Thanks to my dear friend Jill, I was introduced to another special place on the Island today. Pele chose this exact moment for my camera to irrevocably die, so I have no photos from the day to share. (It’s okay, we will capture it’s beauty when we’re back here together!)
Paleaku Sanctuary is hidden along Painted Church Road, which connects two of my favourite power spots (Kealakekua Bay and the Place of Refuge), so you can imagine the raw energy here, but it gets even better.
“Botanical Gardens” does not adequately represent what this place is. Seven acres of consciously tended gardens, it is a collection of over 50 exhibits each dedicated to a world faith or deity. Nuns, monks, elders and spiritual leaders from all over the world have contributed their energy, ideas and prayer to the development of each garden. Spiritual or atheist, you cannot help but be swept up in the love, peace and quiet that permeates the air here.
Sun shines through the fronds of chattering palm trees, rustled by a cool ocean breeze carrying the scent of gardenia and ripe mangos (there are 10 different species of mango trees on the grounds). I walk the lava rock labyrinth and descend into a deep inner peace. The tradition is to contemplate a question as you wander along it’s spiralling path. I wonder what this labyrinth has heard over the years. Do people all ask for the same things? Questions of wealth? Health? Relationship? Deeper existential meaning?
I write to you from the shade of a giant Bodhi tree, which only after, do I realize is the very tree Buddha sat under meditating on enlightenment. (Seriously, it was grown from a clipping brought over from Asia where they have propagating seedlings from the original tree’s lineage). But I’ve saved you the best for last: the Galaxy Garden, a 100-foot mandala of plants and hibiscus trees that mirrors the Milky Way down to every dimension. Melding science with spirituality, there are labels denoting the scientific details: the Orion arm, the size of the Trifid Nebula. It means little to me, I know you will be geeking out when you get here.
It is beautiful on all levels, bursting with hope, sanctuary and symbolism. I leave this special paradise with a renewed sense of optimism about the world. If we could live as cooperatively and consciously as these gardens were created, world peace would be a certainty.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.