My journey to Japan began with an article about a spiritual journey in Buddhist monastery and a simple thought, “I would like to go there one day.” That moment was more than a decade ago.
I imagined undertaking a spiritual journey, one filled with lots of meditation and healing. You know the kind of thing: walking barefooted, kneeling, praying, and contemplating nature–all to a soundtrack of singing bowls, bird calls,
wand chanting. That sort of idealized version of a contemplative and peaceful existence.
Suffice to say that that hasn’t been quite the experience.
Certainly, I am a regular visitor to local shrines. I wander the wooded areas near me, sometimes I hike mountains. I contemplate the beauty of nature and the tranquility it gives me. Still, I have yet to sequester myself in a monastery, although I yearn to do so.
How I got here and what I am doing to remain here doesn’t really matter. The why of being here is something that is evolving. The point is… I am here.
I am here in a place where difference is suspect, being exactly who I am can lead to repercussions, and I am learning that I desire, above all else, that I yearn for stability.
However, living in Japan has influenced me to become more pragmatic.
My idealized version of living in a monastery in the mountains of Japan morphed into one of learning about the people, culture, language, and the importance of practical and sustainable living.
So, it’s been almost four years… I have no idea what will come next. However, I am open to who I will become.
This year, I finally realized (perhaps owned) that the journey that matters the most to me is learning to be a better human being. Specific place or profession matters only to inform my larger goal: understanding that I, too, can be good and do good in the world around me.
How about you? Where has your journey taken you? Where do you want to go next?