“Each of us is raised with a sense of ‘us and them.’ Initially the ‘us’ is just family, and everyone else is ‘them.’ As we get older and more experienced, more and more people join the ‘us’ but there is usually still a ‘them.’ …
Once in orbit, though, with time to not only work but to gaze at the world over a period of months, I noticed my perception shifting. As I sent pictures to the ground and commented on them, I found myself unthinkingly referring to everyone as ‘us.’ …
I would see a city that I knew well and just 30 minutes later, see that exact same pattern of settlement in a city I had never heard of. It forced me to face the commonality of the human experience, and our shared hopes and desires.”Chris Hadfield in An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
First there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain. At last, there is only a mountain, just like there always already was, right from the beginning. And it couldn’t be more obvious.
—Buddhist saying as found in Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening by Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard and Marco Morelli
Seeing the mountain
Alex and Jane McKeague of Ottawa lived and worked for two years in Africa.
Several times during their stay they drove by Mount Kilimanjaro. Each time clouds shrouded the mountain and it couldn’t be seen. The people with them said with great excitement, “There’s Mount Kilimanjaro!” But they couldn’t see it. They couldn’t believe that a mountain was even there.
One day, when a visiting friend required a drive to the airport, they headed out in the dark of night. They delivered their friend to the airport, saw her flight off and then returned to their car for the drive home. When they pulled out of the airport, the sun of a new day shone on the full glory of Kilimanjaro.
The awestruck couple stopped the car, climbed out and gaped in wonder at the snow-capped mountain standing alone in the midst of sun-drenched Africa. They marvelled at something they had heard about but couldn’t believe.
I have many friends who don’t “get” faith. That’s OK.
Maybe it’s not their time yet. Maybe one day the clouds will dissipate for them and they will see a snow-capped mountain that they can’t believe was there all along.