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A Spiritual Explosion

Bring the wisdom of the past to our future.

People today have a deep-seated need to find peace within themselves, in their lives, and in the world as a whole. Older spiritual traditions, while they adhere to ideas that many modern civilizations may regard as fallacy, myth, or legend, still hold a great deal of worth within some of their principles and practices taught over a period of decades or centuries. The exploration and examination of old masters of such traditions could potentially hold a large degree of inspiration for those of us seeking to return to the very basis of being human, that is, re-establishing a nurturing, symbiotic relationship with our fellow man. Of course, to do so carries the prerequisite of coming to terms with who we are as individuals before re-learning to connect with those around us.

During the socio-political turmoils China has experienced over the past few decades, many Taoist and Buddhist monks left the world behind to seclude themselves in the beautiful mountains of the land they loved. They sought peace and the renewed opportunity to maintain pursuit of their lifestyle of tranquility, a never-ending quest to achieve a state of personal revelation and spiritual perfection.

One figure popular with those interested in East Asian culture, Bill Porter (pseudonym "Red Pine"), ventured into Chinese mountains years ago to seek out the hermits of which I speak. He was somewhat successful, as his writings indicate, but the few photographs he brought back to the Western world were not as visually compelling as could be produced today. The disappointment arises when one realizes that Mr. Porter devoted so much of his life to these older traditions, seeking to share with the rest of the world what we needed so much, and was unable to do so because of the limitations of China at the time.

And so, today, you ask me what my dream assignment would be. My answer, then, is that you bestow me with your blessing and your hope for a better everything, to allow me to travel to the grandiose mountains of the Middle Kingdom in search of those who might point out the way to solace. For the rest of my years, I would cherish the opportunity to search for, meet, and photographically document the lives of those who turned from creature comforts and promises of better lives to maintain that which they believed in, those who maintained integrity, for the sake of themselves and, by proxy, others.

Just imagine...

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