Reverend Sun Myung Moon has used climbing Mount Everest as an analogy to the challenge of a spiritual life absolutely centered on God. "Dozens of people have conquered Mount Everest," he once said, "and yet not a single person was successful in surmounting his bodily temptations."
Mountains are generally subjects of inspiration and mediation for Reverend Moon. For example, he said:
Look at the Himalayas and Mount Everest. What do you think people who live within view of those mountains do first thing when they wake up in the morning? They go out of the house and look at the mountain to see what the weather is going to be like that day. Some people can even tell what the weather will be like for the whole year by viewing a mountain. Some will get inspiration from the mountain. When you are happy, when you are sad, you look at the mountain. There is something very deep centered there, that you cannot even see.
For the daring, Mount Everest represents the supreme challenge, a lifetime's accomplishment rolled up into a two- or three-month expedition to the ends of the earth. For the sake of experiencing one of the crowning glories of the physical creation, thousands of climbers have risked life and limb to reach the glorious summit of this revered peak. Hundreds have been killed and many more injured attempting the painful, slow, arduous journey up Everest's unforgiving rock walls, ice fields, and snow fields hiding deadly crevices. And once on the "top of the world," weather permits only a half hour's glance at the majesty of the perpetually snow-capped Himalayan Range below. For many others, the vertical pilgrimage ends in a failure of sorts, with the summit looming hundreds or thousands of feet away, they are forced to turn away and go back down the mountain.
Yet all those who challenge this mighty rock edifice, regardless of country of origin, have something in common. They are willing to risk everything to experience the grandeur that exists not only in the beauty and power of creation, but in the beauty and power of the human spirit itself. This extreme climbing exercise is not for the faint of heart. It is reserved for those who seek to discover a reflection of the magnitude, endurance, and solemnity of Mount Everest within themselves as they struggle to make it to the top. In short, people climb Mount Everest to discover something about themselves. And you can't beat the scenery, either.
For Reverend Moon, conquering Mount Everest represents the highest standard of achievement in the physical world:
When we are on level ground we must have lower ground like a valley. When we go to a pond, what if it does not have a dike to keep the water back? Does man only want to go to a horizontal place? Sometimes he wants to go up to a high place where he can look down. People like to do that don't they? Sometimes they want to climb down to the valley and caves. Isn't that why people challenge going higher and higher, like climbing Mt. Everest?
Indeed, from the top of Mount Everest, notes Reverend Moon, one can feel a sense of gratitude for the hand and power of God in their life, and from that point on, life becomes wonderfully open to new possibilities:
We are climbing up and crossing over every hill, but I want you to know that there is an end to all the obstacles. Once you reach the top of Mt. Everest then everything is spread out beneath you. You have a golden road ahead of you. At the pinnacle of that mountain you can feel that finally you can see why God pushed you so hard and in that realization you will be grateful to Him. That kind of man is essential if God is to be liberated.