“This is awesome, the original definition: filled with awe. You want to drop to your knees from the beauty of this place. These days, we say ‘oh, those shoes are awesome, those shoes are perfect.’ No. Those are just shoes. THIS is something truly awesome, truly perfect.” My words fell short of explaining how I truly felt, so I closed my mouth. Words still don’t explain it, but I’m going to do my best in this blog, because unfortunately, not everyone was here to experience it.We were in a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan, and I was the happiest, the most at peace, the most filled with joy I have ever been.
I stood in the center of the pavilion, trying to grasp the moment. As is my habit, I had one ear of my headphones on, my iPod on the shuffle setting, allowing it to choose the moment’s soundtrack. I wasn’t paying attention to my music until I looked up at this view of rolling, tree-covered hills and traditional architecture:
And heard these words:
I will never forget.
I will never regret.
I will live my life.
For those of you who don’t know, it’s a 30 Seconds To Mars song, off of their most recent album, which I have always said was intentionally recorded for a wide, open space. Originally I had thought that this meant an arena or stadium, but the sonic landscape the song was creating matched perfectly with what I was seeing.
Mahayana Buddhism is all about mindfulness: being where you are in the moment. The past is gone, the future is unsure, all you have is where you are right now, what you are seeing and doing and feeling. Mahayana Buddhists think about walking mindfully, speaking mindfully. What I was experiencing was being mindfully. Existing, and being completely, totally aware of my existence. I suddenly realized I was having a truly spiritual moment, but so much more than a ‘moment,’ I was filled with the beauty and the energy and the power of the moment, the closest I can come to describing it in words is spiritual ecstasy or a spiritual orgasm. Both of those phrases fit about as well as gloves fit on feet, but they’re the closest I can get. I was so overwhelmingly happy to be in that moment, seeing what I was seeing and hearing what I was hearing. I was even happy for my aching feet and back: that meant that I had climbed the hundred steps up to this amazing, breathtaking place.
“Kyle, come here. Come here.” I waved my best friend over. “Do you want to have a spiritual experience?” I plugged the other headphone in his ear without waiting for an answer. Rewinding the song thirty seconds or so- I will never forget. I will never regret. I will live my life. Repeating over and over. “This is where we are right now. This is what we’re seeing. This is what we’re living. This is our lives. Look at this.” I felt tears welling up in my eyes, in the pure wonder of it all. It almost sounds silly typed out, but it was absolutely stunning.
I tried going into the shrine itself, but the ceiling was stifling. I wanted to be under the bright sky. I was so inspired by nature and scenery.
I’m so blessed to be in Japan right now. That the right things happened at the right time, that I was craving some new experiences, that my parents let me go and paid for it. That I go to Belmont, and that Belmont decided to take kids to Japan. That I was approved for the trip. That my health was good enough to get up that mountain. So. Blessed. I’m so happy to be alive right now in a way that, as I’ve said, words can’t even explain. Life is beautiful.
I will never forget.
I will never regret.
I will live my life.

One thought on “Extra entry: "I will never forget. I will never regret. I will live my life."

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