That moment of greatness
International teacher Susan Bennett contemplates the moment that darkness becomes light as the sun rises over the Borobudur Temple in Central Java.
I climbed around searching for the perfect place to wait for the promised, spectacular sunrise. My breath hung in the chilly morning air and I was grateful for the warm jacket hastily grabbed that morning. As I took in the surroundings, I felt a sense of serenity, a touch of reverence, and life appreciation. Occasionally the silence was broken by a camera click, shuffle of feet or hushed whispers from the expectant spectators.
Gradually, the darkness began to lighten as the sun slowly rose. The mist seemed to be suspended in the valleys, trapped between the sky and the shrouded land. The audience were mesmerized, as the emerging landscape took shape, introducing mountains, trees and even more stupas and temples. It was a moment of awe, a sense of spiritual wonder and transcendence.
The mist seemed to be suspended in the valleys, trapped between the sky and the shrouded land.
One by one, the enthralled onlookers began to move, eager to capture the awakening vision, as the sun’s rays peeked through the windows and shadows of the shrines. Intricate carvings appeared as the sky became lighter, telling stories of the past, the resilience of belief and wisdom of age. I caressed the rocks, admiring the precision of the craftsmen, the replica of patterns in each stupa and felt the calming, coolness of the rock at the beginning of another hot day.
Time seemed to have paused and even though the sun was rising in the sky, there was a reluctance to leave. As I slowly wandered around the structures in the awakening dawn, I noticed a group of Buddhist monks sitting comfortably at the base of the stupas, softly chanting their meditations, seemingly unaware of the interested tourists. Their soft, lilting voices invited self-reflection, connection and harmony, being at one with the surroundings. It was for me, a moment of greatness, a feeling of ambience, a once in a lifetime experience.
A moment in time
Gradually as voices became louder and tourists jostled to take photos, I became conscious of the need to move on, the necessity to relinquish this semblance of tranquility. I had to mentally re-engage with the normality of the day, to transcend the path back down from this amazing experience.
Susan Bennett is an Australian who has worked in education across 8 countries in managerial, advisory and curriculum writing roles. Her interests include working with groups who share her values in social responsibility. She is passionate about travel and seeks out opportunities to broaden her understanding of cultures and sharing her adventures with others.
FEATURE IMAGE: Susan Bennett