Let the “spirit” move you in Boquete, Panama!

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Blog by Terry Richmeier

Many people will come to Boquete, Panama, looking to see if this would be a place they can call their next home. Why is that? What is it that pulls them here and for some makes this the most awesome place on earth to be? In order to answer that, we have look at what moves ones spirit or one finds “spiritual”.

I myself fell victim to the all-encompassing power that Boquete, Panama, had over me. The first time I stepped off the bus and looked deeply onto the mountain side where the sun was just setting behind the mountain side with a tint of purplish red and telling me “be calm and let me surround you with a blanket of tranquility”. Many times during that first trip and from then on, I would feel those mountains come together and wrap me and give me a sense of security and invite me to relax, calm the angst within me and tell me the world was at peace at that very moment. To me that is my “spirituality”.

I began to wonder if others felt this same thing when they were sucked into the land of cloud forests and calm nights. What were their stories? Did they find this to be a spiritual place as well? So to understand a bit more about what spirituality is, I had to research what it means.

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Spirituality, according to Wikipedia: Not to be confused with Spiritualism.

There is no single, agreed-upon definition of spirituality. Surveys of the definition of the term, as used in scholarly research, show a broad range of definitions, with very limited similitude. This causes some difficulty in trying to study spirituality systematically; i.e., it impedes both understanding and the capacity to communicate findings in a meaningful fashion.

Spirituality for many denotes almost any kind of meaningful activity or blissful experiance. For others, it denotes a process of transformation, but in a context separate from organized religious institutions, termed “spiritual but not religious“. In modern times the emphasis is on subjective experience. Houtman and Aupers suggest that modern spirituality is a blend of humanistic psychology, mystical and  esoteric traditions and eastern relegions.

              So, ok now we know! Not really, however, I thought I would present to you some different facets of spirituality that we have down here in Boquete, Panama

Real recently Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast used their space for a spiritual workshop that was called “Rites of Passage” and had a presenter named “Wilbert Alix” leading the group. It was inspiring to listen to the drumming that was soft and methodical as people closed their eyes and placed themselves in a solace position. According to Alix, “Happiness in life is not achieved by finding the right answers but rather by asking deep and meaningful questions.”

Many people here have taken their spiritual journey through artwork. Creating emotions in every piece they do. The local photography group named “Photografia” captures the local people and wildlife in amazing positions of great emotion. Others capture emotion in the painted faces and still others capture that spirituality in encaustic art like Robyn Cole Artworks.

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Many people here attend their respective Churches from Catholic and Christianity to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islamic Mosques, Jewish Synagogues and Church of Latter Day Saints. After a little bit of researching, I found the following information on the organized religions of Panama.

The government of Panama does not collect statistics on the religious affiliation of citizens, but various sources estimate that 75 to 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15 to 25 percent as evangelical Christian. The Baha’is community of Panama is estimated at 2.00% of the national population, or about 60,000 including about 10% of the Guaymi population; the Bahá’ís maintain one of the world’s eight Baha’is Houses of Worship in Panama.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints (Mormons) claim more than 40,000 members. Smaller religious groups include Buddhists with between 15,000 and 20,000 members,Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnessess, Episcopalians,  with between 7,000 and 10,000 members, Jewish and Muslim communities with approximately 10,000 members each, Hindus, and other Christians. Indigenous religions include Iberogun (among Kuna) and  Mamatata (among  Ngobe). For the indigenous people of Panama, the spirituality is Bahai. There is also a small number of Rastafarians.

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Bahi’s House of Worship, Panama City, Panama

Catholics are found throughout the country and at all levels of society. Evangelical Christians also are dispersed geographically and are becoming more prominent in society. The mainstream Protestant denominations, which include Southern Baptist Convention and other Baptist congregations, United Methodist, Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the America’s, and Lutheran, derive their membership from the Antillean black and the expatriate communities, both of which are concentrated in Panama and Colon Provinces. The Jewish community is centered largely in Panama City. Muslims live primarily in Panama City and Colon, with smaller concentrations in David and other provincial cities. The vast majority of Muslims are of Lebanese, Palestinian, or Indian descent.

The Constitution provides for Freedom of Religion, with some qualifications, and the Government generally respects this right in practice.

                            So, after all this exploration about spirituality, in my opinion it comes down to this … what you find inside your heart, that place of peace and tranquility where you know you are truly in the happiest moment of your life, that is your spirituality! For me, I sit outside on the back terrace, look out upon the ever-changing sky and think, reflect, dream, and love all that is there in that moment and that is why Boquete, Panama, for me, is a spiritual place! I would like to invite you to come down to Boquete and see for yourself what this awe-inspiring place brings out in you. See you soon at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast.

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