ekoin, originally uploaded by dazzzmien

While living in Japan, I visited the big touristy temples along with everyone else. They were pretty and I took photos and bought little trinkets and charms. But the city was crowded, loud, and claustrophobic to a country boy like me, and sometimes I needed an escape. For as much as I enjoyed the excitement of modern Japan, I was most happy in its ancient, secret places.

What I truly loved were the small, quiet temples and gardens. Unfamous buildings tucked into the woods. Mysterious stone statues. Abandoned shrines were the best. They were pockets of calm tucked into forgotten corners of a busy island.

When I returned to America, I took some of that silence back with me. I don't visit Zen temples much, but I can find serenity in the routines of daily life. Driving to work with the radio off, early morning shaves when nobody else is awake, meditation, nap time. Now more than ever, I cherish the quiet moments in my life.

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