Monday, June 10, 2013

meditating on love

Well we made it to Mcleod Ganj and all I want to do is find a cave in the mountains and never leave. This place has a special quality to it in its own right. Not only is it a beautifully small mountain town next to the Himalayas, but it's also where many Tibetans reside. There are Buddhist monks around every corner and their attitude is beyond loving and kind. When I smile at them, they don't just smirk back, they give me as big of a smile as I am giving them. Their open hearts are nothing short of infectious. The other day at lunch I sat with a monk and his friend who was teaching him English. He tried to teach me Tibetan (which was a total failure on my part). I then pestered him with questions about his monastic life, but he didn't seem to pay much mind. Afterwards I asked him how he made his way out of Tibet. The monk and his teacher told me about how he spent 28 days walking his way through the rigorous paths of Himalayas. As if that wasn't hard enough, he went on to say that he could only travel at night so that he would be undetected. It's heartbreaking to think such a sweet, kind soul had to go through so much in order to obtain freedom. From what I understand, all of the Tibetan refugees here have a story similar to that. I have grown so fond of this monk. And I think he enjoyed my company as well since he walked back into the restaurant just to say a final farewell to me. I hope I can see him one more time before he leaves and continue our wonderfully heartfelt conversations. If not, then I have even more reasons to make my way back here.

Today and yesterday were especially wonderful in the sense that we finally got to play with some children that live in the Tong Len Hostel. This place is a beautiful gem among wonders. The children here are so full of energy that I can't even keep up with them. They just ooze love and joy from every pore of their bodies. I've never braided so many girls hairs, or drew so many flowers with henna. They asked me to stick my tongue out more so than they asked my name. I wonder what they would do if they met my friends who were pierced and/or tattooed from head to toe. I grew especially fond of one little girl named Arti. This sweet child was glued to my side the moment I walked into her classroom. If she didn't already have a family I would've immediately adopted her as my own. These children are so special, especially since they come from one of the poorest slums in India. We visited there today and it was most certainly an experience that has shown me just how truly blessed I am. I've always known the blessing I've been granted in this life. But to see these children, who just want you to hold them and play clapping hand games, one realizes you don't need much to put a smile on ones face. I'm warning all my friends and family back home, that if they complain about completely insignificant problems to me, I will be extremely intolerant. These people live in tarp tents within a river bed, most of them are beggars, and  not once did I hear any form of complaint from any of them. They were just so excited for us to be there. We couldn't walk two feet without some child yelling, "HI HI HI!".

I can't believe this trip is almost coming to a close. Not one fiber of my being wants to leave but I know that I need to. But I also know that I WILL be making my way back to India. I love this country as if it were my second home. This wonderfully spiritual and enlightening experience has brought a new craving in my life that I won't suppress. I have to travel this earth and be in situations and cultures that I'm not accustomed to in order to discover new things about myself and the humans I share this planet with. As one merchant sang to me the famous words of our great friend Bob, "One love, one heart, let's get together and feel alright."

Lindsay Pugh

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