Monday, October 29, 2012

ON TOUR: Yoga at Sedona's Powerful Vortexes and a Predestined Meeting with a Bicycling Buddhist Monk

Was it Sedona's powerful vortex energy that led us to this chance meeting of two Korean monks? Well, one is a monk and the other one is a former monk and my husband. Several months ago I received an e-mail from someone who had read a review of my book, Lessons from the Monk I Married,  in Shambhala Sun and contacted me about writing a book about a Korean Buddhist monk named Daeung Sunim who is bicycling across the Americas in what is called "Journey of Spirit." He started in Vancouver, Canada and is heading down to the tip of South America. He doesn't speak much English and is depending mostly on the generosity of others to see this trip through to the end. While the story sounded intriguing, I didn't feel I had enough connection to the story to write a book about it. However, I did mention to the person who contacted me that I'd write a blog post about this monk's story. That was weeks ago and I still had it in the back of my mind that I would write something, but never found the time.

Last weekend, my husband was leading a small yoga retreat in Sedona, AZ. He wanted to take some of his students to the vortex locations in Sedona and practice yoga and meditate there. What is a vortex?  Apparently, a vortex is the funnel shape that is created by whirling fluid or energy. Hurricanes and tornadoes are well known vortexes, but there are also vortexes of energy under the earth. In Sedona, there are four main energy vortexes where magnetism has been measured to be the strongest. Even Juniper trees near these vortexes take on a strange twisted shape and appear to have responded in a physical way to the energy at these sites. This is a photo of a twisted juniper tree at Cathedral Rock Vortex and there is a view of Bell Rock Vortex in the background.

We practiced yoga and meditated at two of these vortexes. I definitely felt a flow of very subtle energy while hiking on these rocks and practicing yoga. I also felt grounded, connected, happy and at ease. Before hiking up onto Cathedral Rock, we made our own human yoga vortex down below. The view was tremendous from the top of Cathedral Rock. It absolutely took our breaths away. We didn't want to come down from the top and stayed up there for quite some time. Below is a picture of my husband and me on top of Cathedral Rock.

We ended our day with so much energy. I felt so happy and fortunate to have this experience and it was my birthday weekend too, which made it all the more special for me. The next day, with all the energy we were still feeling, we decided to go to the Grand Canyon. My husband and one member of our retreat had never been there, so we set out on a two and a half hour journey from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. 

In the car, I started to tell a few of the retreat members about the Buddhist monk who was bicycling across the Americas. I mentioned how I thought he was probably in the Grand Canyon area too because I had seen information about that on his Facebook Fanpage. Less than an hour later, we were making the turn onto the freeway that would take us to the Grand Canyon and I spotted a man on a bicycle. He was covered from head to toe, including his face, in order to protect himself from the wind and sun. I drove past him and then just put on my brakes. 

"That's him!" I shouted. 

I could not physically see if it was him, but I felt it. I felt it at the very core of my being that this was the monk who was riding his bicycle across the Americas. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and told my husband to tell him, in Korean, how I knew who he was. The monk was just astonished to see us and to be speaking Korean to a former monk brother. We hugged and smiled and talked. There was a great energy exchange between us all. The monk seemed relieved to see us. I don't know if he had had a particularly long and lonely stretch of highway before he met us, but he seemed so happy to see us. He took a picture and then we all took pictures. We gave him an apple, orange and some trail bars and wished him the best of luck on his travels and we left him to make his "journey of spirit" on his own. I was smiling all the way to the Grand Canyon. I could not believe I had met this gentle soul who I had heard so much about. Who knows if it had anything to do with the vortexes or the energy of the place? What I do know for sure is that this was not a meaningless coincidence. My husband is quoted in my book as saying, "When the time is right, we will meet the people we are supposed to meet." I couldn't agree more.


  1. What an amazing story!Everything happens for a reason. There is more to come from this 'chance' encounter, I'm sure of it.

    1. Hi Evelyn-Thanks so much for your comment. I agree...there's more to come from this!

  2. Katherine,
    My name is Tim Lynch and I am the one who wrote to you about Sunim a few months ago. I am so happy that you had the chance to meet Sunim in such a special way on your birthday weekend. We are still working hard to find hosts for Sunim along his route and your readers can go to the Facebook page at to follow him.
    Your meeting came at a special time for both of us. It was also my birthday weekend!

    Thanks for the story,


  3. We had the privilege of hosting Sunim during part of his ride through Ohio. He is, indeed, one of the most special people we've ever met.....he was with us less than 24 hours, but he left an imprint on our hearts and souls that will be present for our lifetimes. Thank you for sharing your experience with him!

    Linda Roll/Diana Wightman
    Newark, Ohio

    1. So glad you were able to host Sunim. He did not come to Seattle, so I thought I'd never have a chance to see him. The universe had a different plan. It was amazing meeting him on a desolate highway in AZ!

  4. That's such a remarkable experience! It goes along with my belief that everything happens for a reason. You must have felt such a sense of fulfillment and coming full circle when you pinpointed a man you had only read about and got to meet him!

  5. Yes, it was a very remarkable experience in my life!!!!