(English version below.)
From December 2017 to Jan 2018, the pilgrimage led me on a whirlwind tour in India through five spiritual meccas that are important not only for India, but also for the world: one week in Puttaparthi, the alternative universe of Sathya Sai Baba; 10 days in Auroville, the 50-year-young experiment in human unity; one week in Tiruvannamalai, home to the sacred Arunachala Hill and Ramana Ashram; 10 days at Dhamma Giri, the global headquarter of Vipassana meditation; and three weeks at the Gandhi Ashram ecosystem in Ahmedabad, where the experiment of the Law of Love continues today.
In each of these places, I was hosted by the extended ServiceSpace family, a global volunteer community. So, in a sense, despite all the moving around, I had never left the service space and Dharma realm :)
It was almost one year ago that I landed in Istanbul and started the three-month journey through the Middle East. From Sept 12 to Dec 2, 2017, the pilgrimage led me through Turkey, Iran and Dubai (UAE). Thanks to the daily journal and photos, not all memories are lost :) Here are some belated reflections from that colorful and paradoxical part of the world.
"The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, ... was all about: 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'… It's a social-validation feedback loop ... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology… The inventors, creators — it's me, it's Mark [Zuckerberg], it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway… It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."
-- Sean Parker, founding president of Facebook
It's been over two months since I've gone off of Facebook and other social media platforms (Instagram, WeChat Circle, etc). I have almost forgotten about Facebook's existence until it came up in conversation. I do not miss it at all, and have been much happier without it. What’s more, contrary to the fear, I have not missed anything important in life. Leaving Facebook has absolutely been the "best thing since sliced bread" regarding my relationship with technology :) Would like to offer a few reflections here.
There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
In May and June, the Journey has led me through Bhutan, Thailand, China, and Japan, spending from 1 to 3 weeks in each country.
None of it was my "plan". I had not intended to travel abroad since returning to China in February. But as karma ripens, the journey continues, even if not on a bicycle :)
The cycling part of the pilgrimage might be complete, because now the pilgrim feels ready to walk. Here are some reflections from the past two months.
A pilgrimage around the globe by bicycle, in service of the ecological and spiritual awakening of our time.