Dreaming awake in Dharamsala, Indiaâ€¦
Greetings from Dharamsala, India!
Itï¿½s 10 pm at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains, a majestic snow capped peak of the Dola Dar range looms over this still warm valley teeming with evening lifeï¿½ several families and laughing friends enjoying alfresco dinner in the open-air restaurant, shops lit by single fluorescent bulbs still attracting customers like moths to a flame. A horseman guides his beast of burden laden with supplies up the steep, broken concrete roadway to waiting families in the upper valley. The ubiquitous dog barking punctuates the night, adding to the concert of failing mufflers on the three-wheeled tuk-tuk cabs and screeches of evening birds. In the distance an Indian tabla player drums his ecstasy, the Hindu puja prayers resonate beyond, and somewhere else, Tibetan monks finish their evening chants. Dharamsala is anything but quietï¿½
ï¿½yet I am at peace in all this chaosï¿½ there is some lovely familiarity that brings me a certain calm, as if everything is in itï¿½s place and I am in mine, integrated, yet pleasantly disconnected. It seems funny to have so much technology in my room ï¿½ what with all the video and audio gear I need for the HDTV documentary Iï¿½m preparing to shoot in Bhutan starting next weekï¿½ funny because this village is lost in timeï¿½ donkeys are the major goods carriers, cement is mixed in a mound on the earth, fine work in the many outdoor tailor shops is done with manual sewing machines, and sweeping is done with handmade brooms that are lashed together branches. This is a world of extremes, of broad contrasts, of brilliant colors, of exotic smells, of abject poverty and immense wealth. I float through it all as one would navigate through a dreamï¿½ wearing a smile all the wayï¿½
Selecting a location such as this to bring a group for the deep healing experience of panchakarma treatment may have seemed a little absurd at first, but after tonightï¿½s sumptuous dinner and the royal treatment we received by the owner and staff of this restaurant that felt as if it was hovering out over the valley hundreds of feet below, I believe we were all reminded once again of how weï¿½ve been nurtured by this place and its people.
Maybe itï¿½s the influence of the Dalai Lama who makes his home here along with thousands of Tibetan monks. Maybe itï¿½s the joy of the people that know what a gift it is to live way up here in the pine covered mountains so cool and clear and gentle compared to the scorching 100+ degree Indian plains just a couple dozen kilometers away. Maybe it is the grounding, moral influences of Hinduism and Buddhism that are woven into lifestyle of nearly everyone. Whatever the reason, the people here ï¿½ a mixture of Northern Indian, Tibetan, and Nepalese ï¿½ are as hospitable and friendly and welcoming and gracious as one would expect in a dream like this. I am honored to be amongst themï¿½ and I watch the group, now two weeks into this healing journey – replete with equal doses of panchakarma from the awesome ayurvedic doctor here and Qigong classes I’ve been teaching daily – warming up and falling in love in that way that happens when you open your heart and start seeing with compassion and non-judgment.
There are a million stories to tell, all layering themselves like the sediment of the Himalayan foothills. There is the ongoing saga of the Tibetan protests of the Olympics and they way their people are being mistreated by the Chinese government. There is the story of the rapid growth of this area ï¿½ reflected in the seemingly endless construction projects pushing their way up from the earth in response to the need of the new rich in India who need resort accommodations. Then there are the thousands of never-to-be-produced documentaries on the lives of dynamic players in the ï¿½new Indiaï¿½ ï¿½ the upcoming ayurvedic doctor who is making her major mark upon a male-dominated world; the brilliant young entrepreneurs who are expert in their fields of gemology, ancient artifacts and textiles but who combine this with a certain grace and joy that gives you hope in the futureï¿½ and there is the story of the beautiful transformation that Iï¿½ve been watching in the faces and spirits of each person in my group. They are a courageous group of 15 people from 5 different countries who have taken responsibility for their health and well-being and made the commitment and investment to come on this healing adventure.
Iï¿½ll talk more about all this next time, but for now, suffice it to say that I feel blessed to have the opportunity to facilitate these journeys and be reminded of the awesome and positive aspects of human natureï¿½ when we are willing to trust in our potential, when we can remember that the world we experience is our co-creationï¿½ and when we ï¿½get itï¿½ that we are waking dreamers, dreaming our bodies and thoughts and emotions and all we experience, well thatï¿½s when we are truly free to start living and experiencing our true potential and divine, infinite nature.