Why We Travel: A Spiritual Connection

According to one theory, many ancient and modern spiritual constructions are built along ley lines, the ‘psychic power lines' of subtle energy and geomantic forces that criss-cross the earth, which may be one reason for the ‘vortex.'

There is a confluence of ley lines outside Vilnius, in Lithuania, which is also the geographical centre of Europe, as defined by the French National Geographic Institute. I haven't visited this particular spot; however I did have something akin to a pilgrimage walking along the river in a forest outside Vilnius, where my hosts were trying to find the grove of trees reputedly used in pagan ceremonies, hundreds of years ago. We never did locate those particular trees, however the forest itself was magnificent, and definitely had a mystical quality. Walking back out in the pitch blackness, singing various songs from different nationalities, I had a moment of truly being awestruck by the ancient majesty of the place.

If It's Good Enough for The Dalai Lama

photo courtesy of viator.comThe mountain of Dobogókő, along the Danube, is not only the oldest ski resort in Hungary, it's also "the heart chakra of the world" according to no-less-a-source than the Dalai Lama, who visited the site in person. I was taken there by local friends, who only informed me afterward that there is a place where you can lay your hands and feel a pulse through the rock. Unfortunately, I can't verify this; however the name Dobogókő means ‘beating stone' or ‘the stone of the beating heart' in Hungarian, and is referred to as the mythological heart of mother Earth.

I did stop by and visit the local Shaolin Temple, on the way back down the mountain, where I felt drawn to sit and meditate inside the small rock shrine. During the 10 minutes I spent in contemplation, I experienced an intensely vivid feeling of peace, and a particularly strong image of my heart connected to the universal spirit and lit from within by a hot pink glow. The Shaolin monks offer Thai-Chi and meditation training, Kung-Fu demonstrations, a vitalizing wellness bath, and guided walks to the heart-chakra on the mountain, where you may be able to feel the pulse of the world, beating through the stone yourself.

A Spiritual Resonance

On a visit to Thailand I made the journey up another mountain to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai, which is in fact a major pilgrimage destination during the Buddhist holidays of Makha Buja and Visak. The golden chedi is absolutely sumptuous, and the statues celebrating the sacred white elephant (which legend has it founded the site) are also charming.

The moment I experienced the spiritual resonance of the place was in a room filled with Buddha statues of all shapes, sizes, and adornments, in which a young monk was conducting blessings. I spent a long time in there, contemplating the transcendence of all things while enjoying the view of fellow travelers kneeling to receive the sprinkle of water in a gesture of peace from the monk, when I looked up to see a mischievous smile on his beautifully serene face as he flicked water across the room at me.

This made me laugh and feel blessed, all at once.


This article was first published at Viator.com and is reprinted with permission. This content © 2010 by Viator.

3/17/2010 4:00:00 AM
  • Travel
  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • About Alonzo L. Gaskill
    Alonzo L. Gaskill is an author, editor, theologian, lecturer, and professor of World Religions. He holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and biblical studies. He has authored more than two-dozen books and numerous articles on various aspects of religion; with topics ranging from world religions and interfaith dialogue, to scriptural commentaries, texts on symbolism, sacred space, and ritual, and even devotional literature.