Reaching New Heights
Himalayas & Zur Institute 150 Courses
By Zur Institute
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Call it synchronicity! It was two weeks of reaching goals and setting new ones. My son, Eitan, and I had arrived at the highest 'rideable' road on earth. We were in the Himalayas, challenging ourselves to ride to an elevation of 18,380 feet -- on motorcycles.
Meanwhile here at home, after 10 years, the Zur Institute reached its record number of online course offerings --- 150!
Highest Rideable Road on Earth
& New Zur Institute Height of 150 Courses
As many of you know, my interest in boundaries has spanned my professional life as I have explored their meaning within therapeutic contexts. In my personal life, as well, I have long explored boundaries and made deliberate efforts to go beyond comfort zones. I have found that challenging physical journeys, such as climbing Kilimanjaro, deep sea diving, skydiving, backpacking on the glaciers in Alaska, trekking the rainforest in Malaysia, and much more, always encompass deep emotional and spiritual learning as well. (You are welcome to visit my personal Bio to learn more about my adventures.)
Watching a movie trailer for The Highest Pass inspired me to undertake a unique two-week motorcycle adventure. This turned out to be one of the most challenging experiences of my life. There were endless extreme physical, emotional, and mental demands. We rode the narrow rugged, rocky roads with vertical cliffs of thousands of feet (most often with no guard-rails). We found ourselves turning blind corners, speeding, and passing unwieldy, over-loaded trucks. We endured long days of hard riding on the left-hand side, navigating through and around endless potholes and water crossings.
At 62 years of age, this trip turned out to be an unparalleled challenge. Eitan, at 19, is young, fit and strong and found the trip barely challenging. In the end, the journey involved not only mastery and surrender, but enabled a profound connection with my son.
The awesome beauty and enormity of the Himalayas are unparalleled in their inspiration, as are the centuries old sacred Buddhist temples and numerous monasteries we visited. We were riding in the clouds. The trip evoked in me a lot of humility, mastering of fears, coming to terms with physical and age-related limitations, and ultimately, once again, facing dea th straight in the eye (or at least around every blind corner).
This experience taught me that sometimes coming into stark confrontation with bodily, emotional, and mental limits can give the gift of surrender and spiritual expansion. I have been moved to turn, in a new and renewed way, to my practice of mindfulness meditation. In so doing, I am exploring the edges of true boundary-less spaciousness.
Obviously, my writings and Zur Institute's online courses have reflected my interest in many of the issues that were explored and evoked on this challenging journey:
- My encounter with death in this most recent trip is reflected in the audio recording on my relationship to death (transcript), which is part of the online CE course on Aging.
- My exploration of boundaries is reflected in my numerous articles and online courses on Boundaries.
- Existential exploration of meaning is like mother's milk for me, and reflected in our online CE course on Existentialism.
- My deep, life-long interest in mindful meditation is reflected in our latest CE courses on Meditation & Psychotherapy and Mindfulness Meditation.
- Riding a motocycle for long days at the very edge of +3,000 ft. cliffs has elicited some PTSD type symptoms in me. Additionally, my war experience and my witnessing of human trauma worldwide is reflected in the online courses on PTSD and Trauma.
- Similarly, my spiritual search motivated me to offer a course on Spirituality & Therapy.
- Living and working in different cultures, such as Europe, Middle East, Africa and, of course, the US made cross cultural issues like the air I breath, reflected in the online CE courses on Cultural Diversity, critique of the DSM, Infidelity, and many more . . .
- All 150 Online CE Courses
150 Online Courses is an important milestone for us. Developing the Zur Institute to this point has been a shared expedition, which would not have been possible without our incredible staff, authors and students. I thank you all and look forward to many adventures ahead and many more online courses.
Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
Director, Zur Institute