(Photo taken from the train in the morning along the journey to Tibet)
23 August 2010. It is 11.15pm as the train rumbles along its track, overlooking the range of the Qilian Mountains.
The light from the bright full moon of the 7th lunar month cast a majestic silhouette over the plateau. Sitting on a bunker bed, shared with three other friends, the room barely accommodates our luggage that we brought for our 13-days expedition to Tibet. At the moment, the enchanting country that I have heard so much of is merely a figment of an imagination in my mind. It will be another nineteen hours before we finally arrive at our destination.
I am struggling with my breath as I go in and out of my sleep. The body is acclimatizing itself to the altitude that increases by the hour. Some are complaining of chest discomfort. My neighbouring friend sleeps with a laborious breath. No one can tell what will be in stored for us when morning comes though many of us have prepared ourselves with local medicine that supposedly helps to reduce discomfort due to the altitude.
Isn’t this what life is all about? Each moment of living is to prepare us of the inevitable – though we have an iota of what life is in stored for us, but ultimately when the time really comes it does not come exactly as what we want or how we had perceived it to be. They say life is uncertain and I say perception is constantly changing and thus nothing, nothing is ever perceivable except change itself.
When I wake up in the morning I will know what is here for me – life hangs on a thread, as I face my own vulnerability subjected to the change of nature, of climax and my body adherent to it. I am far, far away from home, from the comfort of what I usually would know what to do, everything by my finger tips. But here, 5,000m above the sea level, anything can happen, not excluding death. Already some of us are showing signs and symptoms of discomfort – everyone moving in slow motion and speaking too, seems to take awhile for it to be verbalized.
The landscape is majestic and panoramic but the heart is in constant battle of maintaining awareness of not overstretching itself. Any excitement only weakens the heart and making breathing laborious and uncomfortable. Metaphorically, this is what we experience of life. We can’t really get a full percentage of what life is offering us as we are deeply bounded by conditionings of our belief systems. The dos and don’ts stop us from living our lives fully. We seldom question our limitation. We live each moment in subjugation to our views, resign to the fate of what is in our space.
Though I think I live freely, I am not free. Though I think I am here travelling up to Tibet, I am still experiencing everything within the confinement of the mind – that what I see, think, smell, feel or hear are merely projections of my own perception. I am in Tibet yet I am not. It just dawned upon me again that I have been nowhere, gone nowhere.
And I can only sum out this experience as what I had read from Your Immortal Reality:
The secret of reawakening to your immortality is in mastering not the things of this world, but the way you look at this world.