It’s not where you are – but who you are.

 Many of you who have visited this face book page have “liked” and commented on my experience in traveling and climbing ancient mountains in China. I have written about Mount Taishan and the Dai Temple in Shandong Province on January 2nd, and Mount Qingcheng in Sichuan, on February 14th on my Facebook page.  Both are incredible historic sites and have histories of long attachment to spiritual growth and awareness dating from the earliest days of the shaman and religious history in China, especially the growth of Taoism and man’s attachment to nature and being closer to his divine source, i.e., heaven. Both entries relayed the outcome of having what could be called “a mountaintop experience”. As if you are viewing your life from an elevated consciousness. Being moved to a place of seeming unconscious awareness, without judgment and beyond thinking. Not in the sense that you are better than anyone else, but having a sense that you have arrived. As if you become neutral, unbiased, and once above the clouds atop the mountain you become filled with unconditional love as a reckoning with our source becomes apparent.

Where exactly is this higher mind, this awareness coming from? So quiet and peaceful. You sense it comes from within you and your connection to something you can only define as a higher source, from God. From antiquity, this was the realm of the shaman and the metaphor of what became known as dragons in China. While on the mountain you see references to dragons flying above the clouds carved in stone. Centuries old, these reminders of others who have made this pilgrimage and come down all the better for it. You sense that this must be what paradise is all about. To have been to the mountaintop to view and find “higher mind”. To as Martin Luther King, Jr., in his famous last speech before his death said, “I have been to have been to the mountaintop and seen the other side. I may not get there with you but…” His journey was lived in the present moment epitomized by racial inequality and struggle. His greatness was in knowing what lies ahead for each of us, when we through our own struggles climb our own mountain. To go inward then upward to catch glimpses of who we really are and to where we will ultimately return.

This last fall I visited Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province, and in climbing the mountain was immediately overwhelmed by being above the clouds. Of seeing the tops of adjacent peaks peeking above the cloud cover and being above the clouds for as far as you could see into the horizon. There was an overwhelming presence as if you had arrived. There is a campground and cabins for people to come and experience this oneness, this awareness of your small place in this much larger universe. Where at night the stars seem as if they are close enough to reach out and touch them. To be in communion with your soul.

The question becomes how do we have this mountaintop experience without making the climb itself? Or can we? To be happy, confident, and alive as if to experience this elevated consciousness without the need to climb the mountain. To maintain and stay in this elevated awareness wherever we are. To know it’s not where you are, but who you are. To become rejuvenated and replenished. What is it we do that enables us to experience this “bliss of the divine”?

For myself, this is why living in the moment as if in constant meditation is so defining. As if remaining in the present is all there is when you merge with the core of your innermost self. As if re-integrating with your original agenda and your sense of who you really are. Re-connecting to the stars on the mountaintop, or wherever you happen to be, you get a sense of your journey and it becomes the process. Once in tune with this universal vibration, you know that you will never return home, because your home resides within you. Occasionally visiting the mountaintop in my travels in China serving only as a reminder of the task ahead and the journey I am here to take.

The ultimate question becomes, how we project this eternal spirit from within ourselves, our inner home when we are engaged in like a dance with others. This radiating energy that projects our most basic essence that has the potential of transforming everything and everyone around us as complimentary opposites become one. It is as if you have become the center of mediation as if you have become the ultimate mountain guide. We begin with our breathing, taking our innate awareness inward and upward – then outward – from our own mountaintop, or higher consciousness – to neutrality – to noticing what becomes apparent in our environment – to becoming unconditional love. This is what the ancients taught. This underpinning of our conscious awareness, this oneness that ultimately defines us. It is this that paradise is all about. For eternity’s sake this is who we ultimately become and our task before our final journey to rest among the stars once again.

(Special thanks to Reverend Cathy Norman of Unity of Ventura, California for her inspiration in the above entry).