The Hill


This week, my usual posts are suspended as I take part in the Your Turn Challenge. As a part of this challenge, those of us who participate are committing to a daily post for seven days, starting today January 19th to January 25. You can read the posts of other participants here. Why am I taking part? Because – I want to get unstuck.

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Every Sunday morning, we join hundreds of other people in walking up this hill. The gatekeepers keep everyone out till the sanctified hour approaches. 6.30 am. The gates open. People start walking. The way is very steep in some places, just steep in some places and pleasantly sloping upwards in some other places. Up and up and up, the path goes.

As the mass of people start, we all break up into groups…walking with our friends and loved ones. Some groups race to the top. Others meander … each footstep goes onward upward. We see the light at the top, what can be our destination. The sun rising.

As we walk, we talk. In this morning of the Sabbath, we talk about our worries, our angers. We talk about our sadness and our hurt. We talk about how we judge ourselves unworthy and try to give each other solace on what appears to be a fruitless existence, this daily toil, this constant struggle for me and mine and food and nourishment. Is this all life is, we wonder…

As we pass one group, they are talking about their worries, and we laugh…”Oh, so trivial! They are complaining about that?” And then we pass another group, and overhear their worries. We tell ourselves, “We need to be greatful we don’t have those worries!”. We pass yet another group, and we say “Ah ha! They are in the same boat as us”.

As we talk about all our worries, I wonder, what does the hill make of all these troubles it listens to? Does it care? Does it worry? Is it annoyed? Is this path made of just worries?

We reach a point where we decide to turn back. And our footsteps trace the same path we used to get there, but just downhill. Is it the downward incline, or is it that we have emptied out our cesspool of toxic thoughts? Whatever it is, there is a spring to our step and lightness to our bearing. We talk about all the good things happening to us. We are thankful, for what we have. We look with hope and promise and anticipation and gratitude for what’s coming. We make plans, we make promises, we tell each other new paths we might explore. We comment on how beautiful this life is, and what a gift it is.

As we pass another group of people going down, overhearing their hopes, we smile and think “May you be happy.”. Another group, excited, gesticulating widely. We smile and think “May you be safe”. More groups of people are running down, talking loudly, excitedly, pumping fists in the air. “May you be strong. May you be at peace”.

I wonder, is the hill happy for us? Did we clean out the toxins we left in the path with our own happiness? Does the hill think us silly, for not knowing our own minds? Does the hill care that we use it in this way?

We reach the bottom and time to get on with our lives. And I have one thought which doesn’t leave me. I wonder, we go to the hill for clarity. But where does the hill go?

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