Emptiness is form

(I haven't finished reporting the Stupa Trip 2010 yet, but I wanted to share something with you before I continue copying my trip notes in here. May I?)

As Buddha said, "emptiness is form, form is emptiness, form and emptines are inseparable". What did he mean with that? Most of people would think of emptiness as lack of something, the void, the vacuum. However, as Buddha taught his pupils, where there is emptiness there is also limitless possibilities. I am strongly experiencing how right he was.

Since I came back from England, I have been describing my situation in terms of negative aspects: "I don't have a job. I don't have a home. I don't have a partner. I don't have money. I don't know what will I be doing in a couple of months...". Of course it teaches me about refuge: all these things we use to rely on (job, home, love) are not there anymore, thus I need to hold on to something, but what? My mind, no doubt, and meditation is the fastest way I know of getting to know it, to know myself. But somehow I was not still feeling completely convinced about how good my situation was.

Then I went to Tenovice, in the Czech Republic, to do my first Phowa. And it was more than inspiring. Back to Barcelona I realised how wrong I had been, how blinded by stiff ideas and thick veils I was. I have in front of me limitless possibilities, and I must be open to them all, because whatever comes will be for good.


Stupas trip: August 2010. My road notes. Phase 4: Albania and Montenegro

(3 days of insane driving)

Life is like an Albanian motor road. That's the thought I had while driving at night in a motor road under construction. I didn't know if I was in the road I was supposed to be. Sometimes, I wasn't sure to have chosen correctly; surprises, unexpected obstacles that make me aware and enjoying the trip.

We sleep in a bed for one night, a real bed! Lorenc's family cares after us: nice breakfast, gorgeous lunch, all our cloths are clean and dry, ready to hit the road again.

The road to Montenegro is better. The camping by the sea is just... perfect. Can we stay here forever?

La dolce vita! Sweet like the rakia that we drink at night, under the moon, by the sea. Sweet like those kisses that drive us to heaven. Sweet like a nap under a tree.

Stupas trip: August 2010. My road notes. Phase 3: Karma Berchen Ling (stupa inauguration)

(6 days in Greece)

19th August

A lost beach. Sun and breeze just for us. The sea is huge, clean, like no other. Some children laugh. Freedom!

Beach and sun. There's no tomorrow.


Sleeping under a waxing moon and an ocean of stars. There's nothing between my eyes and the infinite. Nothing but me and the murmur of the water.

Passionate kissing at midnight. Kisses lost in my dreams. They will be forgotten tomorrow.

21st-24th August


Impressions: full moon over a recenlty blessed stupa. The sound of the gravel under my feet, the sound of my voice reciting mantras: I hope they help me to get rid of all these disturbing emotions... Breath. Recite. Walk. The wind cleans my thoughts. The moon fills me with light. Walk. Recite. Breath. Every step I take brings me back the control of my feelings.

Stupas trip: August 2010. My road notes. Phase 2: Venice-Patra

(30 hours in a ferry)

The wind slaps my face. The vibrations of the ferry remind me of the rhythm of love... Love?

Freedom tastes and smells.


The horizon. The sea. The sky. Nothing else in my eyes. Thoughts stop. Only the slow sailing of another ferry makes me realize I'm moving. The wind tangles my hair. The wind wakes me up. Love is in the air, but it doesn't dare to touch me.

Love has forgotten me, long ago. I've been waiting for it for long now.

The shadow of a seagull. Laughs. Three white clouds.

I close my eyes. Nothing. No thing. Nothing else than me. Now. Here. I breath.


The quickest 30 hours in my life: I can't remember half of them... (too much vodka, and wine, and... ouch!)

I am sorry!


Stupas trip: August 2010. My road notes. Phase 1: Barcelona-Venice

(1,364 km in 19 hours)

16th August

Stress, anxiety... and lots of good vibrations: waking up has been easy this Monday.

Ana and me packed and got ready to leave Lavern at 9am. Off to the airport to pick up Szymon.

Flight delayed (as usual). In front of my chest, a paper with a huge heart and his name. Let's get started!

Motor roads in France are fast. Like birds moving from continent to continent, we fly crossing borders and feeling the freedom in our hands.

The fourth passenger contacts us and he arranges the first night in Venice.

We get lost: works on the roads, unexpected roundabouts... the SatNav goes crazy. And we are still in Europe!

Here we are: 4.20am. Lorenc receives us in the bungalow (well, he receives Ana basically...). Let the birdies catch up. Szymon and me will inaugurate the trip with an awesome homemade red wine. To the Lama!


17th August

Good morning, Venice! Today the city is waiting for us. Is hard to get our bodies moving: we slept less than 5 hours after driving for 15. Chill out day, gorgeous weather.

It's always a surprise to travel with someone. Do we really know each other? Do we really know ourselves?

Singing, laughing, hugging, jumping. If life is a trip, I want it to be like this one!


18th August

Vino, vi, vin, wine... We close a perfect day with a sunset by the canal: sandwich, Chianti, breeze, the smell of the sea. The perfect combination to feel that I'm free, young, complete.

Stupas trip: August 2010. My road notes. Pre-phase (the planning, or how did I get involved in such a crazy adventure)

"Pick me! Pick me!" This is me. For good or bad, I usually offer myself for anything; impulsive hotblooded Southern woman. You can call me Raquel.

Szymon's plans to go to Xylokastro, Becske and Graz changed unexpectedly, and I was there, and I had a car, and I'm crazy enough to join him... So there we go: leaving in the morning of the 16th of August, straight to Venice from BCN airport: Ana, Szymon and me.

Whatever will be, will be...

Stupas trip: August 2010. My road notes. Epilogue (who says we can't start by the end?)

The planning of this road trip has been in our heads for so long (someone's head longer than others') that I feel as if I'd already done it...

"And they were friends ever after..." could be the ending of this notebook. There's 4 of us here, starting a new adventure: Szymon, Ana, Lorenc and myself. Will we be able to spend 2 weeks and a half together and come back in one piece? Two weeks and a half are a lot of days, of hours, of minutes... :S

Let's breath in, breath out, and enjoy the moment in between.


Refuge: just what I was looking for

Lama Ole, Brighton (Sept. 2010)
I guess I'm not the only one: we all reject what hurts and look for things that make us feel good; most of us, however, look in the wrong place. I have always been a nomad: can't stay in a place, job, relationship... for more than a couple of years, thus I've learned about impermanence since I was very young. And still, I wanted to believe that there must be something out there that can last, that won't vanish. But, what? And where to start looking for it?

The answer came when I met Buddhism in 2009 in England. I was there studying a Masters, and I got to know some nice people who were actively practising Buddhism, in the Diamond Way school of it. The feeling during and after meditating with them was so great that I decided to go further. I read, I started practising myself, I joined them for the group meditations... And there I was few months later, the 17th of June 2010, taking Refuge in a pub in London, with Lama Ole and a bunch of enthousiastic people vibrating together with the sound of the mantras.

I knew I had found what I had been looking for.