Friday, January 13, 2012

Another Side of Mountain Climbing

Koreans love to go mountain climbing and the spiritual page of the Catholic Times has the columnist introduce us to a religious brother whose passion is mountain climbing. The columnist has climbed with the brother, but  because of his body-build mountain climbing is a drudgery; however reaching the top  and seeing the vista is a thrill, and appreciates the brother's attachment to the mountains.

Half of the brother's vacation is spent mountain climbing,  sometimes going with his community members but more often alone. For him, climbing has become a spiritual experience. Those who love mountain climbing can't be attached to vices, he says, the aliveness of the mountain works on the greatest energies of the person to empty and purify them.

When he returns from  climbing, he is concerned with the  mountain climbing gear and sleeping bag. All the clothes and gear are cleaned, washed, his sleeping bag freed from all the sweat and refreshed. The equipment  has had decades of use. Looking on the way the brother cleans and cares for his equipment, one can easily see the attraction the mountain has for him.

However, the personal account was only an introduction to what the columnist wanted to say about mountain climbing. The brother is able by his mountain climbing to recharge himself spiritually-- appreciating  the fullness that comes with emptying oneself and finding in the providence of nature the presence of God.

He was told that to stay at the mountain shelters overnight would cost about 8 dollars.  Everybody  is the same, all are treated as equals. Everybody is invited to the same oneness and peace. However, the columnist regrets that because the gear and clothing for mountain climbing has become so expensive the climbers using the mountain shelters are told to keep their gear beside themselves while sleeping.  The cases of persons greedy for what they see makes this a  regular warning at these shelters.
There is no difference in the hearts of the climbers who love mountain climbing, but the gear shows the disparity between rich and poor. The columnist laments that mountain climbing in many cases has not been a place to empty oneself in preparation for the 'heroic' ascent but rather a place to show off one's equipment.
He pleads to the lovers of mountain climbing to keep mountains as places where we can find equality, camaraderie, and the shared exhilaration of a meditative experience. 

No comments:

Post a Comment