Extraordinary experiences are not to be sought after, stirred up, or in any way "worked for." Genuine ones are not in the realm of "our work" at all; they are objective and God-sent, not subjective and self-caused. Should a person desire them to the point of deliberately striving after them, he lays himself open to the greatest spiritual suspicion. He is manifestly desiring God's gifts, God's comforts, rather than desiring God. He is seeking excitement rather than the basic spiritual virtue of stability.

Gale D. Webbe, The Night and Nothing

The last experience of God is frequently the greatest obstacle to the next experience of God. We make an absolute out of it. … All great spirituality is about letting go.

Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs

The mountain journey is about becoming more aligned with God's presence and purposes in our lives. … The goal is not the glamour of iridescent light, but Christ-shaped encounters with others. The journey is not about getting out of this world or out of ourselves into some more glamorous place—but about getting as deeply into this world as God, in Christ, has.

Robert C. Morris, "Riding the Wild Mountain Ox," in Weavings

The knowledge of God is a mountain steep indeed, and difficult to climb.

Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses

May god shield you on every steep,
May Christ keep you in every path,
May Spirit bathe you in every pass.

The Carmina Gadelica, trans. Alexander Carmichael

The mountains are ready to teach us the way of all life if we will clamber into their laps. … The mountaintop vision is raw, wild, and life-giving. In no way can I take credit for it. It is the gift of the mountain. The vision is brief. I want to hang on, stay on top forever. Yet I must come down the mountain to continue my journey. I have to let go.

Susan Mangam, "Seeing Things As They Really Are," in Weavings

After the ecstacy, the laundry.

Book title by Jack Kornfield

The path by which the Lord ascended is winding, twisting this way and that; [but] whoever wishes to climb up to pray can easily make the ascent.

Elisaeus, as quoted in The Journal of Theological Studies

The significance of desert and mountain is not who resides here, but what we ourselves have left behind in coming.

David Douglas, Wilderness Sojourn: Not in the Desert Silence

If my hands were to hover in the sky like powerful eagles and my feet ran across mountains as swiftly as the deer; all that would not be enough to pay you fitting tribute, O Lord my God.

Jewish hymn from the Talmudic period

When you reach the mountaintop, you're only halfway.

Mountain climbers' proverb

Related Elsewhere

Past Reflections columns include:

Word Made Flesh (December 20, 2002)
Desert Springs (November 25, 2002)
Matters of the Mind (October 16, 2002)
Bumper stickers (August 6, 2002)
Preaching (July 18, 2002)
Prayer (June 24, 2002)
Suffering and Grief (May 20, 2002)
Writers and Words (April 18, 2002)
Crucifixion (March 28, 2002)
God's Mission (February 13, 2002)
On Enemies (January 8, 2002)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)
Love & Marriage (November 13, 2001)
The Word of God (October 22, 2001)
Leadership (October 11, 2001)
Suffering (September 13, 2001)
Change (August 14, 2001)
Living Tradition (July 18, 2001)
Sacred Spaces (June 11, 2001)
Friendship (May 17, 2001)

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