mist, water and rock
a silent force guiding me
deeper in nature
I am obsessed with Japanese onsen and its impeccable ritual of bathing. For a full two years I reveled at the touristy yet splendid Spa World in Osaka when I lived in Shinmachi, then went local at Naniwa Onsen when we moved to the Nagaranishi neighborhood. I swear I could just bathe there daily!
Bathing and cleanliness Japanese style: It makes perfect sense to keep our shoes outside of the house and not in our closets! Makes sense that after the day has ended we wash off the stress and dirt and relax, jump into clean sheets with a clean body after taking a bath! Very Japanese, sensual, relaxing and just what the West needs! Chill!
During my time in Japan I have been to a handful of other traditional onsens in the Kansai area, but none were so wonderful as those I stayed at while on a Faith in Nature Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage I undertook with my Sensei.
Because water is such a spiritual aspect of our lives, to be connected to it in such a profound way is an integral part of the experience of faith in nature and our own lives. As our bodies are 70 percent water! Water is important! And the Japanese understand this well and work to protect its water resources. That’s because the Japanese understand that they are a part of the water and the water is a part of them! There is no separation between humans and nature!
My first night Sensei arranged was spent at the Kamiyusou Onsen, Totsukawa in Nara Prefecture. It was perfectly nestled deep within nature and with ample October ambiance for morning yoga and for writing haiku! Nature right outside your window all night, your companion for faith in nature. The comforting Kamiyu River, 上湯川; Kamiyu-gawa , outside the window under a half moon – sublime. Nature seeps in – your “self” you thought once was…. ceases to exist. There is only nature….
tired bones walking
straight into healing waters —
minerals, heat, source
The healing waters of Kamiyusou onsen are a welcome part and integral spiritual experience of any pilgrimage to the Kumano Kodo. For the waters that seep from the earth are infused with just as much power as the rocks whose energy carry us forward in our understanding of faith in nature.
mist on the mountain
shrouds memory of my dreams —
there is only now