A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD

Annapurna Massif Panorama

Annapurna Massif Panorama

My studies and experiences did not satisfy my spiritual longing. Instead, I became more spiritually thirsty! So, I embarked on a round-the-world trip that would allow me to explore more thoroughly the realms I had studied.

I trekked with other pilgrims up one of the four holy mountains of China, Omei Shan, which is also called Mount Emei, and is located on the eastern edge of Himalayas. I wanted to experience the Buddha

Light. This halo is a full circular rainbow and is said to completely encircle each person who finds it reflected on “the cloudy sea,” the clouds below the summit.

Upon seeing it, early Buddhists believed they had found Nirvana and jumped off the top of the peak. They fell thousands of feet into deep gorges that are home to pandas.

From China, I traveled to a Hindu ashram in Rishikesh, India. The city is in northern India and located in the foothills of the Himalayas. An ashram is a place like a Christian monastery. While there, I spoke with gurus. “Guru” is a Sanskrit term for “teacher” or “master.” The Hindu guru-shishya is an oral tradition, religious doctrine or experiential wisdom given from teacher to student.

I also studied in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Nepal. I did yoga and meditation in preparation for doing the Annapurna circuit. This tour is a two hundred and fifty-kilometer hike/ climb in the Himalayas. The trip took twenty-eight days and was quite difficult. The highest point was over a pass at eighteen thousand feet. At that height, the oxygen was only 50% and breathing was a struggle.

Sandy with travel partner, Marcia, on the summit of Thorung Pass, the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit at 18,000 feet.

Sandy with travel partner, Marcia, on the summit of Thorung Pass, the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit at 18,000 feet.

Sandy with travel partner, Marcia, on the summit of Thorung Pass, the highest point of the Annapurna Circuit at 18,000 feet.

Sandy (Feb. ’15) adds, “I liked what one of the gurus in Rishikesh said, ‘India is like an old piece of iron –you have to find the magnetism in it.’ How true! First, I had to survive the culture shock –more so than any other place I have been! Very different. Extraordinary poverty combined with profound spirituality.”

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