Many have asked about the experience abroad since our return; and how interesting it has been to truly let the contrast of different cultures sink in.
In a sense, it all comes down to the eyes through which each of us view the life we are given, for wherever we go, at the end of every road, we meet ourselves. So looking back on such an eye-opening journey, I find myself asking a deeper question, past an individual story of such travels; what did I truly see abroad, with eyes shattered of lifelong beliefs I had so unquestionably accepted?
And how has coming back to the states helped bring such experiences into a stronger contrast? I speak of this contrast not as better or worse...them vs us. Not a division, but a potential for new perspective on our own lives and dreams.
The first and foremost aspect of this topic, in relation to cultural difference, comes in the form of our perspective to life's destiny. Most mainstream western views cling to the illusion of promised happiness upon future fulfillment. But what is this illusion we call future and destiny? Is it tangible? Has it ever been grasped in reality? Or does it keep us in a bewildered state of dreaming of a far off place?
This raging river of wants and hopes between the heart's deepest longing and its truest experience of happiness has become much of the suffering we see in the world today. The paradigm of letting go into life's eyes of wonder, so vastly accepted in other parts of the world, creates an instant synchronicity and empowerment of that which we continue searching for in vain. It is in fact these far off dreams that we mistake for true passion and fulfillment of what we see before us now...Life.
It's not to say people shouldn't dream, but when dreams become the platform on which happiness is constructed, the abode of the heart rests upon a desert full of pearls... conflict, anger and deception tend to become justified as necessity in the attempt to put back together the ever-shifting foundation of sand. The magic of life is lost, each day moving by in unpleasant anticipation of an uncertain and unsafe future.
With the paradigm as seen by many in such far-off places like Bhutan, life begins daily as the destination itself. The joy of living has become the act of living...and in this visionary way of existence, matters of limitation and need become secondary to that of Life's Joy. Each day is a destination and place of celebration, and in this expression of freedom comes the power of happiness... where all needs become understood and spoken for in a different and more fulfilling manner.
Is this a drastic shift from the consumer view of living? Yes. But with huge change taking place in the world, how much longer do we all have as consumers? Truly? When will it be enough? And what will it take to close the rift between our wants and our hearts? The happiness of walking down the street and seeing what is truly before us...finding the joy in the simplicity of beingness is but a blink away.
One simple shift of attention and the unwillingness to accept the storm of mainstream corporate mind is the only way. For each one of us is not only an island, but the ocean as well. Storms will come and go, but this ocean of the heart is forever.