“Peace is the offspring
of love and understanding.”
From the south of Australia, Tahara, Tane and Alex travel quickly to the centre, mostly staying at Traveller's Rests, meeting other travellers from all over the world and having fun.
Tahara can't believe how much better she's feeling. By the time they get to Coober Pedy they decide to stay for a few days because the people here live underground.
The Traveller's Rest they're staying in is on a particularly rich vein of opals. Travellers can stay to help excavate new rooms and learn how to make the opals they find into jewellery.
Large scale mining is long gone but there's still small scale, mostly for things like sand for making glass and clay for making pottery. Plus the occasional place for making jewellery.
There's no value in the opals except at face value as a pretty stone. They can't be sold because there are no monetary systems and they can't be traded because everyone has what they need, but they can be worn as a memento for people who have been to Coober Pedy and have dug up the opals and made them into jewellery. Every care is taken not to do even small scale mining if it is going to harm the environment in any way.
Since there's no value and everyone has what they need, there isn't any theft and no worries about being hurt or killed by robbers. Everyone in the world is free to travel anywhere without concern for their safety.
Staying at Traveller’s Rests mean they can meet other people and travel in a convoy, especially since Uluru is such a big draw-card, most travellers are heading away or towards it.
Some days, with twenty cycles all linked together they are able to travel at over one hundred kilometres per hour for hours at a time. It's hard going but within days they were there.
There's no longer any objection to travellers climbing Uluru. Freedom has long since superseded cultural restraints. It's been raining for the last few days and waterfalls are pouring down the side of the rock. The four of them, Tahara, Tane, Alex and Kaitlyn, who they met at The Traveller's Rest are about to climb Uluru when a flock of budgies flies past heading west. They stop and stare at the sight of many flying as one.
Each bird reacting to the birds around it, but collectively, without anyone leading, going in the same direction. A sight to see. They all absentmindedly start to follow.
The plan for the day is to climb Uluru and then walk the ten and a half k's around the rock. Now thanks to the birds they're walking around first. Along the path there are signs that talk about the history and myths of the area.
'Let's stop here for a rest.' said Tane, outside a large cave on the south side. Tahara knows he's not tired, so rest must be code for smoke.
'Do you smoke?' said Tane to Kaitlyn as they enter the cave.
'No thanks,' she replies.
Tane lights up a ready rolled he prepared earlier. He takes a drag and passes the joint to Alex. Tane's been looking forward to this for ages. Having brought his own weed all the way from home. He knows he can get it here but this particular strain is the kind of high he wants for today.
Tahara only smokes occasionally and declines so she and Kaitlyn can be on the same plane while Tane and Alex can go to theirs.
Looking out of the cave through a wisp of a waterfall Tane puffs away thinking this is perfect and imagines all the rock, the mass of it above his head and soon he will be up there on top of this truly remarkable rock.
“The now is infinite,
we can visit but not yet live in it.”
Coming out of the cave they spot an old woman, who wasn't there when they went in, sitting under a tree and singing a song. She sees them and beckons them over, offering them to join her. They sit down and Alex brings out some honey macadamia nut biscuits for them all.
'My name is Kalinda,' she said, taking a biscuit that Alex has offered.
They introduce themselves and ask if she lives nearby.
'Yes,' she answers. 'I live in a village a few k's away.' Pointing the direction with her chin.
The area around Uluru has no human habitation as it's a nature reserve, though camping is OK. They plan to camp a couple of days and ask Kalinda if she knows any good places.
'Yes,' she says. 'This is a good place to camp. This cave is the home of the rainbow serpent. It's a friendly serpent that brings dreams from the spirit world. A very good place to camp the night.'
'The song I was just singing is about how the rainbow serpent came to an ancestor of mine in a dream many years ago and told her how the land will one day be green again.'
'That stream outside the cave never runs dry. When she had this dream the stream would be dry for years on end and then would become a raging torrent when it rained.'
'If you camp here and if you're lucky maybe the rainbow serpent will speak to you of the future. Or maybe it was speaking of the past. Sometimes they seem to be the same thing.'
Tahara and Tane and Alex and Kaitlyn are all smiles, absolutely loving it. This is what travelling is all about, they think to themselves.
Tahara tells Kalinda how they're from New Zealand on their way to Africa and Alex is on his way home to the Pilbara, and Kaitlyn is from Ireland, travelling around Australia.
'I went to New Zealand forty two years ago when I was forty two. That's half my life ago,' said Kalinda, just realising.
'I stayed in the town of Titirangi for a couple of months. I was just passing through when I came across a place where I couldn't tell which way I was going. I knew straight away that I was in a magnetic anomaly as I have a very good sense of direction. It might be something to do with an old volcano that used to be there. I'm not sure but I had to stay.'
'It was there in Titirangi when I became conscious to the oneness of everything. Not just in an intellectual way but actually felt completely at one with everything.'
Tahara and Tane and Alex and Kaitlyn are all ears and in no hurry to be moving on, so Kalinda continues.
'It was an awesome experience,' she said. 'Though a bit out there, I knew what was happening so I wasn't afraid even when I realised I wasn't breathing. I took a gasp in and then a breath out but not in again until I told myself to breathe.'
'My breathing became conscious. If I didn't think, in out, in out, in out, then I would just sit there not breathing. After a time I noticed I had dedicated a part of my brain to think, in out, in out, in out, every breath.'
'I stayed up all that night and the night just flew by. I didn't sleep for the next four weeks. Like dolphins and whales, you don't sleep when you're conscious breathing. I no longer had any desire.'
'Everything became conscious except for my heart beating. I drank water because I knew I had to, though I wasn't thirsty. I didn't eat anything for a week, until I started to get pain in my calves and knew I needed to eat.'
"The oneness of soul.”
'I was camping and the sense of oneness with everything was overwhelming. The birds and the trees were a part of me. I didn't want to leave but I ran out of food. I wasn't hungry but with the pain in my calves getting worse, I walked to Titirangi for some supplies.'
'I thought the oneness with the trees was overwhelming, but I was not prepared for meeting another person. It really was crazy my need to reach out and hug the first person I came across. I was only just able to stop myself.'
'It was like, well I can't really explain, like everyone I met was my lost twin separated at birth but even more so. Everyone was as much myself as I am, but apart and dying to be reunited. I couldn't talk, I couldn't think.'
'I went to The Traveller's Rest for supplies and I couldn't decide what I needed. How was I to know what I felt like for dinner, it was only midday. I was in the now. Not now a moment in time but the now which is all time. I was living in infinity. I was at one with everything but everything was not at one with me. It felt like when I needed food I would put my hand out and an apple would fall into it, but there were no apple trees above me. One day I believe we will be living in such synchronicity with our environment that this will be true.'
'I only managed to, after a lot of effort, choose enough food for two days. Fortunately when I came back to town I met a man who worked at The Traveller's Rest who looked me right in the eyes, which I'm sure must have been sticking out of my head, they felt so wide. He asked me where I'm staying. I told him in the forest. He didn't say so but I knew that he knew what was happening. He helped me select enough food for a week and told me to ask for him when I return.'
'The second week of my enlightenment was extreme to the max. I laughed hysterically for fifteen minutes or so then cried for fifteen minutes or so, over and over for a week. There must have been times when I wasn't laughing or crying but I don't remember.'
'Then for the next three weeks my brain became like some kind of receiver of knowledge or patterns or something that seemed to be coming from the stars.'
'Like the floodgates had opened to a universe of knowledge pouring into me far too fast for me to recognise anything. Then near the end, my life flashed before my eyes, every bit of it, too fast to focus on any single event, but it all made sense, all of it, the good and the bad of it.'
'A tui was singing and I swear I could hear the parts of the tui's song that is in a frequency too high for human ears to hear, and then that night after four weeks of no sleep and still having to think, in out, for every breath. I lay down and closed my eyes for a couple of hours. I could hear a ruru call but between each call it was making a really low boom boom boom sound I've not heard before. It might have been a mating call I don't know about but I like to think I was in a state of extrasensory perception.'
'The next night I slept, for just two hours for the first time in four weeks. My breathing was no longer conscious. The next day I went for a swim in the stream. It was winter and the water was cold. I understood then what it truly is to have a baptism. I was born anew, just me and the universe.'
'Every night after I started to sleep more and more until I was back to normal. I have only told a few people what happened to me in Titirangi, so maybe there's a reason I'm telling you this today. Maybe you need to know. I've got a feeling this kind of thing is happening to more and more people.'