Zhangjiajie faded into the distance as I returned to Changsha and jumped on a plane bound for Chongqing, a place often touted as the Biggest City You Never Heard Of, although that’s not exactly accurate: Chongqing as a municipality encompasses 30 million residents, but the urban population is somewhere closer to seven million, a rather unremarkable figure in the parallel universe that is China. Still, people are everywhere, which I discovered while riding the metro from the airport into town.
In the heart of the city, roads curve over and around the mountainous geography, precluding a grid-like urban layout. Best to read between the lines, in the maze of alleyways that climb hills and snake through hidden neighborhoods. Take a path and see where it leads—past the food stalls, shops, and locals carrying out their respective lives, never to be seen again, yet always to be felt.
Half a year on the road, and the earth continues to spin on its axis in a steady orbit around the sun. But my eyes open, and patterns appear. We are molecules in motion, a complex tapestry of individuals woven from the same cosmic dust. Energy attracts without sight or touch, while the senses confirm what was always known. As the mind expands, it ascends to a heightened state of consciousness that can never be forgotten or unlearned, if not consistently achieved. I challenge myself to fight the fears that blind, and to develop habits that reflect universal principles revealing themselves in my ever-changing backdrop of places and people. Can I walk down the street with my head raised—unafraid of eye contact—and gaze with non-judgment at all that is brought to my attention? Can I talk to a stranger as if I have known him forever? Can I enter any environment, read the vibrations, and immediately sync with my surroundings? Can I be simultaneously aware of everything happening around me? Can I facilitate the flow versus inhibit it? Can I embody love: the one, incontrovertible truth that emerges from this organized chaos?