I just watched the third gem of a documentary on the BBC iPlayer website called Extreme Pilgrim which I'd recommend to anyone. It follows the journey of an english protestant priest called Peter Owen-Jones on three extreme pilgramages to discover enlightenment outside his familiar spiritual practice. Okay, he's a necklace-wearing, long-haired dude of a priest with a BBC camera crew in tow but that only added to his charm :) The first show was a remarkable exploration of Zen which led him to a group of ex-Shaolin monks living in a self-contained community in the mountains of China - it's a remarkable achievement that a short documentary can convey the feeling of his inner journey and discovery so well - learning to empty his mind and move / breathe in tune with nature around him. I was watching it, thinking 'Yes!! He's got it!' The second journey was living with the Indian aesthetics of the Himalayas - god in colour, as he says! And the third was a trip across the eastern Egyptian desert (with a friendly group of Bedouin and an uncomfortable camel!) to the very first monastery - that of Saint Antonius of the Coptic tradition - very different to his own christian experience. There he met a remarkable man called Father Lazarus, with impeccable english and good humour (and a self-confessed coffee addiction!) and lived like him, alone in a cave in the desert mountains for a month to do battle with his inner demons for the sake of humanity. I was suprised how touching this whole experience was and how humbling to know there are men like father Lazarus willing to struggle like this to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all of us - to raise the collective consciousness as we might say. It throws into sharp relief the problems with western culture and the daily struggle we all have to face when we decide to 'raise our game' and the obstacles that then emerge to try and keep us back. I was thinking about that a lot today, how my recent problems are like that externalising of the inner battle between our light and dark sides - and how we must forge ahead to break through the clouds to the clear skies ahead. Amongst all the dross on tv it's great that programmes like that can emerge and demonstrate the sort of positivity and light that our community is a part of. As Jess would say, Love and Light!