Namaste from kathmandu! I was thrilled when I was greeted by everyone with “Namaste!” which means the light in me recognizes the light in you. We use it in yoga as well. With a minor hiccup, Emily and I made it to Nepal safely, albeit not on time. The people of Nepal are some of the warmest, most respectful, hard-working and spiritually grounded I’ve ever encountered. I feel very safe here, despite the crazy traffic! They have no stop signs, lights, and barely any lines on the road. Instead, there are police men at only the big intersections directing traffic, and otherwise, it’s a complete free for all, with people driving, walking, cycling all over the place. We still will sometimes follow locals across intersections if it’s too hairy for us!
The past two days I have met people whom I can talk yoga and spirituality with. Shop keepers, people we meet, anyone who grew up here seems to have a deep, innate knowledge of spiritual matters and what it means to truly live being connected to what matters: your heart and soul. Today, we happened upon a group of Nepali men, one of which saw the mala beads (a string of 108 beads Buddhists, Hindus and yogis use to chant mantras to bring about spiritual progression) I got here and said I would have good luck with that mala. I took them off and he held them and put them on the top of his head (where the crown chakra, or one of 7 main energy centers in our bodies, is) and asked me when I had last done mantra with it. And I told him, “only today, at the stupa (shrine) of the Buddha,” and he told me I had good energy with them. This man is middle aged, a shop keeper of Tibetan singing bowls and is totally serious. Their wisdom is unlike anything we have in the States and is often seen as “crazy,” “silly,” etc. by us. But they know these things in their bones and lead lives of spiritual prosperity.
While we were at this shrine for the Buddha, called Swayambhunath, also known as the monkey temple because there are hundreds of monkeys there, we learned that an act of worship there carries 13 billion times the power of any normal act of worship. I had my mala blessed there and left my biggest hopes and dreams there with the Buddha. You can click the name of the stupa above to see a photo of it. If it doesn’t show up, google it. It’s beautiful. Everyday i’ve had powerful experiences like this and I say “This is why I came here!!” Their hearts are full of spirituality. There are shrines all over the place, in the middle of city squares and streets and people will be doing “errands” and will stop, say their mantras, put a tikka on their foreheads (a red dot with paint that means you’ve prayed that day), maybe give alms to the poor, and continue on. My friend Onil that I met today said,
“Don’t think with your brain too much!” one to indicate that you can think with your heart and that it will guide you on a truer path, and two to say that the mind deceives us over and over again. The mind, only when connected to the heart and spirit, can lead us to our true path.
On a different note, seeing the kids and people here is such a contrast to the entitlement I witnessed in Second Nature clients when I worked in wilderness therapy. Children come home from school and work at their parent’s business. They are polite, respectful, loving and so hard working. I feel like i grew up in an ivory tower compared to these children. One night, we had dinner at a place and the son was serving us, making the food with his father, all without complaint and this is a normal occurance.
Tomorrow we are headed to Pokhara, a town north of Kathmandu, nearer to the Himalayas to get some fresh air (kathmandu is one of the most polluted cities on Earth), take a hike perhaps and relax a little more.
This place is always in utter chaos in every aspect. However, things are guided by intuition and nothing seems wrong or out of place. IF you ask someone how they make their tea, they can’t tell you quantities or even the ingredients. Yet the tea is the best i’ve ever had. The streets seem to just work even though it seems crazy. They are guided by their feelings and intuitions and what feels right. And it usually is. And despite the chaos, I feel so calm. MY heart has been opened by the culture, spirituality, people and feeling of the place and it has only been a few days!