Archive for the ‘Mekong River’ tag
I am coming to recognize the signals that ask me to slow down, to relax, to meditate. In looking for today’s photo, this sunset image caught my attention and took me back to the moment when I took it while in Laos. Rather than join a throng of tourists on top of Phu Si Hill, a small mountain in the small city of Luang Prabang, I found a quiet area with no tourists or even local people along the Mekong River. The silence, the colour and the magic of sunset stilled me after a busy day of touring temples and artisan workshops.
Learning to be still is my task of the moment. Now that I have realised that I have changed a season in my life, I must, like a caterpillar, sit in a cocoon to allow transformative changes to take place. I sense that the changes are not so small and that is both cause for celebration and panic. I also sense that as I undergo this time of metamorphosis, that my wife is shifting and changing as well. Who began to change first? Whose change serves as catalyst for the change in the other? Will the changes result in even more alignment?
In my opinion, at this point in time, because we are so close, I would have to say that because of a host of minute changes that are taking place, we feed off each other taking turns in initiating or serving as catalyst for change. Because we are resonating and responding to these changes, the likelihood of alignment is high. So, for now, I must simply sit back, meditate and learn.
On a boat going upriver on the Mekong, I came across this young couple who were also making their way upriver in their small boat which serves as both home and workplace. Millions of people live on the Mekong River as it traverses through Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Most are small family units, nuclear family units for the most part. Most of them are also in their first half of life. Their journeys on the river are about searching for a home, a place of stability, a journey that will lead them to solid ground.
For myself as someone fairly typical in the western world sense of the world, the search for home has been a search for love.
“Everything, everything, seems to ride on this thing called love. We love nature, we make love, we fall into and out of it, we pursue love and ask it to save us. Romantic love, by which we mean that élan, that heightened ardor, that intense yearning for the Beloved, that frantic grappling, that profound sorrow when the Beloved is lost, that anxious uncertainty about the fixity of the Other – all this and more is both the greatest source of energy and the chief narcotic of our time. Given the erosion of tribal myths which once helped connect our ancestors to the gods, to nature, to the tribe and to themselves, romantic love may prove to be the primary region of existential hunger in our century. One may even suggest that romantic love has replaced institutional religion as the greatest motive power and influence in our lives.” (Hollis, The Eden Project, pp 41-42)
There is no question that whether one is searching for land, searching for a home, searching for family or searching for that one person that will be soulmate, all of us are living with yearning. And it doesn’t matter that we find land, find a home, build a family or get married to the one we have fallen in love with, head over heels; the yearning continues. What we yearn for, what I yearn for, is not to be found in the outer world, in things, activities, or other people.
I took this photo yesterday evening and was pleased how just as I saw the possibilities, aimed and shot, this image appeared. As I write this, I am tired, very tired. My sleep is as busy as my day with images overflowing in all directions. Sometimes I think it is best if I find a way to be quiet and just let the images speak their own language. Yet, I feel compelled to pull words out from within me, not knowing what I will say, but trusting to the impulse.
I feel somewhat like this young man, casting my net out into the waters of the unconscious, in hopes of netting something that will feed me, and perhaps feed others. So, I continue this journey of images through Indochina. The images will bring ripples to my psyche and result in moving me further down a road I know I am supposed to be travelling.
I was almost tempted to do a bit of photo editing with this photo taken just a few hours ago just before sunset here in Vientiane, Laos. The scene is the Mekong River as seen from the fifth floor outdoor restaurant in Vientiane, looking across the Mekong River toward Thailand. I was initially worried that there wasn’t enough “light” because I was facing into the west making the picture darker than it was. But, the thought to edit lasted about a half a second at most and I decided to leave it “as is.”
The afternoon spent in various temples as well as a book I am reading on my e-Reader have left me in a pensive mood. I think back to my original foray into Transcendental Meditation in the early 70s, reading Siddhartha by Hemann Hesse back in the same time period and find some peace in meditative approaches that have come to me naturally in the second half of my life. Perhaps it is because I find myself approaching life in the older lane to be a contemplative time. Regardless of the reason, the temples of Buddhism, Hinduism, and a collection of animistic beliefs find a resonance in terms of honouring the unknown.
I am not drawn to any particular “religion” though I am drawn to a more spiritual life. For me, religions and a spiritual life don’t exactly go together. One can be spiritual with a professed religion as one can be rigidly religions without having a spiritual bone in one’s body.I am drawn to the numinous such as is found in this photograph. For me, it is telling that it contains water, land and sunset colours.
I belong to the earth and water, I am made up of both earth and water. And in the natural flow of life, I will return to the natural elements from which I came. And in the meantime, meaning will arise from how I life my life through both my attitude and my actions.
I just had to choose this picture taken in the early morning while boating down the Mekong River. Today’s post is going to be very short as I have only a few moments until I begin wandering through the ancient part of Hoi An, in central Vietnam. I hope to post again later today in the evening when things slow down.
This image has women plying the oars on the river. I imagine them as anima leading me from light to a darker place, a journey to touch the edges of the unconscious, to touch the fabric of the soul – my soul and the collective soul – anima mundi. This is a journey of life, a journey that constantly provides for rebirth and renewal of the spirit. Xin Chao!
It has been a busy two days since my last post with too many photos taken. As I went though the photos taken yesterday, I despaired of finding one in the collection because so many photos had so munch to tell me. And then, I got to this one and there was no question about which photo I would use. All I had to do was crop the photo and resize it for use here. No other touch ups were necessary. When beginning to plan for this trip, it was the Mekong River that seemed to be the biggest “need” in terms of inclusion. Only a few days of photos taken and yet I already have hundreds of photos of this river as it splits and makes its way to the sea.
Living in Canada, the relationship that Canadians have with the river don’t seem to be as intimate as it is with people in so many other places. The stories I have heard of the Mekong seemed to be the most magical. And so I had to find a way to be on the river, to interact with the river and its people. The water is thick with life, not the crystal clear waters that I am used to in so many of the small rivers in Canada. To be honest, Canada has its share of silty rivers, but somehow it doesn’t feel the same. Here, the river is pregnant, heavy with life, bloated as though ready to give birth to even more life.
And this makes me think of the life that is ready to burst from the unconscious, burst with a messy richness.