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Serenity Amidst Chaos

With the world in a state of turmoil, perhaps there has never been a better time to be able to access inner calm under duress.


This ability to find serenity amidst chaos makes me think of Tokyo.


In the world's largest city, 37 million people have to deal, not only with each other, but with the frenzied bombardment of neon, and the constant overload of sensory experiences.

As a tourist, it's exhilarating...with the potential to become exhausting.


If you've ever experienced 2.4 million daily commuters at the worlds busiest railway station, the Tsinjinku fish market at 4am ( before it relocated ), or Shibuya Crossing ( the world's busiest intersection, with 2500 pedestrians crossing at every change of the lights ), you might agree that here, somehow, the chaos seems organized.

The hordes of people interact and flow with a balletic beauty, a quiet grace.


Yet nowhere is this sense of tranquility-despite-mania more apparent than at the site of the Meiji Shrine, just a few minutes walk away from the train station, set within an evergreen forest of 170 acres.


The stresses of city life seem to be carried away on a gentle breeze as soon as you pass under the shrine's majestic, towering entrance gate.

That same breeze might rustle through some golden maple leaves whose bough almost caresses the forest floor, or make the wooden wish amulets dance and sing like windchimes as they hang in the camphor tree, and carry to you the sound of splashing water from the cleansing-ritual basin near the shrine.


The religion practiced here is Shinto.

I've read that's it's an optimistic faith, accepting that people are inherently good, and believing that objects have an energy and spirit, just like humans and animals.

I like this belief, and realize that many cultures and religions imbue inanimate objects with spiritual significance, and here, a place that seems to be in a different physical realm from the rest of Tokyo, anything might be possible.






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© 2018 Claire Barrett Photography