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Eccentric individuals: mystical Eastern European woman, God knower, and German alpinist

excerpted from IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas



             Then there was Sylvia, a wise and venerated, mystical Eastern European woman, and an incredible artist and writer who had spent many years living in, exploring, and paddling amongst the wilds. She had been an environmental activist in the visible realm, and in the hidden one she had taken on the torment of separation which plagues all of mankind, had sat with it, endured it, and transformed it, and had emerged out the other side like an ancient wise woman of old, toughened in the fires of the Eleusian mysteries- a wise woman who had come through effort and trial to know that in the end life is not about finding solutions, but of creating solutions; it was this stoic vision of acceptance and strength that you could feel in the august light of her youthful eyes.

                So many of them. So many people. It boggles me to consider. The wilderness athletics of the group alone is enough to exasperate me. There were extreme rock-climbers who headed south every autumn and spring to climb in the American desert, or to scale the granite walls of Yosemite; there were professional mountain-bikers of national acclaim, and others who were simply unknown experts, tackling the most arduous and precipitous trails of Vancouver’s infamous north shore mountains; there were white-water kayakers running class five rapids, canoeists engaged in season-long expeditions which would impress the voyageurs of old; others who would cross countries on their bicycles, or ski the steepest couloirs from Washington State to Alaska; and there were world-class alpinists ascending  peaks in the Andes, Hindu Kush, and Himalayas. The skill and dedication of these people to their chosen activities was rivaled only by the forgotten yogis, locked away in caves and standing on their heads reciting the Bhagavad-Gita upside down for decades on end.

                I could speak of another quiet and discreet young woman who, without anyone’s knowing, wrote more lucid, recondite, perceptive spiritual observations of the sublime and transparent realms than most of the so-called experts publishing their commonplace balderdash these days. She lived- and did not just seem to- half of her life in heaven and half of her life on earth, spent a great deal of time in the bush, and took young people on extended trips into the mountains and down rivers and tried, in her own way, to help them get a glimpse of what she knew but could not explain- which is to say, that ...God is, and that is all there is to it.

                And there was the shy and brilliant German alpinist, linguist, and family man who spoke no less than six languages fluently, translated ancient Chinese texts of meditation on his own time, climbed the most arduous rock-climbing routes in the area without a word of pride or accomplishment, organized film festivals, and had soft, bewildering eyes that would stare right into you, right through you, and would leave you fighting for breath, for a place to hide, for a way of saying- “yes man, I know, I know, we’re all too far apart from each other, we can’t get close enough, and if I could vaporize this minute and fall into your eyes and touch your soul within, I would do it, but I can’t and we’ll have to live with what we’ve got instead, and that is- loneliness.”


excerpted from:


author Jack Haas, west coast British Columbia wilderness, ocean forest island



IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey

by Jack Haas



















Mystical books, visionary art, and fine art photography by Jack Haas




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