World Travel with a Twist of Zen - Fields of Indulgence  
 
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The Chapel at Asenovgrad
Bulgaria is a country rich in history and situated amongst beautiful mountains and natural wonders. Our first excursion was in the Rhodope Mountains, which are located in the Southern part of the country, closer to the Greek border. Our first stop was the Fortress at Asenovgrad, which has existed since the Thracian times. Unfortunately, the only preserved part of the fortress is the church, which has been restored and is now functional. The vast mountaintops hover over the tiny church and offer a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

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Krustova Gora
Next, an extremely narrow and windy road took us to the monastery at Krustova Gora. Krustova means ‘cross’ and gora means ‘forest,’ and these forests were named after a piece of the cross of which Jesus was hung that was hidden there during Turkish invasion. People drive for miles to come to this holy place to feel the energy of the cross (the relic is now displayed in the monastery church). This made me ponder the idea of faith and intention. Religious ideas aside, I have a strong faith in the connectedness of everything, living or not, that we encounter. And as I approached the tiny piece with doubt, I held my hand above it, and I felt its energy. I removed my hand and did it again to verify, and again, I felt the tingle in my arm, while Jeff described the experience as a movement of energy up his arm and into his heart.

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Biophotons in human hand
These thoughts brought me back to an astonishing book, The Intention Experiment, which describes in detail the idea that even our intentions can have physical consequences in the world. One experiment that is still vivid in my mind is where a group of people in England were asked to observe a plant located in the United States through a special webcam. In short, the people were asked to send an intention to a leaf of the plant to make it glow. And by measuring the leaf’s biophoton emissions (a low light emission that all living things produce), they proved that while the people were focusing on the leaf it glowed brighter by a statistically significant amount! How amazing that we are at a point in science that we can measure the actual effect of our intentions! So getting back to the monastery and the piece of the cross. I don’t know if it was a real piece of Jesus’ cross or not, but regardless I think that the prayers that have been said over the cross during the past 2,000 years have saturated it with hope and love - and it CAN be felt.

We visited one more monastery, Bachkovo, where Patriarch Kiril (Cyril), is buried. This is the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Church that threatened to lay down on the train tracks that were deporting Bulgarian Jews during World War II. His intentions 50 years ago echo into the present as all 50,000 Jews living in Bulgaria were saved, 35,000 of which went on to help found Israel after the war.

Our final stop was at the Stone Mushrooms, which are these huge mushroom-like volcanic stone formations in the middle of rural Bulgaria. Their stems are a rose colored-hue from certain minerals and their tops are green and white. To take home with us from this packed day, we picked up Rhodope Mountain crystals as well as delicious mountain tea, mushrooms, and beans (we’ve already cooked with them)!
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At the Stone Mushrooms
To see all the pics from this trip in Bulgaria, click here:



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