If you can imagine a hidden place, tucked safely away from the world… concealed by walls of high, snow-capped mountains… a place rich with all the strange beauty of your nighttime dreams… then you know where I am.
-the Himalayas, as described by Heinrich Harrer in Seven Years in Tibet.
This is from my favorite scene of Seven Years in Tibet, which is one of my favorite movies. I thought of the movie often in Nepal because I was amongst the Himalayas, but also because it’s obviously a very spiritual film, and the natural beauty of the place ignites my spirituality.
On the second day of my trek, I first saw the mountains of the Himalayas. We climbed up-up-up… up into the sky… gaining ~4,500 feet in elevation (Tikhedhunga is at ~5,000 feet, and Ghorepani is ~9,500 feet).
While I’m a more ‘spiritual’ person, I appreciate all religions AND the literature produced from them. I love the beautifully written poetry of the Bible, particularly Genesis, and I was thinking of it while trekking.
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
Seven Years in Tibet illustrates the complicated (non-) relationship between Heinrich and his son, whom he’s never met. In a letter to his son, he writes:
In this place where time stands still, it seems like everything is moving. Including me. I can’t say I know where I’m going nor if my bad deeds can be purified. There are so many things I have done that I regret. But when I come to a full stop, I hope you understand that the distance between us is not as great as it seems.
His letter to his son illuminates angst, love, remorse, hope… and he’s internally unsettled.
We’re all searching for something, aren’t we?
I saw this sign on the wall in the dining room of the Chandra Guest House:
At that moment, in the headspace I was in, reading those words was extremely impactful.
It’s strange how feelings reach us and escape us as time unyieldingly pushes forward – and suddenly, what was once a worrisome burden is only memory, moved out of the way and replaced.
It takes the right concoction of inspiration and experience… And then we’re no longer chasing ghosts – we’re chasing rhinos, and we’re not building walls but we’re surrounded by walls of snow-capped mountains, and there is a sort of alignment in everything we see, at every moment. Peace.
When we feel there’s nothing more to search for, we do come to a full stop. And in other ways, we’re free to journey onward, to climb other mountains and focus on the true meaning of life.
Next up: Cool Koreans and Climbing Down