(click the photos to enlarge)

I arrived at Ivory's Rock Conference Center on Sunday after traveling for twenty-four hours. I stayed focused while on route as I knew that if I did not, the stress of the trip would put me in an irritable mood. That's the last thing I wanted - to arrive in a bad mood.

                 map of campgrounds

The Swagman campground is the last one along the road and away from everything, which is only fair as it is the cheapest, only $75US for the week. On the map, it's in red; also known as the Red Campground. Includes hot showers, passage from and to the airport, all and all, a very fine deal.

The shade-tent is off-center to block the sun, not to look unsymmetrical. The tents get hot in the afternoon, but with a shade-tent, the main tent stays cool, enabling one to practice or nap.
My tent is supposed to be a three man tent (3 very small, very friendly men) it fits one comfortably.

                 my tent & shade-tent

                  regular campground

These tents are pretty cool. They have a rack and hangers for your clothes, a cot, towels, bedding, etc. Plus you don't have to put them together after a long day of travel. They are a short distance from the pavilion which is nice because your can work up a dripping sweat walking from the Swagman to the pavilion in the high heat of the day.

Part of the land is like a garden and other parts are like wilderness. All the main roads are paved. This road, like other roads around Swagman, is unpaved. There is a wonderful feeling of living in the wild, yet you are next door to civilization. (by civilization, I don't mean TV, I mean a good cup of tea)

          leaving Swagman for the Pavilion

                  lake near pavilion

The two things I remember most vividly about the natural surroundings is the cacophony of wild birds in the morning. I tried to count the many different calls, but lost track after eight. Then there was the brilliance of the night sky. The constellation of Orion was upside down and other configurations I didnít recognize, but the brilliant crystal light of the stars at night was hypnotic, like pure sparkling diamonds on the hand of a happy bride.

The pavilion has about twenty-five to thirty shops, some ten are food, an internet cafe, and an assortment of stores where you can buy all the things you forgot to pack. (me?   I forgot my towel)

                shops, before crowd

                             line for coffee

Timing is everything, otherwise one waits in line. Lines can get long, but the people behind the counter work fast, so itís usually the customer who slows things down.

                international social club

The pavilion was a place to eat and drink and converse with old friends. You meet people you havenít seen in years and have conversations with others youíve just met.

M visited the pavilion three times. The third time he stood on a small knoll and talked with everyone, joked, and answered questions. He said at the amphitheater that he wanted to reduce the perceived chasm between himself and those who practiced Knowledge. This visit was part of his effort to make that happen. He said, when we feel comfortable with ourselves, he feels comfortable with us.

                               M visits pavilion

                         muddy swagman road

On the third day it rained. It was a heavy rain and everyone crowded into the central pavilion. Some Indian women sang songs and danced around in a circle. I thought the evening program would be canceled, but it wasnít. The rain stopped for the program, then started again. When I returned to my tent, the shade-tent had collapsed under the weight of the rain. My main tent was dry and I was toasty-warm in my sleeping bag. In the morning, the air was filled with mist and the roads were muddy.

Not everyone was as fortunate as I, some of the swag tents became flooded. The worst thing that happened to me was my shower shoe became stuck in the mud walking to the bathroom. When I stepped forward to pull it out, the shoe slung a spattering of mud on my back and legs. Oh yea, and my shade-tent collapsed, but I had packed a repair kit and got it up and shading in short time.

                          storm shelter

                  (ground holds water)

The sun eventually came out, but the water didnít drain away and the ground around the pavilion, in places, became thick mud. A waterproof shoe is important. My boots were made for off-trail hiking, but I should have waterproofed them before I left. Water eventually seeped in and my feet were cold and damp for a while. It was hard to avoid stepping in some water and/or mud as it was everywhere.

I usually ate Aussie food. Mainly because it was overcooked or fried and I figured that if there were any foreign organisms in it that could hurt me, my friends, the Aussie cooks, would surely kill them all.

                (love that Aussie food)

                                    night life

Just because youíre in the middle of a wilderness park doesnít mean you canít have normal social activity. One of the shops sells beer and wine and, at night, good musicians play. The pavilion could be any one of a number of international forums where the spiritually sensitive and socially aware congregate.

Amaroo is a beautiful wilderness park where one can get back to the basics:   the practice of Knowledge, good food, a cozy shelter, and a warm shower is all one needs for happiness. Oh yea, a good cup of tea, milk and sugar please.

                                the Amaroo Road



I did not go to Amaroo for the many experiences I wrote about above, they were events along the way. My main purpose was to return to a simple place where the beauty of the soul could shine forth. How is this achieved? It is a mystery, beyond my comprehension. Yet when I see M and hear him speak, this is what happens. Itís like taking a warm bath in love, an ever-new, yet timeless experience.
There is a meeting place inside, where all things join, where separation no longer exists, where peace and contentment shine. M offers this gift of transformation, to return to a simple place where nothing is missing and the experience of life is rich.
There were some forty-five hundred people in attendance and the majority of them experienced a transformation, a renewal. If one man could accomplish such a task in his life time, his would be considered an extremely successful life. M accomplished this in five days and does the same thing for others many times a year. Who is this guy? A remarkable person, an extremely talented individual, a ... ?   I donít know. But I feel especially lucky to know him and be able to spend time with him. I feel truly fortunate and grateful beyond words.

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