Its been a month since that 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit my beloved Nepal and 38 days since I crossed the border to India but “the heart can’t forget what the mind may.” So here I am, reminiscing the beautiful six weeks of being Nepali.
After enjoying the hustle of Kathmandu, it felt that a much needed stillness was my next destination as preparation for the ten-day Vipassana noble silence retreat. Which means, non-touristy, quiet, localish yet interesting but not too far place. Pharping. Just one hour drive from the capital where the definition of mountains suddenly became hills with at least three Buddhist monasteries that made the place known as the Buddhist village. Organic cheap food, cool weather (hot by day, cold by night), friendly locals and with unexpected infamous personas.
Yes to the personalities who surprised and star strucked me. In ways that my mouth dropped and my brains stopped. Heard of Tibetan medicine? It is almost equal to Dr Sherab Tenzin who has been practicing for more than half of his existence. Bhutanese by origin, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer (which required operation) when he was a teen (16 or 18, forgot the number) by the Indian doctors in Delhi. Went back to Bhutan after refusing to undergo operation and met a Tibetan doctor who prescribed him capsules for his disease. A year after taking these capsules alone, he went back to the same hospital and was declared cancer free. This life-changing incident inspired him to study and practice Tibetan medicine. In between his occupation, he went meditating in the cave for a time where a team of National Geographic researchers found him. Now, he is running a healing center and clinic to help people through his profession and personal experience. The same place where the kind staff allowed me to use its wifi without anything in return. Who would have thought that while we were looking for internet, we found a life teacher. And yes, even though I am nobody, and there were two people interviewing him and that he just came from Russian business trip, he was kind to answer my biographical questions (which is available in his website –that I had no idea at that time! #nakakahiya).
Sometimes, the web is useless when there’s one person who can answer all the doubts in our mind without even knowing the specifics. It was like mind reading kinda thing with the Swiss Radical Buddhism monk conversation, in one lazy afternoon that lasted until night. He was just saying the answers to my inquiries as if talking to my consciousness. He was drinking beer, smoking and was wearing the robe of a monk while i was in complete awe. He has been studying Buddhism for a long time and from all of the things he said, one that struck me was “perfect timing.” “Do not look for whatever that is bothering you, not even enlightenment, it will just come with your practice. Stop looking and enjoy the moment. Live now, don’t worry about the past its gone and the future will never come. And when your time is over, do not be afraid to follow that light and leave your body even if the path is unknown.” Needless to say, he does not believe that Buddha existed. hashtagNgaNgaMode
And the best way to apply the knowledge from previous meetings came as a surprise from an unlikely activity—-trekking the hills (I swear those were mountains!) to get a good view and meditation spot. My friend Ville told me it was an easy trail as he has done it already (at least half of it). Being naive made me decide to take the risk. Halfway through the trail, the cliffs emerged. And he assured me that it will be smooth afterwards but it was getting even harder and steeper. “Few more cliffs, common it will be better then,” were his words. Until that moment when I was slipping down, crying and seeing my almost deathbed. The faces of my loved ones emerged, shedding tears and in pain,holding to whatever I can grasp. I was going to die, but not at that instance. Fought back and reached Ville’s hand for help. My body was shaking, but I was alive, I was breathing. Living at the moment, not the future nor the past. I was just there watching the grass, observing my heartbeat while munching carrots and apples. Alive and happy. But no more trekking or more of a rock climbing with no safety gears. Thanks to the wall climbing training from sushi kitchen , it saved my ass. And so, how did we make it back? Guess what, there was a trail on the other side with no cliffs to conquer!
It has never occurred to me how happiness can be so simple. The sweet hello from strangers who turned out to be our kind friends. Help was unlimited and overflowing with compassion from the passersby to the guesthouse owners, even to the restaurant and fancy hotel workers. My heart was crushed as the earthquake hit home. I am praying for their safety and strength in this unlikely event. Stay strong my dear Nepal!