Tuesday, September 6, 2011
An American philosopher once stated, "The only Zen you find on the top of a mountain, is the Zen you bring there." American's aren't exactly known for their understandings in Eastern philosophy but Robert Pirziq could not be more correct in this statement. I spent the last twenty-two years of my life searching for some sort of "zen", "piece of mind", "nirvana", whatever you would like to call it. I threw myself into Ashtanga yoga, acupuncture, organic and holistic health, therapy, breathing exercises..I think you are getting the jist. But none of the above worked, my mind was still chaotic and I still felt lost looking for this so called, "Self". I thought all my answers would come the day I decided to leave the country for a month and travel through Costa Rica. I was wrong. I found myself thinking I should probably tattoo "persevere" on my forehead because this is what I had to tell myself to do every single morning before our two- hour nature walks. Don't get me wrong, I am the first one to want to take part in any form of exercise or physical exertion. But these hikes were not bringing me zen and that is what I was truly looking for. I spent 26 days trying to figure out why I was not being handed the answers to life or why I wasn't experiencing this grand epiphany. It was not until my last week in Costa Rica that I experienced Shanti. A Buddhist mantra which means peace. This feeling of Shanti was consumed after a 5 hour bus ride and a ferry trip from San Jose to a small town called, Montezuma or as I like to call it.. paraiso. Words will never be able to describe this little piece of heaven. Montezuma mended my soul. It is a small town with an estimated amount of 30 locals. The rest, which is still few, are all American and European tourists, but the type of tourists you actually enjoy spending time around. I'd rather use the word backpackers than tourists. Tourists get such a bad rep. The town was surrounded by mysterious beaches, waterfalls and underwater graveyards. The beaches went on for miles and I still could not tell you where they began and where they ended. That was one of the beauties of this place. As you walk out onto the beach you witness beautiful waves crashing, locals relaxing on the beach in hammocks, people playing music, one local old man who sold fresh ceviche.. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I had never met such relaxed and happy people in my life. One local who went by the name "Monkeydog" repeated over and over to me in broken English and some Spanish, that, "he is just so happy, how could you not be happy with the beach in front of you, everyone in Montezuma is just happy!" And this was true. The happy attitudes of these people wore off on me. I no longer was wondering what time is was or what day it was or what I was going to do the next day. I was simply living in the moment. This is where I found my zen. The realization of just living in the moment and not worrying what is to come. I did not find zen in, yoga, on a mountain top, in the rainforest, but in the moment of realizing only I can bring myself Zen and to live in the moment. Live and let live.