#13 - The Guru Dilemma (The Garden pt. 5)

I spent an afternoon at Monte Suhaja, an incredible Alentejo "community" in its own right, but really just the estate of Mooji, a famous Jamaican guru. He is the disciple of the renowned advaita master Papaji and a devotee of Ramana Maharshi. For some, he is an enlightened master. His followers work and live at his estate, wearing white robes and wide smiles. People come from all over the world to see him and hear him expound on the nature of the universe. Some bow down and kiss his feet and cry from the weight of his presence. One must be silent on the property, which is an enormous stretch of verdurous hills and valleys used for silent spiritual retreats. The environment is breathtaking. S

#12 - Sexual Healing (The Garden pt. 4)

Karim left by train, and I was supposed to be on it too. He was off to Egypt for two weeks to take care of a looming pile of paperwork related to his visa and schooling. I was to go to Spain, but had realized some hours previous that Portugal was not yet done with me. I would instead borrow a bicycle from Manu and follow that voice that had been telling me to go to Tamera all along. --------------- THE GARDEN - Part 4 - SEXUAL HEALING - TAMERA --------------- Manu drew me a map, which I was less than adequate at following and I found myself inching up some steep, dusty road somewhere, nearing heat stroke and calling for help while two good-sized dogs howled and bit my legs. In retrospect, th

#11 - Manu (The Garden pt. 3)

We found him in the back, building a new structure with the swing of a gorilla and the pace of a gazelle. He didn't ask why we had come. He didn't ask for how long. He just laid down the ground rules of his home and told us that we would start in the morning. --------------- THE GARDEN - Part 3 - MANU --------------- Manu had traveled to nearly every corner of the world, forming friends, family and many homes; from his roots in the Carribean to a life in Germany, a life in India and treks through Asia and nearly every other continent (including a journey on foot from the tip of Argentina up through Canada) all by the time he found himself sharing an evening with his now-neighbors on a hill i

# 10 - Here Today Gone Tamera (The Garden pt. 2)

(Milfontes) By the day that we planned to leave Milfontes I had only heard back from one of the several permacultural initiatives that I had contacted. In so many words, they flipped me the bird and told me that they weren't interested in journalists. "I'm not a journalist," I said aloud to nobody, sitting alone at an outdoor cafe, the weight of a documentary on my mind. "My computer bag is a guitar case for christsake!" I sat listening for some fresh eureka to come. --------------- THE GARDEN - Part 2 - HERE TODAY, GONE TAMERA --------------- A towering German man named Sebastian wondered if he could share my table with me, as there were none available. We shared our stories, our projects a

#9 - Slow Down (The Garden pt. 1)

Something wasn't right. The sunlight played on the hostel window and I heard the cafe downstairs setting up chairs for Lisbon tourists. The promise of a day of blue skies, seawater and castles was secure. I was in my favorite city in the world with Karim, now like a brother to me. If I got up now I could still catch some crepes in the kitchen with Nutella, my favorite. But I stayed there watching the light play on the window. Something wasn't right. --------------- THE GARDEN - Part 1 - SLOW DOWN --------------- Our mission in Lisbon was to understand how culture and language influence the psychology of happiness by studying the concept of 'saudade,' a word that only exists in Portuguese (an

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