Japanese gardens and the pilgrim’s path.

There is a subtle beauty in everything, unasking of our attention but wholly deserving of it. The deep joy of appreciation can only be found by eyes that see, and so the cultivation of eyes that clearly see is critical. If we can find a place of calm in the mind – beyond stories, distractions, and thought – we can drop into the simple experience of what is and begin to see clearly.

I’m about to embark on pilgrimage to Japan. This is the third time I’ve planned this trip (once foiled by the 2011 tsunami and another by an uncertain health situation), and as I make final preparations I realize just how long this journey has been incubating. My journalistic interests lie at the intersection of Japan’s ancient culture and the fact that it is one of the most modern places in the world. With many years of experience in both the world of meditation and computer science, the path that has been unfolding feels incredibly organic. We will see what each step of this experience holds.

In anticipation, I leave you with a quote from one of my teacher’s teachers in Dogen’s Zen lineage:

The one way to be truly universal is to be very particular, moment by moment, detail by detail. If you are merely ‘universal,’ you lose the feel of life, you become abstract, facile.
-Bernie Glassman

This is the way – not just on this trip, but in this life.

Oh, and here are some photos from a day spent in San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden a few years ago – sparks of interest from years past that have led to this very moment of departure.

Overlapping patterns of man and nature.

Koi pond reflections.

Symbolism in form.

Supportive nature.

Subtle details.

Layered growth.

Shrines of different sorts.