Uluru

Psychologically Speaking September #299

The photos we’ve just taken of Uluru and the Olgas hardly do them justice at all. And words to describe them just don’t seem to exist in any dictionary. If I tried, superlatives will just overflow the page. It’s not just the rocks. They rise majestically above a vast landscape of red dust, spinifex, bushes and stunted trees that stretches endlessly to a distant horizon bathed in blue and crystal clear light. In the morning and evening, as the sun alters its angle, the colors change dramatically from minute to minute in ways that no artist could possibly reproduce.

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The whole experience is quite emotional. Uluru does something to you. Somewhat startled at my reaction, I spent quite a lot of time in the heavy, heavy silence thinking about what it was. For me, at least, it came down to two things: the vastness of it all, stretching out in all directions; and timelessness. Both are illusory of course: all things end, except perhaps the limits of the universe and time itself. You see, Uluru opens up cans of worms that are mostly left on the cognitive shelf. The word spiritual comes to mind.

The sense of vastness and timelessness makes me realize just how insignificant is this life in the great scheme of things.

 I understand how petty are my day-to-day concerns, how egocentric the human condition, the power of the narcissistic streak that runs through us. The word posturing comes to mind.

And posturing is everywhere you look. It is in the interaction you have with the rental car guy, or the receptionist at the hotel who is clearly having a hard day and whose customer service skills are not the best right now, and I deserve better. It’s in the town CWA, the local rural fire service, the bowls and golf clubs, and community groups. You find it in workplaces no matter the type. And there it is for us all to see on the television, as we watch our political leaders fluff their feathers and groom themselves. It’s all a question of scale.

Uluru and its friend, the Olgas, bring perspective to what’s really important, of where to expend the limited amount of energy at our disposal. It’s a cleansing of the soul and a diminished sense of self-importance the prize. I just need to be reminded of it from time-to-time.

 

 

Stewart Hase

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