Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mountain Climber

I called out to him, "Harold, wait for me!"

As I broke out of the trees, Harold was getting further away, stepping briskly from rock to rock.

"Harold, wait for me!"I shouted as loud as I could. "I'm coming. I'm coming!"

But he didn't stop. So I just ran all that much faster, scrambling over the rocks, desperately trying to catch up to the Master.

My continued shouting brought no response.
* * * * * *
Strangely enough, just moments before I had been in Chris' living room. The ECK Satsang class was drawing to a close. We typically ended by singing the HU for a minute or two.

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. Then I softly sang "Huuuu . . . " with the other four members of the class.
* * * * * *
Suddenly, I found myself in a wooded area. I could see the light streaming through the trees from an open area ahead of me. I started walking that way.

Chris' living room was no longer within reach -- like something barely forgotten, like a word just on the tip of my tongue.

As I got closer I could see a rocky streambed where the trees ended. To my surprise, I saw Harold Klemp, the Living ECK Master, making his way along the stream.

"Harold, wait for me!"I shouted. "I'm coming."

Only after I caught up to him did he stop and turn to face me. We were now standing at the base of a huge mountain. It was a near-vertical wall of rock that ascended into obscurity beyond the clouds.

Is that where he's going?
How far up does it go?

He looked at me -- but with the most expressionless face I've ever seen. There was no greeting. No response at all.

A bit disconcerted by the silence, I stammered, "I . . . um . . . I want to go with you."

He just looked at me. That's all.

Today, the look on that face is my definition of inscrutable. Could I go with him? Did I say something wrong? There wasn't an iota of feedback on his face.

Shifting my feet and wiping my sweaty palms on my pants, I didn't know what to do but stand there. And wait.

Finally, he said, "The way I go is very long."


I looked up at that rock wall and then I looked down the way the stream traveled. Maybe if I followed the stream, I could get wherever I needed to go just as quickly.

Nah, so it's a little bit longer. No big deal.

"That's okay," I replied. "I'd like to go with you."

Again, only that inscrutable face. Why didn't he say something? I couldn't make out even the slightest smile or frown. Did he want me to go or not?

So, I just waited. I felt naked, sort of like in a spotlight. Somehow, I stood my ground.

Eventually, he spoke again. "The way I go is very long and very hard."


Long and Hard? Uh, oh. That didn't sound good at all. I could handle a bit longer. But harder too! I'm sort of allergic to hard work. The prospect of following that stream was looking much better all the time.

Eh, what's a little hard work. Okay, suck it up.

"That's okay," I replied. "I'd like to go with you."

Again, that blank face. Was he trying to discourage me? Was my request out of line? I couldn't tell.

I was pretty uncomfortable with him looking at me that way. But I waited.

"The way I go is very long and very hard and very painful," he finally said.


Well, that does it. Maybe I could handle a little sweat and extra time, but pain? Why put up with that? It couldn't possibly be painful following that stream instead.

When that pain idea finally stopped bouncing around inside my head, I swallowed hard and unclenched my jaw. I was scared, but I could still see what I wanted.

"That's okay," I replied. "I'd still like to go with you."

Not a flicker on his face. I couldn't read him at all. I worried about what he must be thinking of me.

Again, it seemed like a long wait before he said anything out of that deadpan face.

"The way I go is very long, very hard, very painful, and I cannot guarantee you any success."

All for nothing?

No way, José! Who in their right mind would do that? Why waste all that time and effort if nothing is to come of it? There has GOT to be a better way.

The rattling pots and pans inside my head finally quieted down. On one hand I had long, hard, pain for maybe nothing. But then on the other hand, I could go with the Master. Which would it be? I surprised myself.

"That's okay," I replied. "I'd just really like to go with you."

No response. But I was getting the hang of this. So I waited. If he was trying to discourage me, it wasn't going to work.

"The way I go is very long, very hard, very painful. I cannot guarantee you any success, and you are likely to die."


That one hit like a punch in the gut.

Oh, no. Not good. Not good at all. But after I got my proverbial breath back, it still didn't matter. Come what may, I was going. By this time, I was convinced nothing outweighed the chance to go with the Master. Without wasting a moment more, I responded.

"I don't care about all that. I just really, really want to go with you!"

Without the slightest twitch of an eyelash, he just turned away from me and started climbing up that wall of rock.

I wouldn't of had a clue about how to proceed on my own, so I carefully watched where he placed his hands and feet. I mimicked his moves exactly, right behind him.

He never looked back. It was up to me to follow as far as I could.

There was nowhere else I'd rather have been.

* * * * * *

"May the blessing be," spoke the class leader, signaling the end of the HU chant.

I opened my eyes, not quite sure whether I was relieved to be on the ground in Chris' living room or disappointed that I wasn't up there hanging on for dear life with the Master.

It seemed I had been gone for an hour, but everyone else acted as if it had been only a minute or two.

Regardless, I returned a different person. I knew something I didn't know before.

I was going. No matter what.

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