I have read a lot about the nature of duality. How the contrasts of experience afford us perspective which creates desires. If you don’t have a lot of money you usually desire to have more. If you feel tired and sick you want to be energetic and well. When I was going through chemotherapy treatment six years I spent a lot of time in bed feeling ill. Two things kept coming to my mind again and again. One was jogging. Yes, jogging. When I lived in Coogee on Sydney’s beautiful eastern beaches, I took up jogging for the first time ever. I marvelled at how with each passing day I could run that little bit further.
When you run, your whole body is engaged. I felt strong and fit and healthy. I even enjoyed the aches and pains in my knees and calf muscles. The physical evidence of my achievement earlier in the day. That was the last time I felt really healthy and my mind had bookmarked it. When you are on chemotherapy treatment your body becomes highly sensitive. My eyes could not tolerate too much light so my room was always dark. As I lay in my bed I saw the sunlight edging the blinds. I yearned for the feeling of the sun on my head and shoulders and to hear the heavy intake of my breath as I ran beside the ocean.
The other image that kept coming to me repeatedly was not an experience I had had. I saw a vast red desert, spotted with salt bushes and scrubs. In the centre of that flat landscape was the great monolith of Uluru. A rust coloured titan, steeped in a powerful spiritual endowment. This sacred place was calling me. I never knew how much my heart wanted to be there, until that moment.
From that point it was always in the back of my mind, a knowing that I would go there. The years went by and a few possibilities to travel fizzled out for one reason or another. The yearning however, did not. Last October your Father and I found ourselves frazzled and exhausted by the daily grind of life. Our relating had become strained and we acknowledged the need for some time out. Time to go somewhere together for an adventure and a well-earned rest. Time to enjoy each other without the distraction of running a household. He asked where I wanted to go and I answered before he even finished the question!
Finally I was going to Uluru. The beauty of the fact that I had waited so long was that I got to experience it with your Father. Perfect timing. When everything had been booked and all the dates locked in, we sat back and marvelled at the wonderful plans we had made!
Your Daddy has given me many first time experiences. I have also opened him to new things and I was pleased to be with him for his first ever plane flight! I spent much of my adult life on planes and in airports so to me, getting on a plane was just like boarding a bus. I watched his mixture of excitement and nerves and it delighted me!
The captain announced that we were about to make the descent to the Ayers Rock Resort airport and I closed the book I was reading. Your Fathers fear of heights meant he needed to close the blind on the window so I was craning my head towards the other side of the plane in case I should catch a glimpse. Everything was flat and the colour of the earth was amazing, so rich.
Suddenly Uluru came into view. I became overwhelmed with emotion and felt my hand go to the base of my throat.
There she was, the great Mother that had been calling me. She had enveloped me with visions when I was helpless, giving me strength and showing me the future when I would come home to her. There I was making my descent, like a little bird on the wing, returning to the protection of the tree.
Getting off the plane we were greeted by a wall of heat. After we checked into our room we quickly made our way to the pool. It was so refreshing as I bobbed around in the water with your Dad. I kissed him and smiled “We’re here”.
We attended a dinner that evening, where we sat in the desert under the stars. It was late afternoon when we arrived at the viewing platform. We enjoyed a glass of bubbly and took turns with other tourists to pose for a photo with Uluru in the background. The heat was oppressive and I felt for the wait staff who wore black outfits while they offered us refills and canapés.
As the sun hit the horizon near Kata Tjuta in the distance, we were invited to the dining area. Last in line because of my juggling a camera and the video, we actually ended up with what I thought were the best seats. With only one other couple at our table we enjoyed an unrestricted view of the desert and the rock, all the other tables were behind us. We enjoyed a delicious meal as the sun set and before we knew it, the sky was dotted with stars. Just before dessert was served a large storm rolled in. Watching the lightning bolts reach across the sky and hearing the thunder throbbing was the pure opulence of nature. However it soon became clear that the storm had a lot of ferocity so we were evacuated from the site.
The next morning I discovered that my camera didn’t work anymore. While looking for a replacement in one of the tourist shops the assistant told me it was a frequent occurrence. It seemed that this space, this place, was so powerful that it rendered equipment useless. The other thing your Daddy and I noticed was a complete inability to comprehend time. There appeared to be a ripple in the space-time continuum.
While reading the details of our morning tours, we noted the pick-up time was 4:15am. We groaned at the thought of it but the excitement of seeing Uluru and Kata Tjuta at sunrise outweighed the pain of such an early start.
The guide and your Dad got along like a house on fire. Both Bushmen with substantial beards, they nattered on like long lost friends while the rest of us helped ourselves to a hot drink and an egg and bacon damper roll at the viewing platform. We all fell quiet just before the sunrise. The smell of the desert and the fragrance of the native plants seemed to permeate me. As the colours changed in the sky, Uluru was no longer a shadowy outline. I saw the changing palette of the rock as many have described. Grey, brown and then red as she welcomed the new day.
Back on the bus we drove the 25km kilometres to Uluru. There is a road that circles the rock and as we drove around it, she changed constantly. Because of the formation of the rock sediment and how she was birthed from the earth at an angle, one side of Uluru is 50,000 years older than the other side. The Great Mother has many stories and secrets that she has kept for longer than we can possibly comprehend.
Uluru is a significant place for the Anangu women. Many rituals and ceremonies were, and still are to a lesser degree, conducted there. My favourite part of the rock was a large cave that was used for birthing. The shape of the cave is the same as a Kangaroo pouch and is named as such.
When we walked closer to the rock we were able to touch her. There was a small area at the base of the rock that we were invited to sit on by the guide. I stepped up onto the rock with all the grace of a fish out of water, under the watchful eye of your Father.
As I sat there I ran my hands across the surface and wondered about the many people and animals that had touched that same place on the rock. I thought about all the sun that had shone upon her and all the rain that had washed over her.
A friend of mine shared my excitement at the impending trip to Uluru. He said he was certain that I would be aware of all the threads of the Universe converging in that sacred place. He was right. There is something deeply religious, something so hallowed that words really cannot accurately describe my experience. Silence is the only way for me to return to that feeling.
Uluru bonded me more firmly with your Father. Uluru ate my camera. Uluru inspired me to write you the longest letter so far even though words seem so flimsy as I try to tell you the story.
Uluru has no eyes but she has seen. Uluru has no ears but she has heard. Uluru never sleeps yet she made me part of her dreaming.
She came to me so that I would go to her. I listened to her and I returned to myself, in a future that had already happened.
Uluru is like God. Constant. Unmoving. Ever present. Indescribable and only to be experienced.
If you ever get the chance to go Seamus, go to her. More importantly, go wherever you are called. What awaits you are the most glorious of gifts. Gifts only your heart can know. That is the only knowledge you will ever need.
“ That shift from body identification to spirit identification, that is the meaning of enlightenment. And that is the same thing as saying ‘going from the perceptions of the mind to the knowledge of the heart’ ” – Marianne Williamson