Wednesday, January 28, 2009

misunderstanding leads to spiritual experience

Of all the sights and experiences, yesterday's trek up mt. Sinai was one that I will never forget. When we arrived, I wasn't able to keep up with the main part of the group as we walked up the gravel path to the monastery, consequently I missed out on much of the discussion only catching the tail end. After walking around the monastery, I notice that everyone was missing and thought that they had already left to go up the mountain. I wanted to catch up and rented a camel that came with a young boy for a guide and up I went. After about an hour, I realized that I had been mistaken and I found that I was alone on the mountain with only my young guide and my camel. After a few moments of panic, I resolved myself to making this trek on my own.

I found peace in the silence. The only sounds were the breathing and footsteps on the camel and an occasional clicking noise from my guide who walked behind me. The breeze blew my hair and I breathed in deeply. As we rounded a turn, the sun began to peek from behind the clouds and rays of sunshine spread out in the sky. I'd never had such a spiritual feeling. As I looked around, I realized that moses looked as this same view such a long time ago. It truly felt like holy ground.

Once at the plateau, I got off the camel and gazed at the magnificent view that surrounded me. my heart was pounding as I realized that I would have to travel down the mountain the way I came up. I was truly frightened and explained this to the man who worked in the little shop at the plateau. He told my guide to allow me to walk in the steep parts of the path, which he did. I will never forget the boy, Oda, and the gentle kindness that he showed to me, allowing me to hold on to him when I felt unsteady. When we arrived at a more flat place in the path, he helped me up on the camel again and off we went. As we progressed down the hill, I met my group traveling up. When we arrived at the bottom I was sore, but felt a sense of exhilaration. It was like my personal pilgrimage.

Debbie Stein

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