snow but grains of fine ice driven by the wind started to sting my face.
Left foot .. right foot .. one in front of the other .. head down .. and then, a sign post -
another track .. a shortcut back down to the car park.
Well, there was no point in even trying that one - the wind and something else pushed me and
stopped me from going anywhere else but up (and the voices in my head were very insistent) .. to
the point where the track disappeared and the only markers were arrows chiseled into the rock face
How much further .. one hand in front of the other - blinded by a brilliant sunlight burning
its way through the mist ..
There were no more markers. Before the shivering could overtake my whole body uncontrollably,
the mist cleared. Had I been dreaming?
There was not a cloud in the sky, but the little banks of snow and the water running over the
rock that I had just climbed told me that the dream was very real. I couldn't find any difference
between the tears streaming down my face and the water that was left from the drenching I had just
been through ..
But .. I saw the view .. for miles around .. and nothing .. no photograph that I had ever seen
from that point could convey the panorama that opened in all directions.
and, yes .. in that moment, I was alone .. except for the bird that landed beside me .. looking
at me first with one eye and then the other. I don't know if you can imagine what it is like to
stroke the glistening, silky feathers of a wild black crow while it sits quite happily on your
shaking knee ..
How long had I sat there, burning up from the inside and soaking wet on the outside? But the
sun was starting to disappear over an adjacent mountain. From the opposite direction a full moon
was starting to rise .. I started back down the mountain .. but by a different path .. the one
many of the other tourists had taken over the years .. never in my life had I seen so much
wildlife - animals coming out in the moist fresh air ..
I never saw another human being - it had been as though I was totally alone with my experience.
From some of the trees, the large eyes of the owls watched my passing in the moonlight that
illuminated my path ..
Later that night in the Bar that all of the tourists were gathered in, loudly discussing the
pictures and the displays - complaining about the primitive facilities and the rain and flies -
how they never saw any wildlife and how their children screamed and fought - that it was nothing
like they imagined ..
The old Ranger - an Aboriginal Elder caught my eye, raised his glass to me, then bent over and
drew a circle in the dust on the dirt floor .. yes, I nodded .. I understood -
and without any words passing between us, we both knew ...
"A Transpersonal Metaphor - the spiritual experience of the journey through life" was written, published and © by Transpersonal LifeStreams®, Tasmania, Australia.
The URL's of this page are
http://www.anunda.com/notebook/traveler.htm and http://www.lifestreams.com.au/notebook/traveler.htm.