We all know people that live their lives like a roller coaster ride. They are in it for the thrills and chills. They scream at the top of the ride in anticipation of the gravity and pressures of their imminent fall. They scream at the bottom of the ride from the forces that they have chosen to experience. They have found a way to live an exciting life, if only for a relatively few moments.
Others choose a walk through the woods and around the pond. They listen to the wind and the brook, and feel the breeze on their face. They observe and appreciate the day to day experiences that surround them. They don’t need the rush of adrenalin to tell them that they are alive. Those that choose to take the trek instead of the thrill lead a different, but full life as well.
Some feel that the middle way is not living life to the fullest. The sky divers, mountain climbers, and those that swim with the sharks feel great excitement. They exhibit courage to achieve what many would not consider. Sometimes they experience tragic losses at the summit of their endeavors. The fullness of life for those taking the quiet approach comes from the observance of the miracles that make up the Universe.
Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 29, 1953. This success changed the lives of both men. Edmund Hilary was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Tenzing Norgay became the most famous Sherpa in history. The peak of Mt. Everest is 29,035 feet above sea level. Over 100 have died on Chomolungma (Mt. Everest) attempting to duplicate the success of Hilary and Norgay.
The Sherpa did not climb the peaks of the high mountains of the Himalayas before the British visited. They were Buddhists and they worshiped the majestic mountains and eked out a living farming in the tough environment of Nepal. Chomolungma was revered as the Mother Goddess of the World.
As Buddhists, the Sherpa revered the middle way. They worked hard, and it was their endurance and tolerance of the high altitudes that had them hired as porters when the British began climbing expeditions in the 1920s. The British were the adventurers that took on the challenge of reaching the peak of the world’s highest mountain. When asked, “Why try to climb the world’s tallest mountain?” Gregory Mallory responded, “Because it is there.”
The British climbers were the thrill seekers. The Sherpa were the workers, but among them were those willing to risk their lives to be of assistance. The challenge of climbing the mountain was met through this combination of purpose and stamina. The thrill seekers and the followers of the middle path approach gained the view from the top of the world.
Life is best served for some by riding the roller coaster. Others find the walk in the woods provides the tranquility that they find rewarding. Either approach requires discipline and focus. Life does not reward the aimless or careless.
Each person has a life purpose to fulfill, and a spiritual journey to be traveled. Each Spirit Path is unique. Whether we chose to ride the roller coaster or take the quiet walk, we need to take the journey. However you chose to live your life, do it with your eyes and heart as open as you can. Be grateful and cherish each day whether you are at the top of the ride or walking by the lake.