Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Holding Up the Sky

A visit to the temple of Karnak, is to boldly step back into the dream which was yesterday. A vision of such magnitude and majesty that we cannot possibly comprehend the scope and scale of its vision.
The history books tell us that it is more than 3500 years old. 30 Pharaohs built one upon the others achievements, over 1500years. They say it is the largest temple complex in the world. As you wander through the restored area there is stil much much more that is unexplored, which lies in jig saw piles, strewn across grassy fields.

On my first visit here 20 years ago, I had gotten up early in the small town of Luxor, which is a few miles off and ran alone here early in the morning. The complex was locked and so ran in a lazy loop across the desert around to the back of the place. Dogs barked, and the air was cool enough to see your breath, but there was no locked gate there and I simply walked in. I came here to the Hypostyle Hall with its 134 columns and had the place to myself. Just birdsong filled the air and the dawn light was sharp and bright. I found myself sitting, with my back against one of these columns and fell into a deep sweet dream, of the glory that must have been. I felt the past softly approach and embrace my silent mind, whisper, "this is what man can do." My heart then asked, "What can man be?" The past just smiled at me and said, "you must find the eternal temple inside your heart, you must find and dwell in your own soul."

This is our very dear friend Ahmed Hanz Kalifa. He is with the Egyptian Athletic federation here in Luxor and he was able to take us everywhere and everywhere we went he knew everyone there, and with everyone, he had a cheery embrace. From the valley of the Kings to Karnak, to a small stony field where kids ran barefoot. He spent the better part of 2 days with us and somehow managed to keep busy with his many other responsibilities.

No matter where you look there is just so much to see, and if each time you ask, what it is, you just keep adding to the endless questions.

There are just so many stories writ and carved and painted and placed with such loving care upon the stones.

You cannot help but feel so small when art and history have come together in such a powerful way.

The scale is so grand and our grasp is so small when we attempt to see it all. Whether you stand far away or poke in as close as close can be.

Our guide has been trained to tell the tales. Not to decipher, not to decode, not to keep track of it all. Just to tell you enough that your mind cries no more and wants to fly away. The thing is, the heart wants to stay, to rest, to feel the past with its haunting song that tells us that the spirit within us is stronger, than all the walls and spires combined.

The Pharaohs had so many stories to tell about their lives. The spirit has just one.

We can lift a stone towards the skies, but is it not better to lift a lighter weight, that takes no hands, no force to move. To simply lift up our own hearts and to help lift up the hearts of others.

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