“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Twenty years ago at this time of year I trekked to Everest Base Camp with a couple of my friends who were attempting an Everest summit. It’s a thirty mile trek through beautiful country, crossing over raging rivers on precarious bridges, stopping at little Nepalese villages, staying near Buddhists monasteries with everything (trees, people, commerce) getting sparser and sparser the higher you go. Our rhythm would be to trek one day and rest the next because the climbers needed to let their bodies acclimatize to the thin air.
It was interesting to see what everyone chose to do on the rest day – lie in tents and listen to music or read, try to wash clothes or take a shower if you could find facilities, hike around the local area, go into a little village if one was nearby, play cards, or sit around a tea house table telling stories. It was a day that we weren’t on the move so there was no schedule. I usually would chose some alone time and then some time listening to stories. Amongst mountain guides, especially the ones I was with that trip, the ability to tell stories is nearly as good as their ability to climb.
Thinking back on that trek, I think of not only the amazing adventure and incredible views but the practice of the day of rest. Because we all need that day of rest to restore our spirits and bodies before we can climb again. But at home, the choices are too many and the pace too hectic that I often forget to celebrate the day of rest. So I’m inspired by my choices on that trip – spend a little time alone meditating and then swapping stories with others, even if this time it’s on a blog.
One day at about 15,000 feet of elevation we were trekking to our next camp site when we came across this football sized flat space where rock cairns had been created for people who had died on the mountain. I’m at a loss to explain the intensity of how sacred that place felt. It was, to say the least, an impressive reminder that we will all meet our ultimate resting place and until then, we would be well served to celebrate this sacred life with a day of rest from time to time.