Another Summer Mountain Gathering
Another Summer Mountain Gathering
By Reza Ganjavi
Spontaneous Summary Report of the Mountain Gathering for “Young People”
If one may use subjective measurement, this year’s gathering was by far the best “young people” gathering we’ve had since we started it. Back then we specified the age under or around 30. It was funny to see that this year the organizers had raised the age limit to under or around 40. In 20 years, I am sure (joking) many 60-year-old young-at-heart-and-mind will attend!
Being reluctant to make conclusions, I can say that one major reason for this difference in intensity and quality was the venue. This year it was held in Gisele’s childhood home in a remote, charming village near the border of Italy and Switzerland at the elevation of 1600 meters – so small that the church bells are still manually ringing at 6:20 and it is still believed that cleaning is a woman’s job!
It’s unlikely that any of the participants visited the dead local pub vs. the plenty of entertainment which were available in previous years; last 2 years for example, many people were visiting the local pubs nightly. This year instead, the energy was spent differently. Also being in a charming old home enhanced the ambiance. Last year someone complained that the hotel had ghosts. I wasn’t there long enough to notice and deal with them but this year I am sure she was happier. :-)
Another important factor was the presence of at least a few people whom I would humbly call serious students. Rob even took his book on the 7-hour-return walk to the mountain hut where Gisele’s father was the warden of – and where he died. [A picture of him is on the wall. The best of “directions” as an Alexander Technique practitioner would put it – erect, joyful, and like most of the other villagers here, honest, simple, and far from big city’s moral and environmental pollutions. We had a few villagers visit one of our concert evenings and they surely radiated the same qualities.
Last but not least, an important factor in the intensity of the gathering was the individual growth which you cannot help but notice in some old friends, and of course, the presence of new faces.
I was there for the latter half of the program – but three nights was plenty of time to get to “know” the new people and renew contact with old friends. Upon arrival, Astrid, the amazingly powerful project manager who can get anyone to do any task with her gentle voice, innocent laughter, and radiant eyes, handed me a box of apples and a knife. James, an interpreter friend of Astrid was a sheer joy. We had 18 people altogether and I don’t want to review everyone. One of many factors of my motivation to go was meeting Ali, a newcomer from Turkey who is starting a retreat center (and happens to be a business executive). We hit it off well though he did not understand most of the words of the Turkish (Azari dialect) partly sing-along song which I performed on the drums. We had a customary classical Indian singing night with Gopal. Other activities included hikes with Gary, and yoga for too few interested people.
Back to Rob, I jokingly told him, “Rob, you always have a quote in your pocket, read us one”. Sure enough he had an excerpt from TOTT – in his pocket - which he read to us. There was an abundance of “magic”, miracles, if I may use that word loosely, in living together with the right intentions. One such event was the work of Gopal, a.k.a. the “kitchen magician” in preparation of the Indian food, surely, a Darshan of its own right.
We had good dialogues, video showings, after-supper discussion about the world situation and our responsibility, etc.. A couple of Gisele’s wise remarks are now in www.rezamusic.com’s quotes section.
Last night, after most people had left, while discussing secrets of life, we had a spontaneous hilarious evening of nonstop laughter with Ariel as the chief comedian, Rob, Astrid, Gisele, Isabelle and Sylvain. Speaking of Ariel, I must mention his virtuoso, violin playing and his 200-year-old violin of amazing sound.
A lot of self-learning came about, I am absolutely sure, for many people, and the important thing was the ambiance of love, the right relationship, openness, non-gossip (hopefully, despite certain tendencies), orderly communication, cooperation (e.g. in cooking and cleaning) and this was a special quality of space in a world which is full of cunningness, conflict, and brutality.
Further detailed journal is available for discussion if interested but for now it’s archived as well as the journal for the preceding two weeks at the general gathering in Saanenland which will be edited for web-publishing if some daytime permits.