THERE IS a land without a horizon. If you stand upon this land and stare with a keen gaze far into the distance, you will see, not a horizon, but at the farthest, most visible line, a mountain range.
And when you have arrived this Mountain range and climbed these difficult and painful Mountains of transformation you will, at their top, find yourself upon a plain, a plateau, which to your amazement you will realise to be the level surface of another land, another level, upon which you may stay and experience, or further wander. And when you again cast your gaze far into the distance, towards the East, there from where the light comes, you will one day see again, not a horizon, but another Mountain range…
And so we wandered, a band of insatiable restless seekers, from one level to the next, slowly coming to comprehend that life and development is an inner journey of many stages, arranging themselves like a flight of stairs in ascent, or descent, one step, one level, of maturity following upon the other. And as you climb the Mountain which is the end of one reality, so you ascend the Mountain which is the lowest point of another.
There came a day when we paused upon a plateau and, looking back, saw our past descending like a flight of giant steps behind us, curving gently downwards like a winding stairway round and round an invisible pillar of life, around which our gazes also bent. And as we followed the sight of the descending steps of our former levels, so did each of us recognise his and her own distinct footprint left upon each plain, silent, unobserved by those former friends and newly sighted wanderers we could see trudging down there upon those lands, standing around or shuffling left and right. For where we had seen Mountains and sought them, they had seen only a misty future and a horizon of clouds. And where we had felt restless, they had felt at home.
Like indelible lines on forgotten pages of an old book, our tracks marked the landscape of yesterday’s land wherein our friends yet lived, waiting for changes they would have to bring about themselves. Then I understood why the old book keeps on changing from reader to reader, generation to generation and writer to writer – when you change the present, you change not just the future… you change also the past.
Like seeking thoughts groping their way through the lines of a sealed page, looking back I saw our former comrades wandering sightlessly round and round the footprints we left behind.
And then a few of them would notice the footprints, and maybe feel something happen inside their souls, and follow then them footprints with their eyes curiously… until, with a startled surprise, one or two would make out far in the distance, a mountain range where formerly they saw only a misty final horizon. Amazed they ask themselves where these mountains suddenly came from. Each mountain will be a hard climb, my friend, for with each upward step you must also actually climb over an obstacle which you bear within.
A word of hope for them. A word, a strong wish that flies back, like a bird, over to them; but not everyone will see the bird – only those looking up will. For these eastward-gazing people with a question gleaming deep in their eyes we whispered a word of hope…, and then we turned around again, to experience this new land upon which we stood.
Hard had been the ascent through the Mountains that led into this land, and one or two had fallen behind, trapped still in these mountains, unable yet to complete the transformation. But a few of us had indeed found the plateau at the top.
It was a strange land, for gaze as we may into the distance, on this one we saw no new mountains in the distant future… only land and clouds and a seeming horizon. It was a beautiful and mysterious land… and years have passed now since it has held us in its embrace. We have forgotten to look to the East, seeking the New… This new land has become, finally, our home. For many years now.
Some, I tell you, meanwhile have become bored here… and journeyed back down to their haunts of yore, welcomed back by many a comrade on a recycled rung, horizontal heroes of their own yesterdays. But the most have remained here on this new won plane, experiencing and experiencing…
Years of experiencing, experiences that satisfied some… but left a few seeking for something new. These few increasingly bear a thoughtful look upon their faces. Until one day they said to the rest of us, “Do you see these footsteps that disappear in that direction?” They pointed towards the clouds.
“No, we see them not,” we replied, after following their gaze.
“And do you see those Mountains far away in the distance?…
We raised our eyes and saw only clouds at the horizon.
“No, we see only clouds. There is nothing more, nowhere further. We have reached the summit.”
But these Few would not be satisfied, and one day when we woke up, they were gone, restless souls, towards the cloudy mists in the future.
Often have I stood, silent, on my own, and gazed after their footsteps, for one of them, Kulie, had been my good friend. And I have gazed and gazed towards the Light coming through the clouds in the East. And sometimes when I intently gaze, my heart full of longing and a quietly persistent question, the clouds seem to disappear, and I slowly make them out, vaguely, rugged mountains of reflection, far far away. While on other days, when I simply curiously look across, all I see are clouds hovering above a final horizon. Quiet thoughts cross my mind.
I wonder if upon a mountain which I cannot yet see, a spirit pauses at this very moment, and turning around, sees me upon this level which he has left behind, sees the question in my eyes, and whispers for me a word of hope.
More and more, such questions arise within me. For as much as I love this strange and beautiful state of being, this mature level of thought, this comfort zone and stable throne, and my circle of friends who inhabit with me this point of view, yet stirs within me an old restlessness anew, urging me again to think ahead, to look up, for there is a new perception somewhere and no horizon comprehensible to me.
What are those mountains I increasingly seem to see there, in the distance? Inviting and imposing at the same time. Peaceful and rugged. Why should I brave them if indeed they do exist? But, if they do, what land lies again upon them? Maybe somebody stands upon them now and whispers words of hope for me. And maybe these thoughts I think, and think are mine, in truth are his, calling me, talking to me –
“Seeking spirit, be sure of one thing: There is always something more…”
– CHE CHIDI CHUKWUMERIJE.
From my book:
There is always something more.