After Pureora Forest, I had three days in New Plymouth with other students for Formal Satsang and discourses with my spiritual teacher. I realized that this was the first complete break from the Hikoi since setting out in December. I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to be around the flesh and blood profundity of a living Master of Wisdom. Sometimes just one sentence or concept can reveal something which becomes food for reflection and deepening enquiry for the rest of my life!
One such was
…unless we are in devotion to life, every difference we experience is translated by our isolation (ego) into a threat…

TAUMARUNUI, where there was a hastily advertised “Hikoi picnic” in a local park, revealed a lonesome “one woman walking” with her banner. I had also contacted both paper and radio with no response. I did however, on the Saturday arrange to attend and speak briefly at the Harvest festival service of the local Uniting Church. It was very nostalgic and strange for me to be at a Sunday church service, having grown up in the Methodist tradition. I even vaguely remembered some of the hymns. I’m not sure if the God that I was singing to now was the same as theirs … but there was a poignant, peculiar sweetness to it! And an absolutely genuine feeling of gratitude for the bountiful, beautiful mother earth that the service was honouring.

THE VOLCANOES: I found I really had to pull up enormous “inner fire” to get myself back on the road to the mountains. Again, it was a case of having to push through resistance to rise to the challenge of being around the mountains at this time of year. But as soon as I had risen up, there was a huge feeling of excitement and aliveness to be on my way there…

The pure inspiration of the beauty of the perfect cone of Ngaruahoe, the rugged, snow-bedecked wisdom of Ruapehu, and the utter drama of the landscape around the crossing (which is currently a walk up from Mangatepopo to a view of Emerald lake and back, due to volcanic risk), is so powerful, especially combined with the physical effort of the climb, the bracing cold, the quintessential feel of volcanoes…
I had the coldest night I have ever experienced in a tent at Mangatepopo hut (swapping my one expensive hut ticket for two nights tenting). Shared the second night with two young Israelis and we talked of many things including the Hikoi kaupapa, kibbutz life, serving in the army, anthroposophy, education, India. Wonderful to gaze into and feel wise souls shining through their young eyes.
Huge numbers of people were about around the mountains including a number of school groups. I was totally impressed by two teachers (from separate groups), in their genuine passion to be sharing such experiences with teenagers and the quality of relationship they displayed with the students, and how well the students responded to them. (I shared a night in Whakapapaiti hut with one group and walked a section of the trail with another).

I absolutely love the alpine environment: the beech forest, the tussocky heathlands, the miniature plant species and flowers, dotted amongst the mosses and lichens and tussock, the presence of the great wise mountains, all combine in a way that stirs deep feelings of blessed solitude and spaciousness, and a natural dignity of the human sprit, to have the privilege to be so surrounded by majesty.

I experienced a great healing while in the shadow of Ruapehu…I was in a lot of personal anguish in response to some information I had received and lay myself down on the ground, looking up at Ruapehu through a bunch of tussock. Within minutes several decisions and insights flowed through me in regard to my “dilemma”, and I stood up after about twenty minutes, literally singing.
When I give up the demand that life (or another) changes to be how I am desperately convinced I want, and I surrender into asking for help and wisdom from the great life-force that lives and surrounds me, so much is revealed and generously given.
Since then I have had the great adventure of the Whanganui river, another post next week 🙂

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