I am reserving this space for future development. Meanwhile, I will state in brief that “journeys” refers more to the inner quest than to travel, per se. I will add that this perspective is my primary interest in life. I was first inspired to this inner journey shortly after college, deeming what I had been taught as a biology and psychology student as insufficient to my personal needs. Some of my early teachers, mostly through reading, were Dr. John C. Lilly, most notably for The Center of the Cyclone; Ram Dass, Be Here Now; Alan Watts (many books); and Franklin Merrell-Wolfe, Philosophy of Consciousness without an Object. These were some of the pioneers in bringing Eastern and mystical philosophies to our overly objectified Western culture, a process that is now, more than three decades later, having a resurgence.
A more recent perspective under this “new age” rubric is the so-called Toltec movement, a term derived from the Meso-American culture said to have predated the Aztecs in central Mexico. While Carlos Casteñeda refers to the Toltecs, probably the best-known and most articulate present-day exponent of this novel philosophical perspective is don Miguel Ruiz, a practicing nagual (in the Casteñeda sense of the term), who is also a trained surgeon. Don Miguel has written a series of books that are at once simple and profound. The best-known of these, and a worthy introduction to these ideas, is The Four Agreements. At risk of being odiously succinct, I understand that the Toltecs considered themselves to be “artists at living”, who were thus faced with the challenge of crafting a happy and successful life. It is considered that each of us lives in our own dream, that is, our ideas of reality are not reality; and thus we have the freedom to make our own dream a good and happy one. My own viewpoint is that, despite vast differences in origin, this Toltec philosophy bears a great deal in common with Japanese Zen Buddhism. In that respect, the Toltec movement, its study and practices, are the soft counterpart to the hard style of karate that I practice: very different approaches, but aimed at the same goal of self-mastery and inner peace.
In conclusion I will say that everyone needs teachers, those who teach how to live, if we can only humble ourselves. On that basis I cannot overlook my Koei-Kan sensei, Shihan Jack Sabat, who has taught me the value of toughness and perseverance.  I also have a local friend and counselor, who has studied extensively with don Miguel Ruiz, and she “gets it”; her help and advice have been invaluable. In addition, I have participated in several spiritual retreats with another “graduate” of don Miguel’s teaching: Allan Hardman (that’s him walking away in the photo above). He has deep insight and puts up with no foolishness. If you are interested in reading more, you can visit his website: joydancer.com, or see many photos from two such retreats, the 2006 annual Summer Celebration of Love, and a Power Journey to Teotihuácan and Tepoztlán, here...
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