A conversation between the mountain and the mountain climber

1. 'I have stood on many peaks, in all the mountain ranges in the word. Have reached everything, the unfulfilled feeling remained. But now, so it seems, I have found the ultimate mountain. It was suddenly there. Irresistibly I was drawn to it. Mountain of mountains, I will master you'.

2. 'On my mountain you forget what you have learned. Your experiences don't count. Your equipment is worthless. Climb theory, I laugh about it. You arrive at the top with empty hands. I will teach you what real climbing is.'

3. 'Climbing with empty hands, that time is past. Good material, that is the basis. Super lightweight to the top. This time completely alone, without help. With the newest novelties. The sponsors guaranteed it. Supplies via guided mini helicopters, 'the newest of the new'.

4. 'Lovingly I allow the climber up to my sides. I teach him two facts: you climb here and now and you always see that you climb. There is only climbing and resting. He will realize that he is no climber. I will stimulate him to converse with me, to give up reticence and to let go of everything that he knows, because past experiences are no guarantee for the future.'

5. 'I don't know what is going on. It seems it all doesn't make sense any more. So much experience and still it seems as if it falls short. Or it doesn't entirely work anymore. My climber's feeling abandons me sometimes. Solutions for problems, and there were plenty of those, don't come as quickly as before. I see myself doubting more. Equipment burdens me sometimes.'

6. 'Detachment is happening already. He is not climbing a route, so as he still thinks. I intervene, push him if he needs to be pushed, offer resistance if he needs to be slowed down. I change the landscape, the weather, and I keep repeating: how is it here/now? Stop fighting yourself. Don't climb is my ultimate advice. There is no climber. And that I repeat endlessly.'

7. 'Now I am leaving the last base camp on my way to the top. Damn bloody awful mountain keeps changing. But I am beginning to love him. Without him I am nothing. Remarkable, if I don't try to climb I have more energy. Therefore I have left part of the equipment behind. I have been plagued the last few days by a constant stream of thoughts and feelings about previous trips. I begin to see that now. Will it finally become clear to me why I am climbing? I enjoy the silence more and more and I can't remember previous trips. The silence and the mountain creep into me'.

8. His energy is becoming free now and therefore he doesn't climb with a goal, but just for the sake of climbing. He is beginning to realize that there is actually no climber, but the silence of the mountain carries him and propels him. He has never been able to surrender to the mountain. The mountain was always an enemy that had to be conquered. The distinction between mountain and climber is falling away. The peak is no longer an issue. Not climbing his system floats along.'

9. 'The peak is reached. It was different than expected. I have more the feeling that the peak has reached me instead of the other way around. Not climbing helps immensely, through that it goes by itself. The mountain carries me forward. I am the mountain and the mountain is me. Now I have to return, in the silence to let the not climbing go on working during the descent. Remaining here on top is not an issue. Descending along the same base camp is no longer possible. The heavy reaction remains, seemingly I have to work through a lot, but it may be there, just as the mountain maybe.'

10. 'He has realized what he actually is; the mountain, the silence, not the climber. It is clear for him that he must return on the other side. It happens by itself. He lets the fundamental change be seen. Everything that his system shall still undertake will come form the silence of the mountain. And the mountain of mountains, appear to be only a grain of sand in space.'

11. 'For the first time in a descent I am conscious of the muscles that need to work. But I realize that it is always the same muscles regardless of the action that arises. Not climbing I descend towards the bottom. 'It becomes clearer with every step', to put it that way. I am no longer so overpowered by fear, sadness or loneliness. It happens sometimes, but it is allowed to be there, I can remain looking. Stillness has become my base camp.

12. 'My love of the mountain and what it has taught me become ever greater. And still I know that I have to leave the mountain soon. What I have realized I will never lose again. The feeling of the total OK-ness of everything and everyone hangs like a cloud of knowing around me'.

13. 'The climber is the mountain, the mountain is the climber. The mountain searching for itself has found itself. The climber no longer rejects the mountain. And he realizes in great thankfulness that the change would not be possible without the mountain. It has made him strong. Through the many changes on its faces he has developed strength, that is as solid as the silence.'

14. 'I stand at the foot of the mountain with empty hands. I have left everything behind. I no longer know the way I have followed. I never came back, I never went up the mountain.'

15. 'The OK-ness of existence rumbles through him. He no longer hides his light under a basket. It may shine freely for everyone, that is his and everyone's birthright.'

[Richard van de Waarsenburg, March 2003]

Richard van de Waarsenburg (Helmond 1947)
works as a publisher of educational children's products. A long and exhausting search (via Lectorium Rosicrucianum, Alexander Smit, Barry Long) brought him home by Hans Laurentians.