This story can begin in the darkness. There is a dungeon in St. Jean Pied de Port, the last French village on the way to Santiago de Compostela. Inside a claustrophobic cell I can barely discern my own shadow. I am alone in this dark room of suffering. Then my breath echoes against the dense stone walls. Aaah. I am reminded of the sound aum. I say the mantra given to me as a child. Every morning my grandmother repeated this mantra as her fingers travelled along the rosary. She died before I could learn her language, but she always smiled to me and she gave me a ring and a mantra. I close my eyes now and see before me the perfect circle and repeat the mantra. Suddenly, I glimpse, already here, something eternal and indescribably beautiful.
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