Photos: Guillermo Ueno
To say: “I met someone” is the same as saying: “I discovered the Ganges, Arabia, the Himalayas, the Amazon.” I wander through their mysteries and their vast expanses and come back with their treasures; so I am transformed and learn. I am transported to other ways of being. –Ernst Jünger
On each journey I take, Ernst Jünger accompanies me in his journals. Indeed, in Panama, I was able to live in the most comprehensive apprehension – to both experience and experiment.
Have you experienced in this way? Encountering a person leads me to encounter a place, and then a place leads me to encounter other people. Landscape and language are reciprocal; the passion found in the Panamanian people brings us glimpses of the landscape´s spirit, which is not so easy to find. Although our visit was brief, its deep intensity allowed us to return with radiant discoveries.
Curiously, on the last day, we visited some ruins at an unusual time – at night. The history of the pirate Henry Morgan, the stories of unknown treasures snatched violently and of corporate injustices, left me thinking about how easy it can be to achieve happiness. When we reach across the cultural gap, treasures are enchanting and not secret—treasures such as valuable, delicious conversations and different ideas of coexistence, like those we have read about in the Gunas. This moves us to return to the realm of experience in order to learn new possibilities for the world.
Visiting Panama was much more than visiting a country. Perhaps the Panama Canal became a symbol for us. West Encounters East is a bridge, a channel through which humanity can share and learn to live in peace. Stella Holmes’s work focuses on this idea, and we had a chance to confirm that mission and vision when we met the students from the Art Lab of the University of Miami. For me, the transmission of the Guna Yala experience corroborated the right path of the Tao.
A final anecdote – at the hotel we saw this quote from Jimi Hendrix:
“Are you experienced?
Ah! Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have.”
And that is the true encounter of Hendrix and Junger. It´s like crossing the Andes riding a horse in the middle of the rainforest.