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Traveling Mindfully Connects Us to the Deeper Meaning of Life

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Travel can be a sacred act. Many people on the planet are waking up to the idea that true  “pilgrimage” is a tangible possibility. Traveling mindfully is an intentional process, an active rather than passive way of traveling.

Intentional, sacred travel, even, is a process by which we can connect to the deeper meaning of life.

In his The Art of Pilgrimage, Phil Cousineau writes, “The art of pilgrimage is the craft of taking time seriously, elegantly. What every traveler confronts sooner or later is that the way we spend each day of our travel . . . is the way we spend our lives.”

Phil isn’t only a well-read, adventurous author—he’s also one of our veteran tour leaders who’s been crafting expansive journeys with us for many years. 

It’s because of leaders like Phil that we’re reminded of the importance of how to best travel. . . and how to best spend our lives. 

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3 Ancient Greek Myths That Remain Relevant in Today’s World​​​​​​​

3 Ancient Greek Myths That Remain Relevant in Today’s World​​​​​​​

Whenever people think of Greek myths, they often conjure up images of an imaginary past in which gods and goddesses interacted with humans and heroes went on epic journeys around the ancient world.

Some of Ancient Greece’s most famous myths were not only rooted in reality, but are also alive and well today.

Travelers can revel in the enduring legacy of these myths by standing on the soil where Amazon warriors displayed their incredible strength, where Hercules first lit the Olympic torch, and where the Oracle of Delphi guided people to discover themselves in order to understand the world around them.

These myths are part of ancient Greece’s enduring legacy, and continue to shape the country — and most of the world — to this very day.

1. The Amazons

According to Greek mythology, the Amazons were a tribe of female warriors that lived in Themiscyra, an area located in present-day Turkey.

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THINK Beyond Your Genes - July 2021

Spacetravel

Hello Dear Friends, Cultural Creatives & Seekers Everywhere,

The video in this article is a rerun from a previous article. Why play it again? The message is even more relevant today.

Joy Ride?

Over the past several weeks, the public was offered a momentary break from the never-ending onslaught of news of a world in chaos and upheaval. Global attention was temporarily focused on the exploits of gazillionaires Jeff Besos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk. Each of these individuals, representatives of the top 1% of the top 1% of the world’s wealthy, have invested their riches in creating their own space-flight companies. To demonstrate for the public their trust in their own efforts, Besos and Branson strapped themselves into rockets and blasted-off into space.

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Mindful and Spiritual Travel Are More Essential Now Than Ever

peaceful-woman-meditating-in-machu-picchu

Visiting sacred sites, studying sacred mythology, meeting new people abroad, and learning from spiritual teachers are all factors driving people into spiritual travel.

You see, ever since stay-at-home orders went into place due to COVID-19, people have been waking up to their need for more meaningful connections and experiences.

Even Deepak Chopra predicts the future of wellness travel after COVID. His verdict?

Chopra says people are looking for a reconnection to existence. From exploring nature to seeking wellness travel, people yearn to form meaningful social connections as well as connections to why they’re alive.

Chopra even predicts people will begin seeking out spiritual sites more and more. 

What is spiritual travel exactly? 

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Updates on Paititi, Lost City of the Inca: Does the Search Continue?

Amazon Rain Forest ~Jacob Lopez, staff writer

Cusco represents the heart of the Inca civilization. It is there that many begin their pilgrimage to Inca cities such as Machu Picchu in the Andes. Inspired by the mystery and transformative power of Andean indigenous traditions, many undertake adventures such as our very own Heart of the Pachamama with Puma Quispe Singona. But now, and for the last 100 years, there has been another set of explorations from Cusco. Researchers have been navigating through the Peruvian Amazon for signs of the Lost City of Paititi.

Discovering Paititi would be extremely beneficial for both our preservation and understanding of the culture of the Inca. Finding such places and artifacts ensures their protection. The preservation of sites also enables researchers to study them and bring to light things previously unknown.

In 1979, two French-Peruvian explorers named Nicole and Herbert Cartegena discovered the agrarian settlement of Mameria. Their discovery provides the very first written proof of Incan presence within the Peruvian Amazon jungle. Mameria contains approximately 15 square miles of houses in the pirca style of the Inca. 

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Peru Travel Itinerary: Discover Peru Sacred Sites

two-llamas-standing-on-a-ridge ~Jacob Lopez, staff writer

By creating a Peru travel itinerary surrounding the many Peru sacred sites, you’re securing yourself an immersive experience in a culture rich with healing arts. 

When describing the importance of pilgrimage to Peru’s sacred sites such as the Sacred Valley Peru, our journey leader Puma Quispe Singona says: “There is so much that is constantly affecting us. So we need to take care of our heart. We need to take care of our mind. . .We have ceremonies. We have rituals. We have ways of being and thinking. . .so we can be healthier. So we can be happier and in inner peace.” 

Puma is an Andean medicine man and wisdom keeper who leads our Heart of the Pachamama journeys through the sacred lands of Peru. 

In this article, we serve as your guide to forming a Peru travel itinerary to discover Peru sacred sites based on our own time in Peru with Puma. You’ll learn where to go and what to do during your time among the traditions of the Andes in Peru.

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Why You Need a Vacation: 5 Benefits of Disconnecting

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Are you among the 55% of Americans who don’t take their allotted vacation time from work? That may not be such a good move for your health, happiness, or productivity. There are important reasons why you need a vacation instead of burning the candle at both ends.

Because I travel so much for all the seminars, workshops, trainings, and speeches I give — as well as all the time I spend writing books or recording new online courses and video blogs when I am home — my wife was becoming upset about the lack of time we were spending together.

She suggested we take a month-long vacation together to reconnect and deepen our relationship with each other. So we rented a house on the ocean in Maui, Hawaii, for a whole month. 

At first, I was nervous about being away from my work for a whole month, but with the success of our online programs that don’t require my live presence every week, and the ability to prerecord video blogs and social media messages, it turned out fine. 

I made an agreement with my wife that I could write and handle critical emails for a maximum of two hours a day, and the rest of the time I would spend with her.

As I reflect on the month, here are five valuable insights and lessons that I learned about the value of disconnecting through taking a vacation. Hopefully, they’ll help you discover why you need a vacation too.

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Joseph Campbell Books to Inspire Your Hero’s Journey

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Sacred Earth Journeys has lately been on a bit of a Joseph Campbell kick. Is that surprising? His work embodies the Sacred Earth Journeys mission of mythological education and personal transformation. We’re endlessly delighted at all the Joseph Campbell books and quotes teaching our pilgrims that we too are heroes in this world full of labyrinthine journeys and prospective transformation. 

Better yet, his work inspires the physical manifestation of taking the hero’s journey, that is, taking an actual trip abroad

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The Hero’s Journey We All Need to Take

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The world is undergoing a troubling, yet essential transformation. On the outside, it appears we’re on the brink of collapse: environmental degradation is rampant, war is preached as an inevitable part of life, and COVID-19 makes us wonder if things are changed forever. Yet on the inside, many of us are awakening to the idea of a more meaningful life. Many of us are embarking or thinking about embarking on a personal hero’s journey. 

The idea of the hero’s journey comes down to us from comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell. You’ve probably seen Joseph Campbell quotes circulating the web. For example, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls,” is very recognizable, especially the “follow your bliss” part.

In many of Joseph Campbell books, including The Power of Myth, The Hero’s Journey (an autobiographical work on Campbell), The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and Myths to Live By, he explores what’s referred to as the monomyth. The monomyth cycle includes a hero’s call to adventure and eventual pilgrimage into the unknown where he or she returns with boons to bestow upon humanity. 

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5 Joseph Campbell Quotes for Initiating a Personal Hero’s Journey

Statue-of-Dante-Alighieri Statue of Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy, an exemplary model of Campbell’s hero’s journey. Florence, Italy

One needn’t study Joseph Campbell quotes for long to see how myth is universal—not merely “fake,” but representative of higher truths.

In the context of mythology and sacred journeys (such as those led by Sacred Earth Journeys), the hero’s journey or “monomyth” comes to mind. The hero’s journey is a vast psychological, mythological template of stories involving sets of protagonistic “heroes” that are called to adventure, undergo a set of trials, and return home victorious and thus with boons to bestow on their community or world. The idea of the hero’s journey was spread by various scholars and was eventually popularized by Joseph Campbell via his popular book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, after studying Jungian analytical psychology.

Phil Cousineau, a Sacred Earth Journeys leader and author of The Art of Pilgrimage, drew inspiration from Campbell’s work. The two even worked together in the mid-’80s before Campbell’s death in 1987. Cousineau was a co-screenwriter for The Hero’s Journey documentary film about the life of Joseph Campbell. It won several international awards and was a longtime favorite for PBS viewers. Campbell remains an important influence on Cousineau’s work.

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The Surreal Landscape of Ladakh, India

beautiful-landscape-in-norther-part-of-india-picture-id471925925 Ladakh is one of the most elevated and coldest regions in the world

Ladakh is a mountainous, Tibetan Buddhist haven located in northern India, bordered by the Himalayas in the south and the Kunlun mountains to the north. Ladakh is nestled closely between Pakistan, China, and of course, India. It is in very close proximity to Tibet, hence the large population of Tibetan Buddhists in the area. 

As described by UNESCO, “The region constitutes a Cold Desert biome with harsh climatic conditions, which can be attributed to two factors. One is its location on the leeward side of the Himalayas, which makes it a rain-shadow zone inaccessible to the annual southeastern monsoon winds that sweep the rest of the country, thus creating desert conditions with low levels of precipitation. . .These physiographic peculiarities and ensuing harsh climatic conditions have led to the emergence of a unique Cold Desert ecosystem as well as Culture of the community, which is unlike any other in the world.”

While many might be aware that India contains a cold desert cultural landscape, it’s incredibly beautiful, and even surreal as compared to the rest of India, a country often noted as hot, humid, and overall, tropical. 

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How to Travel Sacredly

back-to-nature-solo-traveler-a-happy-young-woman-tourist-walking-in-picture-id1169892688 How to Travel Sacredly
In the Words of our Sacred Earth Journeys Leaders . . .

There are different levels of experience that are possible while taking the leap and heading abroad as a traveler into this world full of castles, temples, home-stays, and ancient cities. We the travelers ultimately decide whether or not our journeys are sacred. Our level of experience may start with where we stay and the sites we choose to see, yes, but there are other important components than just those. Here’s some advice surrounding how to, in general, travel sacredly.

This advice comes in the form of quotes by none other than the leaders of our Sacred Earth Journeys. Make sure to click the links to check out our journeys videos through which our leaders speak these words!

The first quote is by Freddy Silva. Freddy is a bestselling author and a leading researcher of ancient civilizations, restricted history, sacred sites, and their interaction with consciousness. He has led journeys for us through Mexico, Egypt, and Peru. His words charge our longing for journeys full of ancient mysteries and hidden secrets.

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How to Connect With the Soul of India

ganesha-picture-id536777947 How to Connect With the Soul of India

In India, spiritual seekers come across the Sanskrit term sacchidānanda, that is,consciousness, existence, and bliss as experienced when encountering Ultimate Reality, or Brahman.

In our journey overview video for our February 2021 journey: Shiva Dancing: Sacred South India With Andrew Harvey, Andrew states: “We are children of divine joy. If we build that joy and nourish that joy, it will grow and grow and finally, it will open into total liberation.”

Andrew is the founder of Sacred Activism, a merging of the passion for God and the passion for activism. His statement on being “children of divine joy” is important to think about when considering a journey through India, a foolproof way to water this divine joy so might it blossom into “total liberation.”

Here’s how to best connect with the soul of India. This is critical for connecting with the soul of who we ought to become if we are to cast light through the perilous shadows currently pervading the world.

Embrace the Soul With Monastic Life In an Ashram 

From our past journey at Shantivanam Ashram: taking food in silence
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Healing With Wachuma: Science and Tradition

Flowering Wachuma cacti at dusk. Healing With Wachuma: Science and Tradition

Wachuma is a plant cactus medicine with origins in the ancient Andean Mountains of Peru. The medicine is considered a masculine, Father plant teacher. The journey Wachuma inscribes onto our souls is one that brings us through to our darkest shadows so might we transcend our inner barriers and reach Heaven on Earth. Due to experiences of healing with Wachuma (but also religious subjugation), the Spanish renamed the medicine upon their arrival. They called it San Pedro, “Saint Peter” in English. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus declares to Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Wachuma was named after Saint Peter because the Catholics viewed Wachuma as the key to the gates of Heaven. Pilgrims who undergo sacred journeys with Wachuma report dealing with emotional baggage unknown previous to their journeys. They return from these journeys feeling lighter and better able to transcend the weight of their lingering afflictions. 

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How Travelling connects you with your soul

soultravel How Travelling connects you with your soul

The first thing that comes to your mind when someone talks about ‘holidays’, is traveling. People have different hobbies and passions. Some people like to relax at home and play video games, some like to listen to music to relax and others like to take a walk in the park. And then there are some people who live their lives out of a suitcase. These people have to do so because of work related commitments and some do so because of personal love for traveling. 

Not everyone loves to travel but people who have a genuine love for traveling might not always need a reason or even a companion to set their foot out of their home. They find comfort in being uncomfortable and might plan an impromptu trip. Apart from physical and mental benefits, traveling helps you to connect with your soul. The health of the soul is linked with mental strength. To be able to maintain it, you must involve yourself in creative and constructive activities. It requires you to maintain a healthy lifestyle where you are happy, social, and take efforts to make it constructive. The health of your soul is the key to your mental health, and it is directly linked with your life’s endurance.

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Going on a Pilgrimage to Redefine Travel

Soulful Journey Going on a Pilgrimage to Redefine Travel

It was over 600 years ago when Dante, the prolific Italian epic poet and pilgrim, decided on going on a pilgrimage from the mythological forest of his mind into the unknown. In the process, he ventured through the terrifying underworld, yet also acquainted himself with the heavenly spheres. This was all with the guidance of the poets and heroes who helped him become a hero himself. 

And although Dante’s literary pilgrimage resides in the layer of reality we call “myth,” it has much to teach us about going on a pilgrimage ourselves

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A Love Letter from Andrew Harvey to His Most Sacred Places

varanasi-at-sunrise-picture-id905049262 A Love Letter from Andrew Harvey to His Most Sacred Places

I hope everyone has a chance to travel the world and see places that feed them spiritually. Two places very sacred to me, influencing my life and spiritual path, are India and Sri Lanka. My early years in India shaped my sense of unity with all religions. The sights, smells, and sounds of India are like no others. It is quite simply the most transformative place on earth.

My favorite place is Benares, also known as Varanasi. It is on the banks of the Ganges river and a major religious hub. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here when he gave his first sermon in nearby Samath. Varanasi has been my sacred home for 40 years. Hindus believe that dying here and getting cremated along the banks of the holy Ganges river allows one to break the cycle of life, death, and rebirth and attain salvation. Varanasi is also an important cultural and creative center in India, well known for its silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture.

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How yoga refreshes your mind while traveling

holidayyoga How yoga refreshes your mind while traveling

Traveling can be for leisure or work related but in both cases it may create havoc in your daily routine. Frequent traveling is often associated with negative health and mental effects which includes aches and pain in the body, stress, anxiety, exhaustion and sleepless nights. It can be caused due to the change in time zone and daily routine. It takes a toll on your body and you feel less energetic. It takes quite a while to shrug off the jet lag and come into your normal self to enjoy the travel. 

Stopping yourself to indulge in binge eating or eating the unhealthy street food becomes a task. This results in disruption of our healthy habits too, which might lead to weight gain. 

Traveling helps you push your boundaries and break free from the bubble of your comfort zone, therefore, creating many opportunities to evolve as a person and widen your worldview. As it is unlikely that you can hit the gym while traveling, this is where yoga can be of utmost importance as it does not require any equipment. Even if you are not carrying a yoga mat, you can perform some yoga asanas. Yoga helps you to find peace and calm in the chaos. By integrating yoga with your traveling you can have an experience of both worlds and emerge as a transformed person. 

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La Dolce Vita: A Sacred Journey Through Italy

olditaly La Dolce Vita: A Sacred Journey Through Italy

Few other places in the world offer a unique blend of rich history and culture and in such an immensely beautiful setting like Italy does. With the array of endless encounters of historic sites and experiencing la dolce vita, the sweet life, as you wander through markets and taste the local cuisine; we can think of no other place better suited for a spiritual journey like Italy.

Ruins of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
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Deep in the Great Smoky Mountains…

smokeyMt Deep in the Great Smoky Mountains…

“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” — Hopi American Indian proverb

I love striking up conversations with people from all walks of life, especially those who have walked down paths I know nothing about. I try to have these conversations as often as I can, because I am always struck by the wisdom I discover in each and every one.

Earlier this week as my family vacationed at Blackberry Farm in the Great Smoky Mountains, I met a forest ranger named Dwight. Dwight taught me the history of the forests, the wisdom of the plants, and how to remain calm if I ever lost my way in the woods. (He’s got a book called “Lost!: A Ranger’s Journal of Search and Rescue” that I look forward to reading.)

I also met a vegetable gardener named John. John fell in love with vegetable drawings when he was a young boy and parlayed his interest into becoming one of the greatest gardeners in our country. (He’s also got a new book coming out that’s all about his journey to preserve our roots.) Ask John about tomatoes or garlic or seeds and he will give you a history lesson on each and tell you what to eat, when. (Only eat tomatoes when they’re in season, which is right now, he said. Otherwise, you’re eating engineered food.)

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