Christina Zastrow

The Long Way Home

A visit to the Po Lin Monastery

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I wrote a little about my recent experience in Hong Kong and my trip to the Po Lin Monastery, home of the Tian Tan Buddha (aka the Big Buddha). We took a cable car from Hong Kong across the bay and up the mountain to the monastery.

Putting the experience into words has been unusually difficult because while there I experienced my own spiritual moment of peace and clarity. I can’t speak for what other people experience, I can’t even really speak to what I felt because for me it was a clear vision of the future I want and the paths I can take to get there.

I’ve wrestled with it for weeks and I struggle to put it into more words than that, but ever since I’ve been acutely aware of a lack in my own life, not of a “God shaped hole” as I once spoke of, but of  loss of community and of connection to the greater universe that I once held in my core. I’ve struggled to find the same connection and community in other places, with other people, but what spoke to me when I was a more religious person was something that I don’t think exists outside of a church – the collection of people all gathering to give themselves up, singing boldly of their faith and releasing pain. Unfortunately, for reason that are not relevant here, I no longer feel that in church and so I cast about looking for it with friends, and with others who feel the need to connect with the world in some way, to discuss philosophy and belief and honor without the hold of a god or gods, with only themselves to hold them to their codes.

I know now that I need to find that connection somewhere, and that I will search until I find it, but I suspect it will come from somewhere unexpected, if only I can be open to it in the world.

And with that realization, I run out of words about my experience and leave you instead with pictures…

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Author: Christina Zastrow

Somewhere along my way through life, I managed to lose sight of myself. Then when my first long term relationship fell apart I found myself homeless, unemployed, and without family or support system. I decided it was time to find my way home, back to myself. This is my journey.

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