Few places have moved me like the temples of Angkor in Cambodia did today. Having travelled to 70 countries, I have seen my fair share of historical places. There was something different, almost magical, about Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. As you walk for kilometers across these temples, they force you to think. To dig deep within and flood you with a continuous stream of thoughts that leads to increasing levels of consciousness. As you venture deeper into the temple system you also venture deeper in your own consciousness. To feel increasingly alive and daringly honest in your thoughts. I won’t go over the typical facts about the temples but rather the impact it had on me – as a wonder of the world, the internet is flooded with every historical fact of this incredible place that has stood defiantly on the planet for over a thousand years.
Places have their own positive energy and this place certainly had a lot of it. It provides you with an excellent backdrop to reflect on the deeper questions of life. For example, what is truly REAL in this world that transcends the limitation of time. I have been to similar places around the world, from the incredible Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, to the imperial palaces in Seoul, South Korea, from the majestic ruins of Machu Piccu, Peru to the home of the chiefs in Masai Mara African tribes in Kenya, from the intense history of Vanuatu and Fiji in the South Pacific to the imperial cities in Europe. These places all capture the grandeur of the civilizations that ruled vast amounts of physical space at some time. They resemble the strength of the civilization and were only accessible to the elites (social, political, military or religious) from the society. Permission to enter was celebrate with rites of passage as it was an honor and the society was deeply stratified between the have and the have not’s. The other common theme is that people believed at the time, very strongly in their ‘civilization’ as the ultimate one which led to a very polarized view of the world that is reflected in these places. Now – these places are accessible for everyone who can afford the entrance fee. The rules have changed. The place is the same. The definition of what was ‘us’ vs ‘them’ has dramatically changed. The elite-only admission policy and the associated rights of passage did not escape the rule of time. So what is real? What lasts the eternal test of time?
Places become ruins in the course of time. People disappear. Rules of society change. How we define our selves and the identity we absorb changes. What is forever, in my opinion, are acts of kindness for ALL humanity (i.e. not just to the group that look/believes like you!) as they become a light in history that continues to show the path to others long after you are gone! Long after the identity has changed again. Your act transcends time and my personal belief is that you take it with you in what lies beyond. So to all the change makers, risk takers and people who commit their time for the larger good – you are awesome and you inspire me!
Put these temples on the bucket list my friends – as you can see from this post – they enable you to travel not just in the physical sense but also gives your thoughts a business class ticket for a round trip around the world!
Enjoy the short video of the 25km I did across Angkor temple system in the last 48 hours.