Over a year ago in 2010, I traveled around Europe. I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain and was on a quest to have a deeper understanding of things, to make sense of these 2012 conspiracy theories, to gain knowledge. I wasn’t sure why I wanted knowledge, to tell you the truth, but becoming a better person seemed important to me. After four months of wandering, I visited Damanhur; I saw a book with pictures of the Temples. I took the tour in late October. I was very tired that day of the tour. I was moved by a ‘whimsicalness’ of the Temples, but also my mind was spinning trying to understand things on a deeper level.

montagnaIn a guest lodge later that night, I cried… it was a DEEP release. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t sad. It was a feeling of the world’s pain, of compassion. The insight was that all this knowledge isn’t worth having if there is no love in it. Perhaps it was a step in transcending my own ego. To me, the Temples are an expression of love.

My basic longing is to live a happy existence with others. So spending time with people on the same path like those at Damanhur was valuable when I was there in winter and spring of 2011. I found it valuable to be around the other ‘New Lifers’ doing the program for a temporary period of citizenship. It was like exchanging ideas and experiences of what we want to do. Damanhur is not perfect, and if it was, that would be boring.

The coordinator of the New Life program once raised the issue in a meeting about how we, the New Life participants, often criticized the community. It was true, perhaps it’s still true. But what I learned is that Damanhur strives to take on a vast and bold dream, and I don’t think there is a community who has achieved this perfection. I heard a statistic like 95 percent of these communities fail within the first few years. It is clear Damanhur has something special going on to keep people united through the inevitable struggles. The Damanhurians appear to be some of the most content and loving people I have ever met. I lived in Sidalte for 2 months and noticed the high level of commitment the people had for their work. I also learned the value of keeping things VERY clean during the Spring Equinox. It’s Paul 2good for the mind. It’s good energy…

This experience taught me the basic and fundamental lesson in choice; fulfillment comes after making the choice, not before! Everything is based on choice. I thought of a nice metaphor while I was at Damanhur. To join the community and become a citizen is not so easy. The economic situation everywhere is not very good. I think of the potential citizens like sperm who are trying to break the wall of the egg. It requires a strong will, and first you must choose!

I found Damanhur to be a high energy environment. I often felt tired and the healing work I needed to do on myself became more intensified. It was challenging, but my previous knowledge in philosophy and keeping a stronger center helped me. I was shown what inner work I needed to do on myself to move forward. I can tell you that I have indeed made progress 😉

My path as I see it is to stay in Canada and to use the knowledge I have gained from visiting communities like Damanhur to create community here. I have already created a greeting tree on our land for the forest, and I began using a variation of the ‘con te’ that is used in Damanhur. I say, “I am with you,” when greeting my parents and friends. It’s powerful, it reminds us that were not separate. I believe this kind of ritual is important in this time of change. People feel so separate from each other.

It was a pleasure to write this and share it. Thank you to our New Life coordinator, the New Lifers and citizens of Damanhur. I am with you all.

by Paul Bilewicz

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