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Excerpted from The Secret of Shambhala by James Redfield. Copyright 1999 by James Redfield. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Books and Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Perceiving this mysterious flow, I knew, remained the central experience of real spirituality, direct evidence that something deeper was operating behind the scenes of the human drama."

James Redfield, The Secret of Shambhala, Part 6

I walked over to my computer and sent it, wondering, as I always did, about the security of the Internet. Hackers can get into the most secure corporate and government computers. How hard would it be to intercept E-mail messages . . . especially when one remembers that the Internet was originally set up by the Defense Department as a link to their research confidants at major universities? Is the whole Internet monitored? I shook off the concern, concluding that I was being silly. Mine was one message among tens of millions. Who would care?

While I was on the computer, I made travel arrangements to arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal, on the sixteenth and stay at the Himalaya. I would have to leave in two days, I thought, barely enough time to make preparations.

I shook my head. Part of me was fascinated with the idea of going to Tibet. I knew that its geography was one of the most beautiful and mysterious in the world. But it was also a country under the repressive control of the Chinese government, and I knew it could be a dangerous place. My plan was to go only as far with this adventure as felt safe. No more getting in over my head and letting myself be pulled into something I couldn't control.

Wil had left my home as quickly as he had arrived, without telling me anything more, and my mind was full of questions. What did he know of this place near Tibet? And why was an adolescent girl telling me to go there? Wil was being very cautious. Why? I wasn't going a step beyond Kathmandu until I found out.

When the day came, I tried to stay very alert through the long flights to Frankfurt, New Delhi, and then Kathmandu, but nothing of note occurred. At the Himalaya, I checked in under my own name and put my things in the room, then began to look around, ending up at the lobby restaurant. Sitting there, I expected Wil to walk in any moment, but nothing happened. After an hour the idea of going to the pool came to mind, so I hailed a bellman and found out it was outside. It would be slightly chilly, but the sun was bright, and I knew the fresh air would help me adjust to the altitude. I walked out the exit and found the pool in between the L-shaped wings of the building. There were more people there than I would have imagined, although few were talking. As I took a chair at one of the tables, I noticed that the people sitting around me--Asians mostly, with a few Europeans scattered about--seemed to be either stressed-out or very homesick. They frowned at each other and snapped at the hotel attendants for drinks and papers, avoiding eye contact at all cost.

Gradually my mood began to decline as well. Here I was, I thought, cooped up in one more hotel halfway around the world, without a friendly face anywhere. I took a breath and again remembered Wil's admonition to stay alert, reminding myself that he was talking about watching for the subtle twists and turns of synchronicity, those mysterious coincidences that could pop up in a second to push one's life in a new direction.

Perceiving this mysterious flow, I knew, remained the central experience of real spirituality, direct evidence that something deeper was operating behind the scenes of the human drama. The problem has always been the sporadic nature of this perception; it comes along for a while to entice us and then, just as quickly, disappears.

As I looked around the area, my eyes fell on a tall man with black hair who was walking out of the hotel door heading straight for me. He was dressed in tan slacks and a stylish white sweater and carried a folded newspaper under his arm. He walked along the path through the loungers and sat at a table directly to my right. As he took out his newspaper, he looked around and nodded to me, smiling radiantly. Then he called an attendant over and ordered some water. He was Asian in appearance, but he spoke in fluent English with no detectable accent.

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