My biggest breakthrough of the trip thus far!
The magical land of Ladakh has really stirred my soul. Very fitting that it is in the land of exiles. Here I am sitting on the disputed border of India, Pakistan and Tibetan China and I feel like I am on the edge of civilization. In the beautiful high desert region of the Himalayas I have braved the highest motorable road in the world, the three highest motorable mountain passes, ridden a camel, taken a dip in the highest salt water lake in the world, soaked up views high up on Buddhist Monasteries, and interacted with the Ladakhi and Tibetan people.
The people of this region have an unbelievable glow to them. It is unlike anything I have ever seen in the world thus far. I became so inspired that I decided to register for a 3 day Buddhist Meditation retreat up in the mountains.
The retreat center was absolutely gorgeous and upon arrival I was greeted by a few friendly monks. The routine for the retreat was arduous and taxing. It included waking up at 5 am every morning, 11 hours of meditation, 2 hours of yoga everyday. and taking a vow of silence. However the scenery was awe inspiring. We did an hour of Yoga every morning at sunrise and every evening at sunset with the beautiful backdrop of the high desert and the snow capped Himalayas in the background. The yoga however was the easy part.
Vipassana meditation is the highest form of practice in Buddhism. The meditation consists of walking and sitting. As I began the first day walking I found it hard to keep my mind from wandering. I was very surprised to observe how much my mind wavered from the present and jumped between past and future. I found that I was never really in the present, always somewhere else. I guess you could say I was never here nor there.
The sitting was even more challenging. Vipassana requires that once you take the sitting position you observe any pain that arises and focus on it until you can identify every single characteristic and become present to it. Only then can you go beyond the pain and enter a completely new realm of possibility. To me this concept is not foreign, if you have a big bill it doesn’t make sense to put it aside and procrastinate. In the end it will ultimately become more painful if you put it off rather than dealing with it immediately.
However, becoming present to the pain and remaining still was beyond challenging for me. I am not the most nimble person in the world and I am always restless, so I found it hard to get into the groove. The teacher kept emphasizing that the difference between meditators and non-meditators is the simple fact that when you become present and focused, you see your self as an observer. Non-meditators see the thoughts and emotions scroll through and take ownership of them, they become that.
Late on the second day I was having trouble sitting. I was watching all the thoughts and emotions of my life thus far play on the big screen, flipping by like a picture show. I began to separate myself from them and I then I really became present to something…
Nothing is really mine.
The thoughts, emotions, feelings, they are present in everyone in every form at one time or another. They all belong to some organization beyond the realm of our identities.
In Buddhism they identify the universal consciousness as the Dharma. From this everything is impermanent. It is very congruent with the Philosophy of Chiropractic as we identify this as Universal Intelligence. It has been named a number of things along the course of human history. It doesn’t matter what you name it, Aristotle called it Intelleki, the Christians call it the Holy Spirit, the Hindi Brahman, agnostics may call it a fish or a spoon (that is a joke.)
Some of the greatest minds in human history have delved into this universal consciousness to obtain infinite wisdom and insight. Einstein even said, “All I want to know are the thoughts of God, and nothing more.” If we can connect this bridge somehow or someway we can have whatever we desire: health, wealth, happiness and freedom. It is available to all of us if we can find a way to go beyond ourselves.
I believe in the end one of the most influential and profound women of our time said it best:
“I’m a little pencil, in the writing hand of a loving God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” – Mother Theresa
I urge you all to continue to write bold and bright.