My wife and I were lost in the foothills of Sedona, Arizona trying to find our way to a Buddhist Stupa. We had read about this place in the guidebook, and decided to visit this spot almost as soon as we got there. As we climbed the foothills, there was absolutely no one in sight. There were some coloured stones as pathfinders but we were so lost in the beauty of the place that we missed a turn and we were lost completely in the wilderness. Suddenly,  a kindly gentleman appeared out of nowhere. He took in our plight at a glance and guided us to the Stupa. Then, he disappeared.

 

We did some meditation and took some pictures  at this very sacred place for about fifteen minutes. After this, we wondered how we would ever find our way back to the parking lot. As though by magic, the same gentleman appeared again, and guided us back to the entrance. He had been waiting patiently out of sight, giving us the space we needed.

 

We thanked him profusely and I ventured to ask him if he was a Buddhist. No, he said, he was a Christian. Then, he added this killer line:

 

‘Isn’t kindness the basis of all religions?”

 

We are still meditating on his kind words, a few years later.

 

The next day, we got lost again in Sedona. This time, it happened while we were climbing a very special mountain called Bell Rock. This is a very high energy place, and we got completely lost in this energy while climbing up. While returning, we missed the path we were supposed to take. Again, there seemed to be absolutely no one around us, until we spotted a young couple climbing up the rocks, in the distance. We waved to them and they gave a friendly wave back. However, I wasn’t looking for friendship, we needed guidance. We clambered towards them, desperately waving our hands. Finally, they realized our situation, and came over. They were kind enough to guide us back to the parking lot.

 

Sedona , it seems, is that kind of place.  We met only kind people during our stay there. The local Indians consider Sedona a very sacred place, full of magical properties.  The word Sedona itself means  “seductive lady”, and we were definitely caught under the spell of this magician. 

 

In recent years, New Age people have discovered Sedona, as it is charged with a special kind of energy, called vortex energy. Sedona is formed from a dried up ocean bed. Over thousands of years, the ocean carved up the rocks into strange formations. Also, this part of the ocean had a very high iron content. This can be seen today in the red rocks that surround the city. It is said that this iron content has distorted the earth’s magnetic field in the area, creating vortices of high energy. Many of the trees in the area are twisted into strange shapes because of this vortex energy. My wife and I could feel this energy throughout our stay.

 

To get to Sedona, we took a flight to Phoenix, then a two hour shuttle ride to this magical place. The lady shuttle driver told us a lot about Sedona during this journey. She said she went there on a visit, and just settled down here. It’s that kind of a place, many people go there for a visit and keep coming back, or never leave the place. Needless to say, she is deep into yoga and meditation practices, very much part of the New Age crowd.

 

There is only one Sedona in North America, but India has hundreds of such  high energy places. As Om Swami ji himself has said, the entire Himalayas are super-charged with spiritual  energy, due to the presence of so many yogis who have been meditating here for hundreds of years. There are places like Badrinath, Gangotri. Yamunotri, Uttarkashi, and Rishikesh, to name just a few that I have seen. Even the hill stations in the Himalayas are unique; I have seen nothing like them in North America. Where else would you find places like Dalhousie or Dharamshala or Mukteswara, the gateway to liberation? 

 

Then there is a place call Bhadrika Ashram, a place that exists only in my dreams, so far. Maybe, one day, the dream will turn into reality.

 

It’s not just the Himalayas, there are so many parts of India that are vibrating with spiritual energy. I remember going to Shirdi once, and being blown away by the spiritual vibrations of the place. Then there is the Dargaha at Ajmer Sharif, and Nizamuddin’s tomb in New Delhi. Many people just drive by Nizamuddin, but if we take the effort to actually visit the place, the energy field is amazing. It has inspired Sufis for hundreds of years.

 

I visited Sedona over ten years ago but I think Lady Sedona is still seducing me. Even if I have left the place, she still lives on everyday in my mind.

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Niraj Chandra

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