The Great Awakening

They will come…They haven’t stopped coming…It is here that they might finally find it. A plain and simple golden answer to any question they’ve ever had. Outside this perimeter the world is as ugly as it is everywhere else, but in here, in here you will see even when your eyes are closed. “This,” is where things are as they should be. It all happened right over here, beneath a small part of ME… “Do you believe?” When the wind blows, I scatter my dry leaves & it stops their prayer and meditation. They scurry to catch even just one, believing this will be the way in, bringing them one step closer to what HE accomplished.  Oh the pure bliss that radiates from their hopeful faces! More prayer, more meditation, one more chant and they just might get there…

What beautiful energy surrounds us in this place, what peace. This could be what we’ve all been so desperately searching for. It might be hiding here, somewhere under THIS tree…

F.

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Greenback

It’s green. Green like a National Geographic cover photo. A herd of goats play follow the leader over a mound of rubble. A lonely cow stands belly deep in mud surrounded by the most beautiful rice paddies your mind could imagine. Water buffalo chew their cud tethered to a tree I’ve never seen before. A rickshaw spits up dust in the distance, its honk directs two kids covered in purple ink to the side of the dirt road. Rebar tangles lifelessly from the top of every brick building in hope of the future. The sun is winding down, igniting the horizon into an illuminated frenzy. The smells of spices linger out the front door of a shack, Err… house. Yeah, house. Piles of cow patties are stacked proudly along a makeshift fence. Kids in uniforms smile shyly as they pass by. “Photo?” Does any of this look even remotely the same as it did when Prince Siddhārtha Gautama walked these fields? Was he as inspired as I am by its sheer beauty? Is this why he found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree only a short walk away from where I’m standing? There’s something here. I hope I can get out of my own way.

B.

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Rainbow of Smiles

A collection of tiny hands filled with brightly colored powder reached out to me from every direction. They wanted to cover me in it and I was more than happy to oblige. There’s just something about walking around looking like a package of Crayola exploded all over you. A perma-smile is on your face and everyone else’s too. Now what could be more festive than that? It’s the festival of Holi also known as New Year’s here in Bodhgaya, India. Being one of the most rural places we’ve been so far, the celebrating is more subdued than in some of the larger cities. This making the whole thing that much more exciting because you never know where the little color fiends are hiding! Around a corner, on a rooftop, or behind a cow, the possibilities are endless. I adored everything about this festival. One wise restaurant owner attempted to explain what was behind all the celebrating. Many positive expectations and a large number of reasons just to be happy. Spring, renewal and rebirth. “A time when an old man can become young again.” Holidays here don’t have quite the same power to empty your wallet as they do at home. All you need are a couple of Rupees for a plastic water gun and some bags of colored powder and you’re ready to go…

F.