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Lions Roar : May 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2013 44 SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2013 Maps I have always been fascinated by maps. In grade school, when we were introduced to map reading and map mak- ing, it seemed so magical that the world and its complexity could be represented by pictures and diagrams on a simple sheet of paper. It was amazing that if you followed the directions on the map you would actually be able to get somewhere, even if you had never been there before. It got even better when I discov- ered that I could send off a cereal-box coupon and receive in the mail a genuine pirate’s map leading to a chest of buried treasure. These sepia maps, ancient looking and burned on the edges, led me to believe that I could follow such a map to the point where “X marks the spot.” There are many kinds of maps. We create internal maps with- out even being aware of doing so, mapping our physical, emo- tional, and mental realities. By means of a map, you can find your way back to where you started without getting lost. A map can lead you to someplace new or give your friends a way to find you. Maps give us directions on how to proceed. They provide a feeling of security and are a defense against bewilderment and disorien- tation. It is a relief to be able to look at a map and see where you are. It is a relief to know that you are somewhere specific, that you came from somewhere and that there is somewhere to go. Journeys Journeys are challenging. We leave our familiar home and enter new territory. How do we know what to do and where to go? Embarking on a spiritual journey is like this. The new spiritual terrain can seem to be a kind of terra incognita, scary and possibly overrun by monsters. We are afraid we might get lost and not be able to find our way forward or back. We are on a treasure hunt, but we don’t know where to look. If we have the right map, we might be able to find that buried treasure, even if it has been underground for many years. On the spiritual journey, it is possible to get stuck and not really go anywhere. It is also possible to be swept along so rapidly that we lose our bearings. If we have no map, we might drift about aimlessly and go round in circles. But if our trip is overly scripted, there will be no room for personal discoveries. It would be like signing up for a package tour in which every point of interest has been spelled out in advance. So we need the right kind of map, one that gives us a sense of direction and an over- Journey to Awakening The spiritual path is like any journey we take into uncharted territory—we need a map, a vehicle, and a guide to reach our destination. JUDY LIEF takes us on the three-yana journey of Vajrayana Buddhism.