I woke up very early with a fast beating heart that morning..In fact very early.. at 5 am pacing around and sitting in the balcony of my room and gazing at the darkness..
I couldn’t hold it any longer being inside the room so out I walked into the darkness.. The temple was a kilometer away and as I huffed and panted up the steep climb to it, my heart was racing, still… This was no ordinary moment for me…
There are few people in your life that you admire, that you wish to meet, one that really inspires you. And I was meeting one of them today.
I was reaching the temple, it was still before 6 am so I stopped at a small chai point where the lovely lady was making the first chai. As I sat on one of the oil cans and chatting with a local Himachali I was wondering about the beauty of it all, the unpredictability of it.
I was feeling lucky, feeling content and blessed. I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.
I waited outside the temple and around 6.45 am the cars with the group started coming towards it.I knew it was the same group as I saw my friend waving from the car.
What touched me was also the head of the group who made the appointment. The lovely lady sweetly called me over, said a warm Hi holding my hands and saying to sit in the car because we were going to meet Dalai Lama at his house courtyard which was right behind the temple.
I just walked towards that path and waited. The group came out and I saw my friend.
Words fail me when I begin to think of what he did to include me and to the lovely lady who openly included me in this meet up.
Believe me, its so easy not to give anything in today’s world, to not include people you don’t know. And this lovely lady and her daughter and my friend included me just like that. It was a privilege and it’s so easy to keep it exclusive, to only keep it to themselves.
We went through the formalities, of showing our original ID’s, we were a group from Hyderabad and one of them was someone whom I consciously made a choice to avoid and there he was. I thought of my friend in Ladakh, when he said if you feel angry let it out.
But at that time, I felt nothing, no anger no hurt and I was pretty surprised with myself. The whole neutrality of it. In fact when I looked at him,I felt only compassion..
As we waited in the line, I spoke to some of them in the group who had visited Wagah border, came from Amritsar by road and reached here and going back to their home town right after the meeting.
And then he came…
Calm, collected and serene. The lady who was heading the group knew him personally. The Dalai Lama asked, So you all are from Hyderabad?? Then am sure you must know more about Nagarjuna – the great Buddhist monk more than me! We all yollered NO NO! 🙂
I waited in the line, a long line as people met him one by one and my friend was behind me.
Here is the thing. This is what taught me a thing or two and more about Humility, about Compassion. The Dalai Lama took time with each one of them and I mean each one of them. He spoke, took an offering, gave blessings and posed for pictures. It was not mechanical let me tell you. He enjoyed meeting every person. He truly was with each one of us.
A childlike enthusiasm, a soft calming energy that will melt you no matter how hard life has made you. You start believing in love, in humanity, in compassion..
I was already mush by then. I was sniffling, crying, trying very hard to hold my tears. My life was flashing in front of me. All these years of happiness, tears, pain, loss, love, everything was flashing and I was like God, I don’t want to snivel in front of him, I want to listen to every word of his, feel the touch of his hand, feel his presence and energy.
The entire journey from Ladakh to Dharamsala and this. My life had changed, my perceptions had changed. My concept of love had changed. I HAVE CHANGED…
When the moment came as each one in the group met him one after the other and it was my turn.I was in front of him, I bowed and gave him my offering. I recalled everything about him, his speech in Leh to his teachings at the temple and i was thinking, Don’t Cry Don’t Cry in front of HIM!
The moment he saw the offering he reverently bowed before the robe. He smiled benevolently. When he placed his arm around my shoulder for the pics. Him standing next to me. This revered teacher next to me, with the out most humility and serenity,this was that moment when nothing else mattered to me anymore. My life was flashing before me again..
It’s true.. a woman’s heart is like a deep ocean.. Bearing all the secrets buried deep inside.. No one can ever decipher what’s going underneath.. and at that point I felt my anger melting away, my hurt going away, at people , at myself, at a past I refused to give up.
A traumatic life changing past that made me take a different turn in life. The return of innocence. I saw myself as an 18 year old. That pivotal point when you feel you can conquer the world and take on anything. This time I felt it with lot of love and compassion.
I felt the temporary in everything. In my life, in events, in friends and people whom I drifted away from. Nothing was permanent. My heart was raw and wide open.
I gave my Malas (meditation beads) and asked if he could bless it. That’s all I wanted from him. He held the beads and prayed and I remember looking at him, closed eyes and thinking you have no idea what your presence has done to me right now. I am that same innocent 18 year old with stars in her eyes. I am filled with hope and love again. To know and love and hope again, completely in a non linear way.
When the lady of the group asked him, do you have any message you can give us all? He said, Be compassionate. The only way now is to show compassion. A human being’s basic nature is compassion. Go back to it.
As I hugged some friends in the group I felt complete. As my friend told me something beautiful as he was overwhelmed too, I could only hug him tight with tears in my eyes. Thank you.. It’s such an over rated and under rated word at the same time.
I sat through the teachings of Dalai Lama later as I bade goodbye to the group. Believe me, I was in a daze through the day. I went ahead, tossed my ego aside and messaged people that really mattered to me. That’s it. I messaged with no expectations.
I was energized, rejuvenated, so open and receptive. It was a feeling I felt I I lost years ago.. Life does come a full circle.. I shared this special experience with people who mattered to me.
I just didn’t want to go back to the hostel and have lunch or food or anything. I walked and walked. Towards Bhagsu falls. A long walk up there. The waterfalls was something else..
I avoided the Bhagsunath temple as I was really too lazy to take off my shoes and get inside. What interested me was the waterfalls and the walk. All my fear of heights kicked in again. Steep, raw, wild and each climb was exhausting and awesome at the same time.
I would pause and look back, ahead and above the beauty I was seeing in front of me. And the fears were slowly melting away. This was beyond it all.
As I came up to the point where most of the people were, I noticed there were more steps up and above going high up above the waterfall. When I asked around, the locals mentioned there was Shiva Cafe run by expats. And not many go beyond this point except of course the foreigners.
I had a choice, just stay back and enjoy or push myself, push my fear to the limits and keep walking up. And I did just that. Kept walking up, pausing when the fear got to me, taking a breather walking up. The climb was steeper now with no support and I could hear my heart racing again. A backpacker saw me pausing, looking back and he very sweetly came and asked can I join you?
He very gently asked me without making me feel helpless. I started walking up with him and he was patiently waiting with me whenever I stopped. Finally when we reached the top, he asked, Can I show you something? I just followed him and for a moment I felt I would get lost in the wilderness as we started walking deep into it.
And there it was,a magnificent out of this world view of the waterfalls, the mountains, the lushness.. I was speechless! And I didn’t take any pictures of it.. I was dumbfounded by its beauty, by what I saw and this is something one should see with the naked eye…
We both sat on a rock in silence and after a while I said Thank You for being there with me. He smiled, one of the most heart breaking smiles one could ever see. We went to the cafe and he introduced me to his friends. All Israelis. Some with their girlfriends/partners, some single and some from the army.
It was a wonderful one hour with all of them. I said my goodbyes amidst big hugs and smiles and this time as it was getting dark I was not getting scared going down on my own. This was something very NEW to me. To look down and not panic. I was filled with happiness and joy as I walked back.
Walking back to the beautiful hustle bustle of Macleodganj Chowk, smelling aloo parathas, samosas and thupkas, listening to the sounds, friendly locals, I walked around the area.
I held on to the meditation beads (Mala) blessed by Dalai Lama as I sat in a peaceful space and closed my eyes. Yes it was time to let go, to forgive and to be compassionate. I met so many people who showed compassion to me, so many strangers and here I was holding onto my hurt on some people.
This was another step to changing the way I was looking at things, certain perceptions and views I held on to my whole life.
What a day….