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The journey of discovery through mental and physical challenges is flip side to the inner exploration with my subjects.

I didn’t start this journey with too many expectations and was just generally excited to commit more time to work on this project. I had originally frame it as a ‘walkabout’ in the west but a wonderful teacher helped me re frame more along the lines of a pilgrimage. I was telling him that I had wanted to do a pilgrimage to India to visit some of the notable holy sites for Buddhist and he was quick to point out that I was already on a pilgrimage. With that insight, my inner and outer journey became integrated. While on this journey, a number of people asked me about my own journey around Buddhism and most of the time, I didn’t feel like I gave them very through answer (something for a future post). 

More importantly, I wasn’t seeing my own journey being reflected in my conversations with the subjects And so, as i sought to deepen my stagnant practice, the conversations I was having with my ‘instant’ spiritual friends was rebuilding my passion for the practice. For the past 10 years, my spiritual practice taken a back seat with the roller coaster ride of a broken marriage and being a single father. Combined that with trying to make it in one of the most expensive cities in the world meant, I was pretty much caught up in habitual patterns of making ends meet and escaping through material and ‘extraordinary’ experiences. I knew I had to break out of this pattern somehow and this project was the catalyst i needed to break free. Still, breaking free didn’t mean that I would have the support systems that would allow me to deepen my practice.

And so through this journey, I am witnessing and seeing the power of the practice on more fertile grounds.  Just as I am beginning to understand my own journey around deepening the practice, the narrative of Buddhism growing in the west begins to take a more definitive shape. 

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Fear and the struggle between light and darkness are regular visitors on this pilgrimage.

Most of my social media friends simply see the ‘epic’ photos from my excursions and people generally think I am on some sort of vacation. Certainly it is a vacation from the normal routine of living in the city but there is a layer of experiences that I rarely share. I wouldn’t fool anybody if I said I was wandering yogi but there were numerous experiences around my excursions that gave me a good good taste of creating your own reality despite the external circumstances. I am generally fine with being being alone most of the time but learning to learn to walk with the fear down a mountain hike when it is pitch black and rainy was a very good practice. It’s not every day that one is reminded by the preciousness  of life while transversing rugged beauty.   

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Nature has been one of my favorite teachers in the past few years.

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The are times where you can drive up to the 'view' but earned views sink deeper into the practice.