The impact of this came home to me in Taroko gorge when I lived in Taiwan. The Japanese talk about "Satori". It's a moment of enlightenment. I had my "Satori" in a gorge in Taiwan one day when three of us decided to to walk the gorge. It takes about five and a half hours to walk it, but we decided to walk it in about five hours. We were going at a good pace up along straight stretch and there in the distance we see about eight Chinese Buddist nuns sitting near a hi-ace van. All heads shaved bald like eight little Sinead O'Connors. As we pass, one of them says "just a moment!" I stop. I'm thinking maybe they have a problem. Perhaps a puncture!
"Excuse me," she says, "but you're missing the gorge.""What? Missing the gorge? How do you mean, I'm missing the gorge""From the moment I saw you coming along in the distance. I knew you had to be from the West, because you are missing the gorge!""Missing the gorge?""Yes, missing the gorge! Sit down, please!" and so I sat. "Close your eyes" and I closed my eyes. "Now listen" and I listened. At first I heard nothing, then I began to hear it. The rushing of the water over the rocks at the bottom. The breeze coming through the trees and the bushes growing on the sides of the gorge.
Now the distant sound of birdsong, something I'd never hear in Taipei where I lived. "Open your eyes, look and see, really see!" I open my eyes. I see the blue water down below. The white foam. The colours of the rocks, plants and trees coming out of the crevices. Violets are pinks. Blues and reds. Splashes of green in between. Then the blue sky like a dome about it all. Then she says, "now, three times breath in deep.... the gorge!" I fill my lungs with fresh air and she turns her little porcelain chin up to me and says, "see, you were missing the gorge!" I look up now to see how far the others have gone. I'll have to jog to catch up with them. Then she hits me in the solar plexus with a final comment, "I hope this is not a symbol of your life!" and it was.... So, tell me. Are you missing the gorge?
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