Peaceful and Seeking

I asked some of the staff here at the Quo Vadis if it was quieter or at least less busy in the village today and yesterday. It seemed less noisy to me… They looked a bit puzzled by my question and stayed silent for a short while, then one replied, “maybe your mind is now calm.”

Then it was my turn to be silent.

No one has ever said that to me… but maybe my mind is now calm and adapting to this place; largely because of where I am staying and the wonderful hospitality and education I am being given.

I’ve mentioned before that I am staying at the Quo Vadis Interfaith Dialogue Center. It is a pleasant peaceful place in a large village (pop. approx. 200,000) of honking horns, mooing cows, barking dogs, firecrackers, PA broadcasts, motorcycles, buses and auto rickshaws. The village with its Ashrams, Temple and Mountain draw many tourists from India and the west. The Quo Vadis is a place where western travelers seem to stumble upon. They come for a good meal, some study in the library, and even some direction or a little conversation. I am fascinated by these visitors, these spiritual seekers and spiritual tourists. Some afternoons and even early evenings I just sit myself down where everyone enters Quo Vadis. If I sit alone, I will meet someone. Spiritual seekers usually and often ex-Christians, some with a vehement opposition to the church and others with a general openness to all things spiritual and the wisdom of all faiths.

I can’t help but wonder as I talk and meet them, how many of their stories match the stories of the vast numbers who have left our western churches over the last decades … what’s interesting to me is how many of these now seekers where either born Christian or called themselves Christian at one time. They struggle with the church and the institution, they have not given up on God.

I made it …

… in 28 hours flat, from New York to Tiruvannamalai! Trains, Planes and Automobiles to do it, but I made it with help of many gracious hosts along the way. It was about midnight local time when I left the Chennai airport and connected with Nicolaj and Sargunnan to make the journey to the Quo Vadis Interfaith Dialogue Center where I am staying this month. (Sargunnan is in the picture with me.) They greeted me with warm smiles and a very large flower garland. Hawaii’s got nothing on these garlands, it almost reached my knee.