Gaps is very humble and helpful, thoughtful and insightful, and able to flavour a tour in quite a unique manner, catering even to spiritual desire. It was Gaps that introduced me to Lama Acu Sangye at the foot of Mount Everest. And I have him to thank for such an enlightening experience.
The meeting of Lama Acu, in the darkness of the southernmost Rongbuk Temple meditation cave at the foot of Everest 16,900 feet above sea level was both the geographical and spiritual apex of my Himalayan pilgrimage through China, India, Ladakh, Nepal and Tibet – but it was nothing that he said and nothing that he did.
Lama Acu lead me to the inner chamber of the cave complex and we sat and meditated.
While the world without was wrestling with real and imagined acts of terror and occupation, I was wrestling with a very personal subjugation, heightened by a re-reading of the 14th century Nyingma text revealed by Karma Lingpa known as the Bardo Thodol or the Tibetan Book of the Dead or Liberation through Hearing During the Intermediate State.
After meditating with Acu for some time in the relative warmth of the temple cave, I decided to go on my way. Climbing up the stone steps, back out to the surface I was struck by a truly profound realisation.
I was stood at the very foot of the tallest peak in the world – and yet somehow I had forgotten this completely while inside the cave. It occurred to me then all of a sudden that if I was able to ignore such a physical colossus, it must be possible to ignore anything that I encounter – physically or mentally. And that, quite simply, was the realisation, that was the liberation.