It felt good to have Alejandra here and travel with her around Machu Picchu and Cusco. My friend came by all the way from Mexico and not only did she bring new laptop along with her but also lots of laughter and good energy. Our 5 days of girl chat and climbing hundreds of Inca stairs went by much too fast, so once she left I decided to return to the Sacred Valley “just for another two days”.
Two days in the Valle Sagrado quickly turned into two weeks. If you take the time to let the Sacred Valley work its magic on you, you will find out that it is not only a collection of inca ruins scattered around a beautiful valley. It´s also a spiritual place where travelers experiment with traditional medicine to release negative energy and emotions; a hospitable place where I became a frequent guest of a retired expats who specifically rents a separate studio for couchsurfers; a peaceful place where an indigoneous local took me on an adventurous walk off the tourist trail…
… and also the place where I “coincidentally” happened to be on time for a meditation retreat held by the Spanish Institute for Mindfulness that allowed me to gain gain deeper insights into mindfulness and happiness, some of which I would like to share here.
First remark that our zen buddhist Dokusho Villalba made us write down in our notebooks when we set down cross-legged on our meditation mats:
The ultimate goal of life is to be happy.
We learned about buddhist values and dove into the philosophical theory behind mindfulness.
We can´t know reality directly. We don´t perceive of things in themselves. What we perceive as reality is in part created by our minds. Immanuel Kant
The map is not the territory. No one can have direct access to reality, given that the most we can know is that which is filtered through the brain´s response to reality. Alfred Korzybski
Our emotional equilibrium is like the ocean. No matter how bumpy it might get on the surface, remember that the floor of the ocean remains calm.
Conscious breathing has become a main aspect of my trip. Unsurprisingly, the mindfulness retreat was all about it.
It´s not me who breathes, it´s the body. It does not represent me, but it´s part of me.
Where do we draw the line between “me” and “the rest”? All conflicts are conflicts created by borders. There would not be any conflicts without borders, because it would all be one.
Nobody canachieve happiness by locking themselves up on a remote island that is surrounded by an ocean of suffering.
Mindfulness is like energy. It´s recicleable, we can regain it if we take time to rest and meditate.
Mindfulness is not an intellectual knowledge, it can only be experienced. Happiness can be achieved through practising mindfulness and being in the moment.
After three beautiful weeks around Cusco and the Sacred Valley it´s time to keep moving! I am grateful to my friend, couchsurfer host, meditation buddies, locals, shaman, zen master, and friends online who helped me to recharge my energy and refuel my solo travel spirit. Ready to take on the 7-day-trek around Ausangate 😀