“Go pray upon a mountain, go and pray beside the ocean, and you’ll wash your Spirit clean.” Those are the lyrics of a beautiful, spiritually uplifting song by Native Cherokee artists, Walela that speaks of the ability of Nature’s powerful mystical spots to renew your spirit. That’s what I’d like to tell you about today – one of the most rewarding trends in over-50 age travel – embarking on a magical, mystical tour.
Feed Your Hungry Spirit on a Tour of Mystical Places
The over-50 population – the Boomers – were the generation that embraced personal spiritual awakening by seeking out other cultures’ sacred places and practices. Whether it was visiting an ashram in India, doing a spirit quest in a sweat lodge in New Mexico, walking a Native American sacred circle or watching a hoop dance, visiting a Buddhist temple, or experiencing the mystical energy of Sedona, Arizona or Los Lobos, California, that generation brought greater understanding of spirituality.
Today, in 2013, even though they’re older, many people of that generation still have it in their soul to feed their spiritual nature by visiting sacred, mystical places around the world. Here are a few mystical journeys of unique spiritual travel destination packages offered by tourist agencies:
1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia. This is a beautiful place in Cambodia that many have described as “Heaven on Earth.” It is the home of incredible, massive Buddhist statues and temples that UNESCO has deemed as a World Heritage Site. Also visit nearby Siam Reap as well as Laos.
2. Ashrams/yoga retreats, India. Since the 60’s, visiting an authentic Indian ashram has been the destination of many spiritual seekers/travelers. An ashram is the place where holy Hindu gurus live and allow visitors to come, stay and worship. They offer teachings and activities in transcendental meditation and yoga. The more popular, well visited and acclaimed Indian ashram visitation sites are Calcutta, Kerala and Mysore.
3. Mayan/Aztec ruins, Mexico/Central America, New Mexico. There are many Mayan ruin sites throughout Central America including Belize, Guatemala, the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and Honduras. The most famous Aztec/Pueblo Indian ruin is in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico where the National Monument lies and is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site includes the 900-year-old Great House of over 400 masonry rooms that still bears the handprints and wall drawings of their early ancestors. Even though it is referred to as Aztec, the Pueblo Indians built the Chaco Canyon ruins.
4. Anasazi Ruins, New Mexico. Native American lore has it that the prehistoric Anasazi (Navajo for “the ancients”) peoples came to the Earth from another planet as “the Sky People” and populated the Earth. Interestingly, there are drawings on the cave walls of the 1,000 year-old ruins that depict creatures that look like our modern-day spacemen in space suits and helmets. These early Anasazi peoples evolved into the Native Hopi, Zuni and Pueblo cultures that still inhabit this area today. Anasazi ruins run along the western corners of New Mexico into neighboring Arizona. An amazing place where the power of its spirit can really be felt.
5. Sedona, Arizona. Sedona, Arizona is home to a powerful natural vortex of energy that the Native Americans have revered for centuries as being “sacred ground” where they align with Mother Nature’s spirit. It’s true, that there are pockets of natural electromagnetic fields – some more intense than others – in this area. People have been visiting Sedona for years to experience the energy’s rejuvenating properties. Some take home the electrically charged red dirt or crystals that have been charged in the energy fields. Many local places offer longer retreats as well as day tours.
6. The Australian Outback. Several travel companies like Outback Tours and Aboriginal Cultural Tours, offer travel packages and tours of the spectacularly beautiful Australian Outback (think Grand Canyon on a larger scale). The Outback is the home of the Native Aboriginal culture that originally migrated from Africa to Australia. They are one of the world’s oldest living cultures and many still live their traditional ways in the Outback. They remain a spiritual mystery to many with their highly-steeped in magic and superstition culture but have some very beautiful stories and beliefs – especially the concept of Dreamtime. Like the Anasazi of New Mexico, the Aborigines also have ancient cave ruins filled with their drawings and are places that modern-day Aboriginal culture considers as sacred ground.
Taking a spiritual-oriented tour, vacation, can help you disconnect from the stresses of a fast-paced, high-tech life that most of us live today. It can help you reconnect with your spiritual center – whatever your religious denomination – and bring you some much needed peace. If you can’t get away for such a trip in the physical world you can always go for one in your mind. Drive to a nearby lake, turn off your cell phone, and take a walk along its shore at sunrise or sunset, and let the wind on the water speak to you. It can, like the song says, ‘wash your spirit clean’.
Dale Brown, B.S., M.A., C.E.C.
Certified Empowerment Coach