Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Sacred Journey to Goa, India

Originally published in the Shambhala Times Community News Magazine, July 8, 2015

In March of 2015 I had the opportunity to travel to Goa, India, with two Shambhala friends, Whitney Hall from Austin, and Harish Rao from Los Angeles. I met Harish, whose family is from Goa, during Shambhala Art Teacher Training, and we had been talking for some time about collaborating to put together a contemplative arts retreat or workshop in India. This spring, we were able to plan a trip together to visit and start laying the groundwork for a possible program in Goa.

As Harish recently explained, “I have heard Shambhala referred to as a place where path, practice, and community come together. I have often felt this way about my native Goa, India. This stretches back to its Portuguese roots; travelers of divergent faiths and cultural backgrounds have arrived through the years to create a unique melting pot and diversity of art, spirituality, and music. It has long been a place where people have come to discover aspects of themselves they may never have known and connect with people from around the world seeking the same. It is a balance of Indian and Bohemian integration that is hard to describe, yet easy to experience. Goa, in some ways, is an untapped, secret court of riches waiting to be discovered by those who venture into its historical landscape.”

For me, the journey held a quality of pilgrimage, with the anticipation of visiting a sacred land, not knowing exactly what I would discover or experience along the way. I’ve always dreamed of traveling to India, the birthplace of so many sacred traditions and practices, including meditation and yoga, which have deeply influenced my life’s path. In addition to my meditation and contemplative arts practices, I work as a writing and creativity coach, and I am pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology, specializing in creativity studies. My dissertation research will explore how contemplative arts practices, such as those laid out in the Shambhala Art and Miksang teachings, facilitate healing, insight, and resilience in workshop and retreat settings. So for me the journey also represented a synthesis of my academic, research, and spiritual, explorations.

To continue reading the article and see some of my photos from the trip, click here.

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