Hey, soulful wanderers’ thanks for checking in. I wanted to invite you as we walk along the path today and talk about life so let's get to it. Hello guys, this is Scott with Spiritual Travelings and I wanted to take a moment and make a video out here in meditation valley and get you up to speed as to what we've been up to for the last… what has been six-seven months. Now maybe at the same time talk about what's going on… talking about the journey that we're all in these days. We are in northern California and as you can see around us and by the color of the sun right now… this area we've been kind of bathed in an orange glow for the last month or two. That's because the local mountains around us have had forest fires raging through them and at this moment; more specifically to our west, in this direction… we have a fire it's about 55,000 square acres that are burning. It's within about five or ten miles of us but luckily and thankfully it's about over fifty-percent contained and the firefighters have been doing a wonderful job out here fighting this stuff. It’s amazing what they do and how they endure. The temperatures out here can be over one-hundred degrees it’s not the easiest place to fight fires. So, I’m very thankful to them and for all the hard work they've done. This particular fire is not growing... it's been kind of restrained and not moving in our direction anymore which is nice. But there have been several families in our area that have been deeply affected and our hearts and prayers go out to them. There have been homes lost... lives have been lost, and so I wanna send out some good thoughts their way. We're thinking of them… these are interesting times. We're living in an interesting world these days. Between politics and biology… ecology, man a lot of stuff going around. It's been a moment of reflection and it’s been a practice for us in sitting and being patient and not trying to control… even in our minds.
I’ve been working a lot on the website spiritualtravelings.com. If you have a moment, we invite you to go to the website, and join the discussion. Share with us what what's going on in your life… your thoughts. I created the website about a year ago with the intention of creating an online public environment where people can support one another and share their journeys and their travelings out in the world. It's an inward journey and it's an outward journey. These days the outward journey is really restricted so it's become more of an inward journey. We can go out into safe places and those can be special events and travels in our life. We live on thirty acres here and we have about a half mile walking trail out to Meditation Valley and this is a nice place to come out to and relax and reflect and sit and be in nature. So there are things to do as I said, I’ve been working on the website and enjoying that a lot and also would like to put out there to everybody if you have any feedback any thoughts any encouragements or even criticisms, please feel free to reach out to us share with us on the forum message us directly tell us some of your ideas or just we would love to hear your stories… love to hear places you've been… amazing things you've seen. We are on social media… this will be up on YouTube and we are learning how to make videos and edit videos and that's been an education in itself. It's very interesting unique time where we can we have the power of technology that depending upon how much energy you want to put into it, you could make yourself a little movie... or a big movie…it seems to be unlimited. We have monthly meetups...we're doing zoom type meetings. The software's called Jitsi, it's very similar but it allows you to stay online longer without paying for it so it's a little bit of a budget thing but it works just the same. We do that the last Wednesday of each month and we have an Overlanding Group that gets together the second Wednesday of the month and again I invite you to join us.
Let’s talk a little bit about what we've been doing since we've been at home. I have a few couple of pre-existing conditions that make it unwise for me to take too risky a chance to go out into the world so my path has been to isolate a bit more which has been an education and a teacher to me as well. A lot of reflection and a lot of quiet time, a lot of thinking, a lot of watching myself, watching my own thoughts and trying not to distract too much with social media. I’m trying to hold a balance with that because it's very tempting to pull away from the moment and immerse yourself in distraction. There's a lesson and an opportunity that we have that is very much a big part of certain traditions, spiritual traditions out there such as Buddhism and Christianity…probably Hinduism… a number of different practices whereby people spend time alone with themselves… with their thoughts for periods of time and for the pursuit of the wisdom and knowledge that comes from that quiet silent place. But it is difficult. These times make it extremely difficult. The urge to pull away from what we see… pull away from the suffering or the pain or the struggles that we see, is strong with all of us and those struggles can be many. I’m becoming very aware of my own need and watching friends and others…our need to connect. I’m a bit of a intro extrovert… I’m kind of in the middle. I enjoy long periods of time to myself but I’m also a people person as well so I can feel that. I can feel that urge to want to connect, to be around people to have those times, the humor, that laughing. And again, going back to the spiritual practices that are out there, you have your people, you have you have your church, you have in Zen… you have a sangha. It's a very much a big part of who we are and our spirituality and our higher calling and so these things are difficult. My heart goes out to people as I watch them really struggle to be to be alone at times. To be without contact and I include myself in that as well. But there is a benefit too. And again, I’m not a priest or a monk or anything like that I’m simply a guy that just enjoys the journey. I’m just a traveler myself on my own path that's seeking my own higher power. But what I have seen and heard and they have experienced is that there can be a benefit to sitting in that place. Sitting in the reality. Finding balance in the middle. Not reaching out… not trying to control… not trying to diminish. not trying to change, hide, add to modify. Just take things the way they are. Just be with it without judgment. To sit with another in compassion… with each other as we go through our struggles. If you look at the root of the word compassion…. it's something I did recently… I did my little google search and looked into where the word compassion came from and what I came across was it’s rooted in a Latin word which is eluding me at this time but what it meant in its earliest forms was to sit…. to be with somebody in their suffering. Definitions change over time… that was a bit of a surprise to me because I always thought compassion was just being nice to people you know. Send them a gift card… send them a Christmas card… say something nice... say something encouraging etc etc. Actually, the original… the oldest version of the word compassion defines it as “to be with somebody in their struggles”. And what that requires is to be with them in their moment, allowing them space to acknowledge their struggle… to not diminish it… not poo poo it… not push it to the side. To actually just sit compassionately with somebody in their struggle.
I talk a lot about Zen because I’m involved in a really wonderful Sangha in Redding California called Redding Zen (www.reddingzen.org), if you have a moment take a look at it. They are a wonderful bunch of people who are guided by a very compassionate monk, her name is Reverend Helen and she encourages and guides us as we and facilitates our awareness… our growth and so you'll see me talk a lot about that. It's not to say that is what I’m proposing because I believe that we all come to our understanding and spirituality through many channels. There are many traditions of Zen… there's many traditions of spirituality and religion and that's one of the things I really enjoy and I’ve always been a big supporter of is the pursuit the individual pursuit whatever form your spirituality takes. But today I will refer to Zen because that is something that I’ve spent a lot of time around these days. In the Zen tradition, they talk about equanimity. I think that it has origins in the translation that was probably in either Chinese or Japanese. In Zen it would be Japanese but the American the north American translations equanimity; which would be Latin again, would be equal equi maybe. I was asleep during Latin so you'll have to forgive me. But equanimity is holding all of it in your awareness… in the moment… to not go to one or the other but take in the whole the ying and the yang… the black and the white and maybe even go beyond it. They talk about; and I’m still learning about the idea, that there's something even more beyond the polars… the world of this and that… the ego constructs of reality. And so, to sit and observe and let the wisdom rise up… let the mind quiet and let something else come up as you sit with your friend. Maybe something from a deeper place. Let understanding and wisdom arise from something… from somewhere other than human mental constructs, may be something beyond. So anyways, a little light reading for the afternoon. I do love talking about heavy stuff. That's kind of why I built the website. I’m a big fan of these subjects... always have been… always enjoyed it. And I love to hear other’s stories. I don't simply like espousing all the time, I actually enjoy and love the pursuit of the journey and the path that others have been on as well. Other things that we haven't seen. I like to hear those stories as well… stories come from everywhere. Adventures, journeys, travelings. The universe is a huge place… the world is a huge place... our country is a huge place… my neighborhood is a huge place and there's places within places. There are things we didn't see yesterday that if you just get quiet, we'll see it today. So, there's worlds within worlds and that's another subject.
So anyways, thank you so much for taking the time to listen to me. Again I encourage you to join our online community. The website is spiritualtravelings.com I have a blog, videos of our journeys… of our trips to different parts of the world. And again, it's not just travels to foreign lands. You'll notice that the front page of the website I’ve added the word everyday Spiritual Travelings because Spiritual Travelings happen everywhere. This is my backyard… this is a pretty amazing place and for you it can happen anywhere. It can happen on a walk in the park… it can happen when you take your dog somewhere… bicycle riding… skateboarding… rollerblading… mountain biking… skiing… the sublime doesn't limit itself to where it exists. It's everywhere so the only thing that's required is to just simply be in the moment… to watch for it … to be to be in compassion with it, and what a wonderful thing that is. I mean doesn’t that sound great? To be in any compassionate moment with the sublime with something bigger than what is going on? So anyways thank you so much again for staying here with us. Being here with me and listening to my ramblings and again please feel free to join and comment on the forum. We love to hear all of your stories so let's encourage each other… give each other ideas… be mirrors for each other. Let's help each other in these difficult times. Help one another find our path… find our journey… find those lessons… those things that we are meant to see and learn and be a part of and connect with. Let's be a Sangha to one another and to be a church to one another… to be brothers and sisters. So, all right I’m getting corny. Thank you so much and Gassho… the divine in me recognizes the divine in you. I look forward to seeing you all out there…. thank you.