reaching the top

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

― Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach the summit of Mt. Everest

Edmund Hillary (left) and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay approach 28,000 feet (8,534 meters) on Mount Everest on May 28, 1953. The next day Hillary would become the first human to stand atop the world's highest mountain, with Tenzing joining him seconds later.

Edmund Hillary (left) and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay approach 28,000 feet (8,534 meters) on Mount Everest on May 28, 1953. The next day Hillary would become the first human to stand atop the world’s highest mountain, with Tenzing joining him seconds later.

People who do mountain climbing are just bored people.  You know, just people who don’t have anything to do in their lives.  And for those who even attempt to reach the top of the highest mountain in the world called Mount Everest, I thought they were crazy.  What were they doing?!  Why couldn’t they just do volunteer work in helping other people?  Be a man for others.  Save lives.  What’s up with this mountain climbing?

These were my questions back then, until I came across this article on June 23, 2007, from the newspaper Philippine Star, written by Rod Nepomuceno which not only gave me peace and comfort, but also gave me a new realm of understanding about my humanity.  Here’s an excerpt:

1953 Mt. Everest Expedition where Edmund Hillary was part of.

1953 Mt. Everest Expedition where Edmund Hillary was part of.

“Whereas other creatures act on sheer instinct or react to what’s going on around them, man does things that are sometimes inconsistent with the nature of most living things or contrary to what his five senses tell him.  Climbing Mt. Everest is a perfect example.  Any other creature will avoid the trek due to the instinct of self-preservation.  But not man.  Man sees things differently.  We see beyond what our five senses tell us.  We try to explore the deepest oceans and we venture into the deepest recesses of space.  All our five senses tell us, “Hey, don’t go there.  It’s too dangerous.”  And yet we do.

“Why?  Because there is something in all of us humans that make us always aim high.  It is innate in us to go beyond what is around us.  And this is precisely what convinces me that there is more to life than what we perceive in our day-to-day experience.  This convinces me that there is a greater meaning to all the mundane things we do—e-mailing, meeting, planning, texting, calling, there is something much higher than these activities, and our very nature makes us gravitate towards this higher plane, the highest level of existence.

Tenzing Norgay was 39 years old (right) and Edmund Hillary was 34 years old when they both finally climbed to the top of the world on May 29, 1953.

Tenzing Norgay was 39 years old (right) and Edmund Hillary was 34 years old when they both finally climbed to the top of the world on May 29, 1953.

“The Everest climbers are reminders that there is a higher plane that we always need to search for.  Even if we tried to avoid it, we can’t.  Because, as George

"We didn't know if it was humanly possible to reach the top of Mount Everest." – Sir Edmund Hillary

“We didn’t know if it was humanly possible to reach the top of Mount Everest.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Mallory said, it’s there.  Sure, I have to admit, there’s no one answer for everyone.  My concept of a higher plane can be radically different from that of the next guy.  But I do know that we all have to climb our Mount Everests to find the answer.  In a way, that’s really what life is all about:  finding the courage to climb your own Mount Everest.

“Are you still treading the long and winding road?  Don’t worry, the time will come when you will hit that mountain, your Everest.  And whether you like it or not, you’ll have to make a choice to climb it or ignore it.  But even if you try to ignore it, it will always hound you.

“In the end, it’s your mountain to climb.”

 

Edmund Hillary standing at the base of Mount Everest staring at the monster he would soon try to conquer.

Edmund Hillary standing at the base of Mount Everest staring at the monster he would soon try to conquer.

Sources:  Philippine Star, RolexMagazine.com, National Geographic

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