Finding the Highest Pass Within

Juliya, Anand and IReflections on “The Highest Pass” and the author’s meeting with Anand Mehrotra.

Over the past several weeks, I have made many attempts to write a review of “The Highest Pass”, a motorcycle documentary, featuring 27 year-old modern-Indian mystic and yogi, Anand Mehrotra. Despite having seen the film three times and even having spent time with Anand during a three-day retreat in Madison, Virginia, I could not put my experiences with this transformational leader into words or even fully comprehend what transpired. All I knew is that I changed, changed in ways that I myself could not even describe.

Then it hit me! My inability to review the Highest Pass or to verbalize my experiences with Anand struck at the very heart of his teachings – to find true freedom, we must transcend the limitations, fears and doubts of the mind, and live with our hearts. So, learning from Anand, both through the film and in-person, was an experience that moved me on the heart level, in a way that my mind still cannot fully pronounce.

You see, purely as a story, the Highest Pass brakes no new ground. The idea of a journey which tests, challenges and changes one’s character has been told many times by the likes of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Motorcycle Diaries, Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love and even Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in their infamous Long Way Round and Long Way Down series.

Yet, there is earnestness and depth to this documentary that takes it far beyond prime time India special on Travel or National Geographic channels or a feel-good Netflix flick. This excellent film provides a glimpse into the possibility of living a faithful and fearless life. Hence, what may seem like recklessness to the mind – leading a group of relatively inexperienced riders on antiquated, single cylinder Royal Enfields, while dodging the onslaught of chaotic traffic; navigating dirt, gravel and flooded roads; facing altitude sickness at over 17,000 feet above sea level; and riding along the sheer icy edges of the highest motor-able road on Earth – is a young teacher leading by example of living through the heart, taking his students on a journey so harrowing and challenging that it transcends all notions of what human mind can conceive is possible and what only the heart could have the absolute faith in achieving.

I know that the Highest Pass is not for everyone. Some may find the film to be yet another West meets East “feel-good” truism. I myself had wished the movie delved more into the stories, both before and after the trip, of Adam Schomer, the faithful student, and the six riders who joined him and Anand on their life-changing trip. Even a brief glimpse into their lives that the film provides reveals individuals no less remarkable than the feat they accomplished. I wish we knew more of their personal stories so that their transformational experience with Anand would have more of a context.

Still, watching the film and later meeting with Anand were transformational experiences for me because they allowed me to “go beyond mind.” In going beyond my mind and feeling the experiences with my heart, I know I made yet another small step in reaching my own personal highest pass.

The Highest Pass can be streamed from this site using this link as well as from the Zen Motorcyclist Facebook page.

Henry YampolskyAbout the author: Henry Yampolsky is a new rider and writer who finds motorcycling to be an extension of his meditation.  When not riding, writing, meditating or contemplating doing one of the three, Henry spends time with his wife, Juliya, and works as a lawyer in Philadelphia.

4 Comments

  1. Adam Schomer

    Hello Henry, what a wonderful review from the heart.
    As the PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR of the film, I too had the huge desire to share more about the inner and outer stories of each character and Anand. Can't do it all in a 90 min film, what to do?

    SOLUTION: I went out and created a TV Series based on the same concept, this time to Four Sacred Peaks in the Himalayas with a whole new group of amazing people. I've never shown the promo publicly before now… The series is shot and we are attracting financiers and investors to fund the post production. So I share it with your both Zen and Moto friendly audience… the right partners are out there… and TV needs this kind of show:

    People are loving what they see!
    THE FOUR SACRED PEAKS OF FREEDOM

    Enjoy. Feel free to add this onto your article to help spread the word. I'll leave it public for a while. inquiries can be sent to adam@livingi2i.com

    Reply
    1. Henry Yampolsky

      Adam-

      I look forward to our interview where you could tell us more about the story behind the Highest Pass and talk about The Four Sacred Peaks of Freedom.

      Henry

      Reply
  2. Henry YampolskyNo Gravatar

    Rene'!!! So great to hear from you! I am glad you liked the review. Juliya and I are going to Rishikesh in the spring. Hope we'll get a chance to hang out there!

    Reply
  3. Rene PorterNo Gravatar

    Henry: what a great review!!! It was so nice meeting you in Madison, Va & Juliya. Until we meet again… India? I hope so.
    Love and Light,
    Rene' DuVal Porter
    Richmond, Va:)

    Reply

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