From the comfort of our cheerfully arranged and well meaning lives we travel to the future in search of the ancient. 

It’s said that Danzan Raabjaa gathered the swords of his people and melted them down, formed the Statue of the 10000 Knives in the shape of Padmasambhava.

Little did we realize that in the final hours of preparing, we’ve packed hundreds of these.

Our clothes are clean; we know where our passports are. Itinerary, website, blog–all within reach.

Yeshe Tsogyal and Guru Rinpoche travel light; from the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse: rolled carpet, embroidered bag, colorful thermos.

The receding shore; we wave to friends and family. Promises of connection, of reporting on the journey seem so easy. We make many.

The internet, hell realm mechanism, amazing gift. Like everything a double edged sword; one of the many.

In the air, hours pass, lifetimes defined by lavatory and seatbelt signs, tasteless snacks, fitful sleep. Nothing below but clouds.

The familiar flees. Dinner served; in a dream I step out the emergency door and into the sky. The person in charge of the door waves goodbye; pulls eyeshade back in place.

We wake up in Bejing; not much of a map for this journey. Don’t drink the water. Ask a question and get one in return. Another flight will take us to Mongolia.

Remember this from the lotus-born: At times when practicing in retreat, the mind is pliable, there is progress in spiritual practice and the meditator bursts into long melodious song. At other times the mind is untamable, the spiritual practice wanes, the attention scatters, and the meditator feels acutely miserable.

Dreams become indistinguishable. That is, we can’t tell anymore whose dream it is we’re having. Or if it’s even a dream. We wait: for luggage, food, The Plan. We wait for signs.

Taking turns in the window seat, we wave to Yeshe Tsogyal and Padmasambhava, hurtling along beside us through the friendly skies of United.

Seats in the upright position, tray tables locked, lap belts fastened, Protector deities stored in the overhead luggage compartment, we get ready to land.

Touching down, we’re cautioned:
Bags may have shifted during the long and turbulent flight.

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