Wisdom is to the soul what health is to the body – Last Journeys through Colombia

This is a fictional story based on true events that occurs when Rio and Daniella visit Bogota Colombia. 

Centro de Estética y Especialistas
Massages and exercises that enhance the functioning of the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems

It’s early January 2013 and Daniella and Rio are in the Centro de Estética y Especialistas located in one of the business areas of Bogota, Colombia. It’s the last day of a seven-day therapeutic program that includes myriad of massages and exercises that enhance the functioning of the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems of the body.

The radiant, tropical sunshine outside is filtering through the white curtains and illuminating the room with a warm, optimistic glow. Outside the hurried chirping of birds as they playfully rush in flight from here to there is momentarily heard, and then just as suddenly the flurry evaporates into the mid-morning brilliance. Enhancing the aesthetic environment are several pictures and paintings that deck the walls of the clinic accentuating the marvel of the human body.

In the room, Rio is lying facedown on a massage bed. Daniella on the other side of the room is also lying on a massage bed however is wrapped up in a thick electric blanket and covered in many additional layers of insulation. Like if in a cocoon, she is also enclosed in layers of plastic closely encircling her body. Glistening beads of perspiration are appearing on her face and forehead.

As the masseur expertly massages Rio with the hands as well as using machines and devices that rotate, vibrate and roll, his eyes follow a golden ray of light entering through a gap in the curtain and streaming towards the illuminated floor. The invigorating massages mingle with the golden rays, and similar to miracle of metamorphosis, his thoughts take wings and flutter away into a hazy land of surrealism:

gold_museum_bogota_colombia
Gold Museum of Bogota, Colombia – artifacts from pre-colonial times

 It’s the Gold Museum of Bogota, Colombia and an older man wearing a cream coloured blazer and a younger woman in long, fashionable leather boots are slowly walking along the corridor and carrying on a thoughtful conversation. They are peering intently into the glass display cases, looking at the gold artifacts.  

“It’s quite fascinating, Luis, that as early as 1550 BC the ancient inhabitants of South America were working with copper and gold. Apparently this ability extended all the way from central Mexico, towards Northern Chile and all the way to Argentina,” the young woman with the fashionable leather boots speaks without taking her eyes off a display of a golden band with small monkeys dancing on its perimeter.

 “Yes Lorena. And each region had its own unique style. Colombian metallurgy at that time was primarily work with gold. This extended over a period of 2000 years and thousands and thousands of objects were made. Sadly many of those artifacts were destroyed by the European conquest, however it is of cultural and historical importance that some were preserved and now displayed in this Gold Museum in Bogota, Colombia,” comments Luis as he brushes a tiny speck of dust off his cream-coloured blazer.

 Lorena with her fashionable boots stops in front of one of the exhibits and is reading the information detail: “In summary it says —gold, copper and silver can be stretched out in sheets or threads because they are malleable and ductile. This is achieved through hammering the metal, however it has to be done with caution and experience as excessive hammering can cause unnatural distortion of the crystalline structure and make the metal hard — causing fractures.”

 “If I may add, this transformation of gold, copper, silver and platinum by those metal smiths from long ago can be viewed philosophically as the creation of a greater transformation — the transformation of the spirit. It transcends beyond the physical and blossoms into mythology, mysticism, shamanism and symbolism and radiates with beauty,” Luis eloquently comments as he adjusts his blazer to a position of perfection and it hugs his body with flawless precision.

As nature paints the summer leaves in the hues of autumn, the golden artifacts of the museum are refashioned into golden beams of light penetrating through curtained windows, and Rio becomes aware of the masseur speaking to him asking him to readjust his position. Rio readjusts his position. The enchanting massages commence once again and his thoughts take wings and flutter away into a hazy land of surrealism:

iliad
Ancient times of Greek Mythology

It’s now a land with the colossal gold-floored Olympus prevailing over the landscape. Timeless gods are lifting golden beakers, pledging each other warmly as they gaze down on the legendary city of Troy. Speeding by below are chariots built of gold and silver and sceptres studded with golden nails. Armour comprising of blue enamel interspersed with bands of gold and beaten tin are decorated with dark blue serpents. Achilles’s silent wrath continues to fume in an unsettled reservation as immemorial warriors’ passion for war smoulder like an angry volcano.

Once again, as nature paints the summer leaves in the hues of autumn, classic Greek lands are transformed into a room of gleaming sun through curtained windows, and the gentle voice of the masseur is signalling to Rio that the therapy is completed.

How was the massage?” Daniella is asking Rio after they got dressed and are preparing to leave the clinic.

Oh! I drifted off into a deep sleep and dreamt about gold! First it was about the Bogota Gold Museum we went to a few days ago, and then strangely I then dreamt about some scenes from the book I am reading — the Iliad by Homer — and the scenes were all about gold!” Rio is describing as they walk towards the door to leave the clinic.

Well that had to be one good massage — but it’s interesting that gold is a common theme to two different places so far removed, at possibly two different times in history,” Daniella says as she adjusts the pony tail of her hair.

Quite fascinating. Homer in the Iliad was describing circumstances — fact or fiction — that could have been placed in the timeframe of at least one or two thousand years before the birth of Christ — but his description — and the weaving in the mythological stories of gold, bronze and silver demonstrates a very extensive knowledge and awareness of this subject,” Rio says emphatically as suddenly the conversation of the dream adds much more significance to it.

As they stop for a moment to say goodbye to the masseur, Rio looks around the room as if trying to memorize the explicit details of the clinic where they spent many hours rejuvenating the body, mind and soul. He looks thoughtfully at the masseur and reflects that this program was conducted under the guidance of one whose smile flourished with the same radiance as the golden rays that illuminated the experiences here, and revealed an inherent empathy, understanding, knowledge and awareness of our human existence.

nude_painting
A painting accentuates the marvel of the human body

Rio now fixes his stare on an beautiful painting of a nude human body on the wall of the clinic, “that’s quite a master piece.”

Daniella glances at him with a twinkle in her eyes, “actually I was meaning to tell you that I know the girl in the painting. In a way I have known her since I have known myself. And I also know the artist who painted that picture.”

Fascinating! It seems like today is filled with transformation, mysteries, memories, illusions and fantasies.”

Outside they inhale the exhilarating, tropical air. Leaves of the palm trees wave gently in the wind and some chirping birds appear overhead flying in unison and then dashing off out of sight.

It’s fascinating how reality, dreams, illusions and fantasies are so closely interrelated. Today I was drifting in out of what we call reality and  yet the dreamy phantasm seemed just as real. Amazing that we can be seemingly transported back thousands of years in the blink of an eye. ”

Daniella is smiling as she loosens the knot around her pony tail and releases her hair and it blows gracefully in the gentle breeze. “This experience and conversation reminds me of a saying I heard somewhere: Is all that we see or seem a dream within a dream?”

Quite an awesome statement. Yes what really is time and reality when one speaks of notions that transcend our human processes and systems?”

An older man wearing a cream coloured blazer and a younger woman in long, fashionable leather boots are walking past them along the sidewalk. Rio stares at them as if recalling some distant consciousness.

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND ADDITIONAL READING:

The Gold Museum, Bogota, Colombia – Banco de la República

Centro de Estética y Especialistas – Calle 73 # 9-57 Bogota, Colombia

The Illiad by Homer

Edelberto Mora – Artist of nude body

Painting of picture based on the Iliad – Franz Matsch