It is Sunday here…raining, cool, quiet. In my last blog I mentioned that we are now in McLeod Ganj, India, the home of the Dalai Lama and Tibetans in exile. The town has such a unique feeling. The presence of numerous monks and nuns in their maroon and yellow robes walking the 2 main streets are, for me, a constant reminder of the sacredness of life. Many of them (the monks especially) seem to be salivating from exposure to the west, sporting cellphones, designer sneakers and sunglasses and can be seen chatting on IM at the internet cafes. In fact I am surrounded on both sides by them now. On the other hand, some are clearly aspiring to the ‘highest’ states of life and one glimpse or smile from these rare beings can change your attitude in an instant.
Maggie and I have walked around the Dalai Lama’s temple several times, turning the prayer wheels, admiring the monks walking arm-in-arm, offering rupees to the beggars along the path, and witnessing the debate process in the temple courtyard between young monks, their colleagues and teachers. An old tradition that is not audibly understandable by either of us, as it is all in Tibetan, is fascinating to see. One monk sits while the other stands. The standing monk is challenging the sitting monk on his knowledge of which ever text they are studying at the time. The point of the ritual, according to a book I am reading, is that eventually, the information gets so ingrained in their subconscious that the truth of the words is able to be experienced…creating a deeper awakening.
I picked up Mantras and Misdemeanors by Vanessa Walker in Bangkok. If you are curious about the current Tibetan ‘situation’, it is worth the read. Describes brilliantly life in Mcleod…and the disconcerting position that young Tibetans are in…stuck between wanting desperately to go home and live life as it was…before the chinese invasion (1949-50), relatively secluded, protected and able to study and practice Buddhism according to tradition…And wanting to disrobe, marry western women and discover what “developed” life may be like.
Please excuse this ridiculously simplified version of the issues at hand. The Tibetan culture, religion, history is at a desperate crossroads, which in my opinion affects the world. Tibet, and the Dalai Lama’s insistent effort, represents one of the few remaining symbols that non-violence is the best way to solve issues.
And since I have been here, my own little internal debate has re-surfaced…what to do? Be a woman in business or a yogini? But beautifully enough, this time, I see the possibilities of playing both of these passions out together. What I have learned, perhaps because of the patience reflected in so many around me, is that the habit of projecting these pathways into the future with the hopes of realizing that one is better than the other, or closer to my heart, is useless. Instead, if I stay right here, right now and think of a way to move slowly, slowly towards the things I am most ‘moved’ by, time/life will reveal the possibilities of their co-existence. Maggie reminded me this morning that it isn’t about that moment in the future when ‘I arrive’, but about each day and each opportunity that comes along the way.
So while I can’t answer the question, what will I be doing in 5 years? or even in 6 months? I can say that each day I am more fully experiencing life, closer to meeting my purpose and dreaming into the future with more color and clarity.
Perhaps we hang out at some kind of crossroads forever. Somewhere between internal and external, giving and receiving, love and hate and that this is, as Gangaji would say, “the weathering of the mind”, which eventually points us to our truest self, our truest experience of god or love or peace or one.
I rest in knowing that we are here, at this crossroads together.