But last night as I sat under the first quarter moon, a perfect balance of yin with yang about to rise, I began to feel some energy. This morning's reading, "Shrine," from Deng Ming-dao's 365 Tao was inspiring:
"It is good to have holy places in the world, and it is good for us to go on pilgrimages. Ultimately, it is not the place that is important; it is what you feel that is lasting. To visit a place is minor; to change within yourself is greater.
When people visit a holy place, some say that the spirits of that place speak to them. Others remember the exotic pageantry. When it comes to sacred sites, it's better to be a pilgrim than a tourist. Go with a humble attitude, and let your heart be moved by what you experience. Then you will receive the true treasure of the shrine."
This was exactly the message I needed. The true treasures of the shrines I visited are in my heart. I just wasn't paying attention the past week or so. A friend recently told me she overcame a moment of personal torment by sitting on the beach while reading her Bible. In Hawaii, that interface between vast ocean and solid rock is a holy place. You can feel the Tao in the waves as they crash and recede on the sand and lava. Whatever the place (beach or mountains), whatever the scripture, (commentaries on the Tao or Pauline letters), these moments can lift us and remind us that we can easily fix our troubled hearts.
Temple Courtyard Where We Practiced the 8 Brocades