From Notre Dame Ave. westward to Rene Levesque Ave. back to Notre Dame and onto the Trans Canada Trail along the Lachine Canal I went. A Russian friend, Artiome, joined me, then others including Nicolas Hart, a healer.
What's so different about today was the presence of a sudden hum of a huge city, the constant passion of engines in motion and people going in all directions. As a consolation to an apparent imposition there was relief in the shade cast by large buildings. After several days "in the sticks" though, you suddenly enter a monster of a place.
Nicolas and I were talking about Kali-Yuga, the age of misunderstanding. According to Vedic wisdom we live in a crazy time. Though I liked today's route, and though I liked the people we saw and met along the way, you can't help but feel a little lost in the world of promised passions- a world which insists so much on secularism and where spirituality takes a very back seat.
At the home of one of our members, Gayatri, a group of guests came. They wanted to hear something from "the walking monk." They were curious as to what kind of fire lit up the project of traversing a vast land.
My message was as usual. I'm sold on the concept of pilgrimage and its lasting benefits. I mentally walked the group through my '96 trek which lasted for 7 1/2 months. We went through each province, including Quebec with telling the story of a 99 kilometer conquest in one day. I painted a picture as to what a monastic life was like. Before our chanting session began questions from the group rolled out.
My favorite among them, "Are you at a point where you still have internal struggle or do you see yourself with a constant peace?" To this I answered, "As long as we have these bodies and minds there will be some struggle but as we endeavor spiritually through the years we should experience the joy of simplifying life. Simplify and glorify." In other words I was encouraging the questioner, from my own experience, to enjoy the self-discipline and the appreciation of all the good that has been bestowed upon us. I told the person that I was experiencing the satisfaction of evading the sickness of cynicism.