Motorcycle Diaries China / The Astrology of Numbers

{Studying Calligraphy with a Shaolin Monk in China}

Hawah is a friend I met in Washington, DC. He's a musician, author, teacher; one of those brothas always pursuing the greater good. He even rocked a Live From Planet Earth show in Philly some years back. When in DC, he hosts regular full moon gatherings, where folks get together to break bread, jam musically, and chill. For the last few years he's been travelling the world. The update that follows comes to us while he's still on mission in China:

The Astrology of Numbers

by Hawah

Numbers are auspicious. This date in particular seemed especially magnetic to me; and so, I placed an intention to send a letter out on that day. It was February 1st, 2010... a cusp of multiple geometrical synergy... I was sure of it. A full moon was blazing and just look at the way the numbers resonate and integrate... 02.01.2010... surely something magical was bound to happen?

I never succeeded. Instead, exactly 11 days later, I am finally getting this letter to you. Regardless, it is another auspicious day...


...Just look at how the numbers integrate...

Traveling now into the second month of the new decade... I've learned that falling down is actually harder sometimes than getting back up.

This after months of Wu Shu (Kung Fu training and study) in a foreign land... with an uncomfortable diet for myself and an uncharacteristically odd bone-chill that I am only now beginning to connect the astrology with. More to come on that in a moment.

Back in December I traveled from the U.S. to China; to glimpse what calligraphy this mysterious, internet deprived country had written upon its ancient walls. At the present moment I write from India where I arrived a little over a week ago. The countries are separated by the Himalayan mountain range, the largest in the world... it was a clear shot I had to take.

More people are taking photographs today than ever. Across the planet, it seems that every other person is equipped with both camera and phone. Recording each passing moment has become a ritual... as if we are attempting to prevent our memories from losing track of themselves.

In my quest for a new perspective, I flirted with an astrology shimmering in a deep reservoir of mind and body... a region where for 2 months I have been free of both cell phone and most trivial cares in the world.

In China, I purposely rode without communication through the most muddy-holed dirt paths I could find. The way to the monastery was indecipherable from the map. On many occasions, I just had to trust my instinct regarding what direction I came in order to get back. I found myself in farming village after farming village where time was still yet to touch clocks. As if moving outside of development, the locals were tilling their fields with water buffalo pulled-carts.

I've taken a few photos but not nearly as many as I normally do when I travel alone like this.

I'd rather take you with me from mountain-top to sandy-beach... in a cascade of words. A landscape of images that a photographic lens cannot capture. I rested along border-less roads nestled between isolated villages. At one point I reached out and picked wild mandarin oranges from six-foot high green-squinting trees. In that instant feeling incredibly stupid to have never connected why they are called "Mandarin" oranges before... it was a lesson that required me to travel into the far reaches of China to discover.

I don't speak the language but I can still communicate with the people. I can motion with my hands and point to a map. I can use my fingers to count out the price of a meal.

I've noticed that communication does not need us to share a similar language. Communication needs us to be authentic in what we're trying to communicate.

Sure, there are a couple people here in China who you can find that speak English, but the few nestled within the billion are not always easy to find. It saddened me that for those who attend English classes one of the first things that happens is they are given a new name... an "English" name... so you have Liu Qing Shan becoming "Sam" or Nam Yamoswho taking the name of "Grace." Part of me wishes they would just keep their original names. Are foreigners really that lazy that we can't learn how to pronounce them?

In an effort to escape, I climb into more hill sides and rock faces. I stare upon writing carved into stone. It was probably done by hand. These tombstones must be over 800 years old, I think to myself. And my body, from the inside is still feeling so cold. What is going on?

Many of these rivers run polluted. Weighing heavy under the iron grip of factory productions which have unusable by-products that are carelessly discarded. And as the night was descending I rode back into town. Just in time to not get caught on the streets, where my small head lamp may have been inadequate.

I drape myself in as many blankets as I can find. The cold of these altitudes and regions has penetrated deep into my cellular structure. Even when I am in the sun and in seventy degree Fahrenheit weather, I'm still feeling cold. What is going on? I can't seem to shake it.

I now ponder a connection that may seem far fetched... but is possible only now because I have access to some news on the internet... is it possible that the internal chronic cold I was experiencing for almost 5 weeks was connected to this unfortunate world event?

Florida's Wildlife Freezing to Death

Something more to ponder... we are all connected, and an earthquake in Haiti and the severe pain of hundreds of thousands of people could be a direct cause for a depression that seems to have no root cause... in other words, it may be more than, "it's just that time of the year again." And the best way to remove yourself from the hopelessness is to immediately start doing something to help.

Perhaps by recognizing our interconnectedness we will be able to transcend the limitations of our egos and self-serving instincts. And maybe, if we could remember this lesson we would never worry about taking another photograph again; or, missing any one of the auspicious numerical anniversaries that is taking place every second?

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