Wait for it….
My plane rises out of the cloud of yellow-brown smog that shrouds Kathmandu. I peer out my tiny window and watch as the ground falls away and the rumpled green carpet that I associate with Nepal’s topography slowly comes into view we leave the city behind. There is the usual veil of fog, obscuring the details of the emerging mountainous terrain below.
Wait for it…
As the plane continues to rise above the cloud cover, I am searching for the horizon. A vast slate blue vista stretches out from the plane towards the horizon, with white swirling puffs of clouds here and there, floating on top of what appears to be a vast body of water — the ocean. If I did not know that I was in a plane over a landlocked country, I would swear that I am looking at an ocean.
Wait for it….
The line of the horizon itself is blurred with what appears to be a long tube of white cotton candy, stretching from east to west as far as the eye can see. I am traveling in a new direction, west instead of east. I cannot take my eyes from the panorama unfolding outside my window.
Wait for it… I know that something magical is about to happen and I don’t want to miss it.
Quietly, without warning, suddenly they appear on the horizon. They look like icebergs on the ocean that has unrolled beneath us. But they are not, they are that which marks the border between the top of the world (Nepal) and the roof of the world (Tibet) — the Himalayas. I never cease being amazed when my mind finally registers what the apparition that has emerged up from nowhere (it seems) actually is. The Himalayas. I now know they are alive. They are still being created. They are still rising up in real time as India continues to push itself under Asia (see Shiva’s Home post). I am surprised at how much a little study of historical geography enhances my experience of seeing these majestic pinnacles. Eight of the world’s tallest mountains reside here (more than 8,000 meters tall). And all of them, along with their neighboring peaks of less than 8000 meters, are being pushed higher and higher into the heavens to become even taller.
Wow….I am looking at them now….
Everything I see today is for the first time. This is a new section of the Himalayan range for me.
I know that Sargamatha is in the south but, wow…. that is a really really big mountain! Is it is one of the special eight? If so, which one? Could it be Annapurna Massif, with its one peak over 8,000 meters, 13 peaks over 7,000 meters and 16 peaks over 6,000 meters? I do not know but, whatever it is, it is massive. And since when does one mountain have 30 peaks?
As I gaze out watching as first one peak, then another, then another, all new to me, stroll past my window, I am suddenly filled by a simple truth…
All is well in the world. All is well.
When I look at the Himalayas, nothing else matters. All of my worldly cares simply drop away. They are just gone as if they never existed. My mind is filled with a sweet and simple clarity — sattva — that this is all that matters. What this is, I do not know. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know. I just know that this this which has no description is all that matters. Pure essence.
I have often wondered why His Holiness the Dalai Lama (big/ocean master) always reincarnates in Tibet. Now I understand why. When these mountains reach out and kiss my eyes, I know that I am in the presence of something that is beyond mind, beyond body, beyond conventional reality, beyond my brain’s ability to label its experiences at all.
Of course, the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, bodhisattva of compassion, who is present on the planet in our lifetime would have had to come from this place. Of course, all the dalai lamas before him would have had to come from the roof of the world, the place with the world’s tallest peaks of our lifetime, the place with the mountains that haven’t finished becoming. Of course, the next dalai lama will also come from Tibet.
These mountains show us where the world ends and eternity begins. They show us that nothing is constant, that we are all (sentient and non-sentient entities alike) reaching for something beyond ourselves. Really, be serious, who are we trying to kid? From where else could our bodhisattvas of compassion come but from the roof of the world?