My traveling companions and I continued walking, taking all the turns that we believed would take us to the brilliant, safe, peaceful land in the East.
Some other travelers told us we were taking the wrong paths, heading in the wrong direction; others encouraged us and even traveled with us for a while.
But no matter how long we walked, how certain we were that we were making good progress, the shining East always seemed far away, and the dark West always seemed close and looming.
Despite our apparent lack of progress, my friends and I kept walking, kept encouraging one another.
One morning, as the sun was rising, I saw a vision; or maybe the sun in the East spoke to me; or maybe it was just a dream. The road around me filled with a warm glow. A calm silence fell over my world. I felt like what I imagine it feels like to be in the East – grounded, at peace, free.
A voice welled up from all around me, or maybe from inside me. It was a quiet voice, something like a whisper or a breath, but with the resonance of thunder.
The voice said, “You are here.”
I had no idea what that meant. Of course I am here; what was astounding was that the warm voice of…whatever…the East?…was also here.
I did not know what to say.
“How do I get to the East?” I asked, hoping maybe for a sure route, or even a shortcut.
“You bring the East with you.”
That didn’t make sense, because I could see the East off in the distance, and feel the darkness of the West over my shoulder, threatening.
“My friends and I want to make it to the East to be safe and happy. We want to avoid going West because it is dangerous and dark.”
The voice did not respond, but the feeling of the East stayed with me for a while. I don’t know when or how it wore off. But as my friends started waking for our day’s travel, I couldn’t help but feel the East in their faces and their presence.
I decided I wanted to share that same feeling, be that same presence, with the people I met on this road.