I think what made this practice most beneficial for me when I began
many years ago, was that it was so difficult. It wasn't easy to sit
for even five minutes. It wasn't easy to listen to people more
deeply. It wasn't easy to eat a little better than I had been, to make
better decisions. I found that I tended to take the easy path. And
then after some time in meditation and studies and reading, I began to
understand more about how things come to be, and how things work. And
it's brought about a different kind of awareness than I had before,
and I'm quite thankful for that. And I'm very glad to be today with
ChiSing and with all of you. Thank you.
Jared if you don't mind I'd like for you to share your recent
experience where you kind of had a close brush with death.
Um… wasn't that close.
I live in Los Angeles and I was on a vacation at Yosemite National
Park and I was there with my brother and we were hiking the falls. And
there's a fall's trail which leads up to the top; it's about three and
a half miles high to get up to the top of the waterfall. It's the
fifth largest waterfall in the world; largest one in America, very
beautiful. If you ever get a chance it's the place to go in
We hiked up about midway and took a side path down to the waterfall
area where it kind of leveled off for maybe two football lengths. It
was something fairly flat and we went over there and got in the
waterfall and played, and had some fun. It was quite enjoyable; very
good experience. But when I was leaving, I slipped on some rock and I
started to slide and it was almost like a waterslide. It was very
wide, mostly flat, maybe a thirty degree incline, but very, very
smooth. So I couldn't stop from sliding for anything…
clawing… nothing worked. And I was already wet so I just kept
going faster and faster. So I thought, "oh no… this is it!"
Because the slide, the trajectory that I was on was going right into
the rapids of the fall, which then about twenty yards after the rapids
is the big drop.
So as I'm sliding I'm looking around seeing if there's anything I can
do to stop the slide and I saw a hole in the ground, maybe twelve
inches around just out in the middle of the very slick ground and I
thought I could put my legs in there or my hands in there and try to
grab it to stop from sliding. I got my right leg in, but my momentum
was too strong so I kept going and it broke my leg. And I kept going
and I ended up falling into a narrow part maybe about three foot,
about a yard in width… was the water… this area…
And it was still very steep on both sides so we couldn't really climb
out of it too well. And the water's rushing over my body. Its very,
very cold. I'm pinned and holding on for dear life, literally. And the
first thing that comes to mind is relax, don't panic and assess where
And I tried to get, I went to get a better position and I knew my leg
was broken so I couldn't use that. And I was thinking, "can I stay
here and wait for help?" And I knew I couldn't 'cause the water was
too cold. I wouldn't have been able to hold on much longer. So I saw
my brother. He was kind of up above me, and he popped his head over to
see what was going on. He said, "Are you ok"? I said "Help!" clearly.
You know, so he could hear. Then he disappeared off and he went to
circle around I think. So I waited about a minute or two there but I
didn't see him yet so I figured well I have to try to figure out how I
can get out of here, 'cause I can't stay. I was able to get my hands,
little fingers or maybe nails, there wasn't much to grip onto, fingers
or nails, in the right side area of the rock and wedge my right knee
over and kind of flip my left foot over to grab a small hole. I did a
little climbing but not much so that was beneficial. I kind of had to
sprawl my whole body out to maximize my surface area to make as much
tension as I could so that I wouldn't slide back in.
I kind of creeped along like a spider for about ten yards until I got
to an area that had small holes and I had to use fingers to kind of
crawl up that until I could get the hands and knees and crawl up for a
little while, and then eventually I was out.
In the mean time my brother actually fell down the same way I did. But
he was trying to save me. He managed to do what I did to get out. So
he was behind me and I'm in front. We're both alive! But we're two and
a half miles up. I'm freezing cold. My whole body is shaking
uncontrollably from the cold. I've never been that cold in my life;
just so cold… so, so cold.
And we started to make our way back up and I told him to go ahead of
me to get back on the trail and get back our other stuff, the pack we
left behind. And I slowly kind of crawled over the big rocks and made
my way up until we got back onto the main trail. And by then the pain
started to hit a lot more. I just started to swell up very big, my
leg, around the ankle. I knew I wasn't going to be able to walk
down. So he started to carry me.
While he was carrying me along the way, we met other hikers that were
going up and coming down. And the people started giving me water and
food, and somebody put a tourniquet kind of thing on my leg and other
people started carrying me, total strangers and I'd never met them
before. But I had these two or three, two… I was up
there… actually four people… no … five people at
a time were all helping me to get down the mountain and carrying
me. It was really cool, very nice. Some from New Zealand, France,
California… it was really nice to have all those people there
to support and help me on my way back down. But one of them did have
cell phone so got some help and a guy came up with crutches, and I was
able to use those to get down the trail.
It took about six hours to go down on the crutches. I don't know if
you have ever had to use crutches before, but they are not the most
fun. And if you've never had to use them really and you're not used to
it under your arm, it will bleed. And my whole underside here was
bleeding on both sides.
But I'm OK now.
[ Go to part 1 of this
[ Go to part 3 of this talk ]
Transcribed by Jody Whitcomb
▲ Return to Top