my visit to Shangri-La

mountain drive - January 27, 2014m
 

I’ve been to Shangri-La…

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay very long.

Many have searched for this legendary paradise.  Here’s the problem:

As with most places of lore, we only have a general idea of its location.  If you wish to go in search, you must undertake a long arduous trek through a remote land of mystery…

To reach Shangri-La, one must traverse the highest mountains of the world…

…one must brave the hostile elements…

…one must risk life and limb.

Obviously, the Shangri-La (a.k.a. “Shambhala”) of legend is not an actual place.  It’s a metaphor—a metaphor for the spiritual journey.

Hugh Conway, the main character of James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon, didn’t go seeking Shangri-La.  He happened there by chance (or by grand design) after his plane crash-landed.

I too landed in Shangri-La by accident.

Conway loses his Shangri-La.  Because he suffers from amnesia, he doesn’t recall exactly how it happened…

Likewise, I let my Shangri-La slip away, through my own unconscious carelessness.

In both cases, when the travelers realize what they’ve lost, they become determined to find their way back.

In both cases, the results of this second journey remain uncertain…

The first visit had the good grace of luck.  But because the travelers hadn’t really earned admission, they had to leave…

The second trip was made by choice.  Since the travelers must earn their Shangri-La, we know it’ll be a quite a trial…

…but worth the effort.
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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