perched on rock, above the clouds at sunrise

The Mountaintop

by Amos Smith

The last Sunday before Lent is when Jesus is transfigured on the mountaintop (Luke 9:28-36). I think the reason for the placement of this reading is that to get through Lent we need to consistently remind ourselves of the peak experiences in our lives …

In 2013 I flew from Phoenix to Oakland, California with my family for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. As I flew, I noticed a huge storm was brewing below. There were dark clouds, thunder, turbulence. Yet, the plane soared far above the clouds where it was absolutely clear. Where I sat it was totally calm.

In that moment I said to myself, “This is the mountaintop experience.” This is the experience above the clamor, uproar, turbulence, and monkey-mind, above the nee nee naa naa. “Nee nee naa naa” is the nature of our minds. When there’s some kind of crisis there are flurries of mental activity – flurries of analysis, confusion, speculation – we can’t keep still. Our anxious thoughts jump around like a monkey in a high canopy.

Then I remember that above the clouds it’s perfectly calm.

When Jesus experienced the mountaintop, he knew the deep calm of all-pervasive acceptance and thorough love that flowed from his Abba …

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the drama – to get caught up in the turbulence of the monkey-mind. But our higher self is on the mountaintop, in the plane above the tumult, in the upper room (Acts 1:13). Our higher self is above the frenzy.

As the spiritual journey progresses we spend more and more time on the mountaintop. We discover and re-discover the spiritual faculties of our minds where we’re at rest. Where we can let down and trust God. Where we can let go of reason’s double-binds and dead ends. Where we can experience peace.