I remember as a child getting very excited about the occasional long walks we took to our favorite monastery pocketed in the heart of the Lebanese mountain overlooking the valley of the saints. We walked for hours and felt the importance of our pilgrimage with every dusty step. It says so much about pilgrimages and the necessity of removing oneself from a current situation to meet new requirements for personal development. Walking up the mountain dictated a baggage free walk and a sense of lightness and freedom that only comes from surrender to a higher cause.
I look back with so much endearment to those days, the time of innocence and magic.
Day 47 of 365~
Image taken of a young monk Myanmar during my trip there last year.
We get so busy with life that we ignore death. We celebrate distractions, the things that make us avoid the question of our own mortality on this planet and all the time treating something as natural as death as we would an avoidable inconvenience.
I wonder if this great fear stems from our lack of education, our inability to handle the unknown, not coming to terms with the inevitable, or the way our lives are more and more based in materialism.
Day 43 of 365~
Images taken somewhere on the Shanghai underground
Where is our religion?
Is it in the temples of Asia, or the mountain churches of Lebanon, the faraway tribes of Africa, or the monasteries of tibet? Is it in mosques? Is it with soothsayers? Is it with the self proclaimed healers and seers? Is it in the holy cities of our world? Is it in the secret science labs? Do our world leaders possess it?
Or is it inside each one of us waiting to be touched?
wonderings of a searching mind…
candles and stones~ Lucca~ Tuscany
Real faith is spending your days building what you know you will never see completed in your lifetime.
Cathedral in Pisa
We build giant cathedrals to prove our faith to the world, but isn’t religion best demonstrated with a small act of kindness?
turning to faith
In a world that is so rapidly changing and spinning out of control, more and more are finding their anchor in faith…
A worshiper in a Buddhist temple~ Hanoi~ Vietnam
At about age 5 or 6, my sister and I used to love playing house games with the neighborhood children in our village. We had an unfinished floor in our home that was still cement walls and bricks and we created our own pretend little world there. We had a basket tied to a rope from the kitchen window on the top floor and we snuck food ingredients down in it to create our own breads, coffee and other pretty disgusting recipes that we ate with total pride. We also found there an old discarded yellow closet that we declared to be our very own church. We acquired all sorts of iconic pictures, crosses and religious signs and hung them inside the walls of the yellow closet. We would go inside it with complete reverence and pray daily for miracles. One day a miracle finally happened. We heard a big bang on the walls of our little yellow church that made it vibrate miraculously! We ran yelling in awe and in great fear with shaking knees declaring our religious status and direct connection to all that is holy. It was only a couple of years later that our neighbor Nabiha, the very same one who offered us the yummy bread from her ‘saj’, gigglingly confessed to have thrown rocks at us to make believers out of us.
photo taken: My daughter visiting a favorite church or ours in the mountain in Lebanon.
upholding the faith
At any moment of the day, somewhere on this planet, someone is stepping out of their daily fog and taking a few minutes to try and send a signal, from here to there, from known to unknown, from visible to invisible, from earth to ether. The message is so simple as is their faith, a yearning to connect to something higher. Even in Shanghai, a city of 20 million, there are temples where you can find an incredible stillness and where people still uphold their faith.
photo taken: a man praying at the Jade Buddha temple (a very special place)