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Christian Meier

All places lead to one place

I just finished reading „In the Shadow of the Buddha“ by Matteo Pistono. It´s a fascinating book about a nearly decade-long pilgrimage through Tibet, on the footsteps of a great master of the past. And it’s also a detailed description of the author´s inner journey, a journey through the various levels of meditation.

After 8 years of sometimes dangerous travels, Matteo arrives at the last sacred place that his teacher had told him to go to – and finds a completely devastated, “empty” and abandoned place at the end of the world. Right there, with all his expectations being crashed, he has a fundamental insight.


My balloon of expectations was completely punctured on that mountainside. There was no more sadness, no more spiritual yearning or political agenda. Sitting in the rain among the rock and rubble, there was no anticipation. …  I released trying to accomplish, to win, or to overcome. … In the absence of hope and fear, I felt the blessing of all my teachers descend with the falling rain."

Reading those lines, I felt tears running down my cheeks, as they hit me at the core of my being – the very basic innermost motor that drives all my activities. My restless and never ending attempt to “get somewhere”, to overcome, to achieve, to manage … And the mountain of expectations I place on all my actions, on situations to come and experiences to be made. What a pressure, what a rigidity!

But at that moment I could also re-experience the deep peace I encounter sometimes during meditation. The letting go – suddenly arriving in the very moment, allowing my mind to settle in whatever feeling or sensation arises. What a great relief, what a homecoming!

Actually, it doesn´t matter where exactly we are, what we´re about to do and how much of what we planned we ever achieved – as long as we stay in that peaceful, spacious and equanimous state of mind. Which is – meditation.

Does this mean we shouldn´t have aims or plans? No, not at all. But the key seems to lie in our motivation and in the way we deal with them. Setting our aims free, not be rigid, not to cling to them too much.

Sounds good, but how that exactly works? To be honest: I don´t know yet. But I’m on my way to find it out. And I try to be spacious with it … ;-)