(English version below.)
The pilgrimage never stops, but the pace changes. In July, I was off the bicycle seat for a whole month (to the relief of my sit bones), and had the opportunity to dip into the Dharma ocean atop Turtle Mountain in Oregon, and to explore Spiritual Ecology on Whidbey Island in Washington state. These two study sessions mark "the end of the beginning" of the pilgrimage, and concludes the US portion of the journey. Here are some reflections.
After almost four months and a big loop around the American Southwest, I arrived back in Bay Area on the heel of summer solstice. Friends showered me with love, force-fed me three times a day plus dessert, and smiled at the many humorous tan lines. (An 85-year-old grandma -- with 20 grandchildren -- in a small town in Utah affectionately observed, "You are dark as a negro!")
It still feels like just the very beginning of the pilgrimage. I was reminded of a story from two Buddhist monks' bowing pilgrimage. About 120 days into their pilgrimage, they received a surprise visit from their teacher, Master Hua. The teacher rubbed the heads of the two disciples, thunked their foreheads with his fingertips, and laughingly asked, "Is it ripe yet? Is it ripe? Is this melon ripe yet?"
As I rub my own head and ponder the same, it is clear that this melon is far from ripe :) But at least, the melon seems to be growing in the right field. On that note, here are some unripe reflections :)
I am very grateful to have encountered "multiple forms of wealth" in the past three years. It has broadened my understanding of "capital" beyond financial resources, and has helped me to see the endless abundance in life, and to nourish the true wealth.
To deepen the appreciation for this new and ancient notion, on this pilgrimage, I have committed to reflecting on and recording a "non-material gift" every time I receive a financial gift -- and share them online.
Here are three dozens such entries from the past four months.
A few hours ago,
returned from a 12-day vision quest,
with 96 hours of fasting,
and 72 hours of wilderness solo.
Now it is late,
back here in the middle world.
Unwilling to initiate the usual nightly rituals
to get ready for bed,
for fear that a bug-less night's sleep
on the thick mattress
would make me forget
what I have tried so hard to recall
in the open wild, under the stars,
guessing which animals
own the shadowy footsteps nearby.
But perhaps, trust
is a renewable resource
and that Soul,
a rechargeable reservoir of wonder.
-- on the eve upon return from the vision quest
A pilgrimage around the globe by bicycle, in service of the ecological and spiritual awakening of our time. More information here.