While teaching in
Inspired like so many others by Kerouac, I sought not-knowing through travel. Backpacking without an itinerary for ten months, I unlearned dependence on my materials comforts, social support and career benchmarks. I lived more simply and spontaneously. This made it possible for me to experience the second tenet, bearing witness.
Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world
The richest part of traveling was the friendships. Seeing my cousins in
I witnessed the mines of Potosí where the Spanish sacked the wealth centuries ago. Throughout South America, I listened to dreams of breaking the visa-barrier into the
North of Lima, I volunteered at an ecological Hindu ashram in order to practice yoga. I explored aspects of yoga that went beyond the physical positions. I liked the Bhagavad Gita message of dedicating the fruits of your labor to God. I felt the joy and gratefulness of chanting mantras and performing reverences. I just could not swallow their intense devotion to one personality of God (
By watching Ernesto Guevara’s trips in Motorcycle Diaries while planning my trip, I developed the intention to use my profession as a teacher as a way to give back to and get to know the people. I thought I could offer my services as a teacher of English. While I enjoyed one volunteer teaching experience, the path of a wanderer emerged more strongly for me during this stage than that of a volunteer. However, two unexpected loving actions did emerge.
First, as I felt more connected to local cartoonists, I shared their desire to express themselves in a cultural environment dominated by imports from the
Second, I joined the Zen Peacemakers.
(to be continued)