Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Up On Your Mountaintop - A Writing Catalyst

I used to imagine climbing in the Himalayas. I had met someone who had taken a trek to that part of the world and and she spoke eloquently about the silence there, the sound of the wind, the complete leaving behind of the world. The going beyond of labels. The going beyond of stuff and need systems. The going beyond of expectation and disappointment. A place to meet your essential self, and where every other concern is irrelevant.

I never made it as far as the Himalayas. On my way there, I found another part of the world where I began climbing spiritual mountains. Thirty years later, I am still climbing. When I finish climbing one mountain, another rears up in front of me.

Reaching the top after a long climb, it’s always worth it. I can see around myself for miles. The deep quiet up there. The wonder of being alone with myself and G-d in a majestic world.

Up there on the mountaintop, there is no one to approve of you or disapprove of you.Up there on the mountaintop, you can see through your own eyes without sponging in the visions that sit in other peoples' eyes. Up there on the mountaintop, you have the luxury of relaxing completely because there is no one to threaten you with an image of who and what you're supposed to be. Up there on the mountaintop, you have the freedom to dream your own dreams.Up there on the mountaintop, you are safe. There's a tree lying on its side. You can sit down with your back up against the log. You can breathe the clear air and look out across to the other mountain peaks. If there arepeople doing what you're doing on those other mountaintops, they are so far away that you can't see them. And they can't see you. You are perfectly alone with G-d. Use your writing to climb up your mountain and sit at the top. What does it feel like to breathe deeply and know that you are safe, completely alone, and invisible to the rest of the world? Do you feel peaceful? If there are nagging thoughts that have followed you up to the top of the mountain, then take them and gently put them into a box that closes securely and send it sliding back down the mountain awayfrom you. What are the weather conditions up on your mountaintop?If it is a clear day, then how far can you see? If there is fog and mist, then what sits revealed to you close by where you can see clearly?

Do you feel discomfort with the intense stillness and the fact that you are completely alone? Can you be patient and see what happens after the initial discomfort begins to wear off? Do you begin to remember what you are carrying inside of you? You contain enough feelings, thoughts, and memories to keep you busy for as long as you choose to stay on your mountaintop. Turn these over in your hands like smooth, richly colored stones you might find in a riverbed.

Or just lie down on your back and look up at the sky, letting your mind wander. If there are clouds, watch them racing across your field of vision. You can write about being on your mountaintop in the form of a poem. You can start each line with the phrase:"On my mountaintop....."On my mountaintop...."On my mountaintop. . .Or choose another phrase to repeat as a refrain. Once you explore your mountaintop you will be able to take it with you wherever you go and in whatever situation you find yourself. It is a place where no one can touch you, where no one take away your inner peace, self-knowing, and experience of G-d’s Presence always being with you. When you climb to your mountaintop, you leave behind all your self-doubt and dwell in peace with yourself just as you are.

Now go to your mountaintop.

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