Native Australian Aboriginals know the profound significance of a journey or process or adventure. When I finally allowed myself to cry about what is currently happening and all the complexities of the current state of politics, economics, and environmental issues, I realized this moment of time too is a walk-about for the soul. According to Juan Matias Inchaustegui and Miguel Martin Perez ‘s article, “Walkabout: The Aboriginal Right of Passage,” Native Australian Aboriginals would send out 13 year-old boys out in nature for six months to survive and find their place amongst earth’s conditions. The boys prepare for their right of passage for months prior to their walkabout by training in hunting, self-defense, and surviving on the land. Families often elicit the help of elders or others to spend time with the boys to serve as teacher and guide. On the completion of the walkabout, the tribe celebrates the accomplishment and journey of the ritual walkabout. This is a way for the youth to connect with the ancients in ceremony. The walkabout is looked at as a time of self-reflection and deep introspection that is unparalleled. In some ways, it is reminiscent of the Buddhist tradition of walking meditation around a Stupa.
According to a Lion’s Roar article, “What is a Stupa?”, the oldest, most Ancient stupa dates back to fourth century BCE and is named The Great Stupa of Sanchi, India. Most Buddhist Stupas are quite simple in appearance, shaped out of concrete or stone and holds religious artifacts used as part of meditations rituals. The actual monument is said to represent the body of Buddha on earth. Buddhists and spiritual seekers alike flock to stupas to take another sort of walkabout. Visitors go to stupas to walk around and walk around and walk around. They circumnavigate the stupa with mindfulness or meditation, chanting mantras or repeating heart-felt affirmations. Even sometimes, they circle aimlessly, without any real goal in mind. They journey of the walk often times brings up insights and intuitions.
Jesus and, I imagine, Mary, both had many deeply, profound nights of deep meditation and insights. According to the Bible, Jesus went out in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. In reflecting upon Jesus’ journey, I am convinced that Mary had a few sleepless nights during Jesus’ walkabout. Those of you who are mothers know what I mean in this observation. During the 40 days, Jesus was tempted repeated by the darkest of all. In addition, it is said that Jesus returned to Galilee feeling empowered and full of spirit. He was so healthy from his walkabout that he taught vigorously and everyone praised him for his teachings.
Today and at this moment in a world-wide pandemic, we are asked to shed the past and go on our own walkabout of the soul. Like the aboriginal ancients that survived the harshness of the desert, we are being challenged to survive through our own earth conditions. From a yogic perspective, we are asked to observe how the egoic mind responds to the outward triggers. We are asked to reflect upon the Law of Impermanence. Yogis/yoginis are able to have a perspective from the Buddhi mind or the overmind. The teaching is to keep a perspective of the whole experience and connecting to the truth: this too shall pass. This truth doesn’t make the experience less painful. This truth doesn’t make the experience less of an opportunity to show empathy. This truth doesn’t make the experience less of an opportunity for compassion. Like the vigilant Buddhist who circumnavigates a stupa, we are being challenged to stay focused on the present moment in meditation or prayer. Pray for peace in the world and believe that it is possible. Meditate on your own mental clarity and mental ease so that you can be of service to others. Like Jesus’s 40 days and 40 nights of temptation, invite courage and perseverance in all that you do right now. We have gotten comfortable in thinking that we know what is going to happen next. Have the courage to NOT know what will happen next. Have confidence to walk through the darkness one step at a time. Have faith that this TOO shall pass and we all will be stronger on the other side of the journey.
Juan Matias Inchaustegui and Miguel Martin Perez ‘s article, “Walkabout: The Aboriginal Right of Passage
Lion's Roar Staff, Lion's Roar Website