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Emerging from Yellowstone we headed into land that I had never explored.
To Montana, the Crow Reservation and where the Garden of a Thousand Buddhas sat, nestled among the hills. The way I heard of the Garden came through an unlikely channel, however, I felt called so it became one of the few focal points of our journey.
Zen has played a large part in my life. Walking with stillness beyond complexity. Touching extremes, where opposites cancel each other out. Existing where only emptiness remains. Carrying out tasks, that seem completely human, yet which bring deep pleasure and child-like delight.
I have found that my relationship to what is natural has had a great affect on my wellbeing - that the very essence of what is Zen is found in my connection to nature. Nature does not have agendas, it does not yearn for love, to be accepted nor hang onto emotion like a frayed memory. It does not force itself onto another, try to convince anything or anyone else of it's reality. It is through this connection, among other things, that I have come to remember the real me.
I noticed that the more peaceful I felt inside myself, the more I felt it around me. And, the more I experienced it around me, the more at peace I became.
I wrapped myself in white cloth to shade myself from the sun. The wind tugged at my clothes as I stepped out of the car. It seemed to enjoy dancing with me, almost whipping away the cloth and tossing it into the air like a leaf in a storm. We wandered through the Thousand Buddhas. Each had a prayer, each in a pattern aligned with the medicine wheel. After some time, we felt drawn to the hilltop with prayer flags. We climbed the hill, the warm sun a little too warm for my liking, however when we reached the top, I felt liberated.
Walking around the temple of flags the wind tore its way through the plentiful windows. I loved the wild gusts, I felt like cobwebs were being blown from my bones. I felt drawn to be inside the temple, so in the center we sat.
The flags waved at each other in colourful gestures that seemed almost like a random order. I closed my eyes. I started to hear rain. The sun flickered through the material, like filtered light through leaves. A peace washed over me listening to the sound of flags snapping like rain drops in a continual liquidless downpour.
Many moments passed and I felt cleansed. I didn't want to go, yet the world ruled by time had other plans. It pulled me back although I remained outside its grasp. We wandered further to more buddhas set at the foothills. Pausing for longer, we then returned to the circle, expressing gratitude to the Thousand Buddhas.
The big sky had dimmed as if some unseen hand had turned down the light, to set a romantic mood. The land was a merging of peaceful people, of spirituality and of deep healing. I felt reaffirmed. All the words in the world vanished, and an invisible purity whispered in our hearts. A deep peace remained, held by a world of compassion.
Written by Laura Naomi
© Photography 2017
Useful traveling tips and information
My Experience: Vast beauty
The Garden of a Thousand Buddhas
My Experience: Peace and gratitude
Unless you live in Montana, the Garden is a long way to get to. There are many beautiful areas to explore no matter what direction you're coming from. It is a must to visit on a Wyoming - Montana road trip. Going with no expectations, for me it is a space that is peaceful and gentle. Although very subtle, the experience was abundant and the energy of the land vast.
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