Hello all. Sorry about the delay in posting, but I’ve been traveling much more remotely lately and internet connectivity hasn’t been as readily available. From Dharamsala, we went to Dalhousie for a couple of days, then Kajjiar, and finally here to Chamba, which has been the district/seat in this remote region since around 900. It’s largely built of stone and narrow pathways wind between the buildings on the hillside like in a medieval village, which in many ways it is. I don’t want this to be a travelogue so I won’t go into much detail, but I thoroughly encourage everyone reading this to push the boundaries of where they’ve traveled. It’s a true blessing. This morning as I was walking to get chai and bring it back to the room on this rainy morning, I had a realization that in order to write about where we live we actually have to get away from there for a long enough time to be able to come back and see it with new eyes, with a new perspective. I’m starting to have been gone long enough, 3 1/2 months so far, to start to be able to see that people really think differently in different places, and they see things differently too. I know that may seem obvious to you, but the thing that I think I’m getting with time is that the way that people back home think and see things isn’t necessarly the “base line” or the template against which to compare others. All minds have machinations, and the machinations which I’m used to are really those that are fabricated in America, within the particular subcultures that I’ve evolved. I look forward to going back (looks like mid April) and being much more aware of the localization of the mind there, much like there is a localization of the mind here in remote Chamba.
Learning more about myself within the structure of this nascent relationship with Shanti. Noticing how strongly I react to criticalness or anger. Even just an elevated tone of voice can throw me a little. I used to have these two great room mates in San Francisco, Mike and Ray Hershman, and they were brothers. They had this amazing capacity to have an incredibly heated exchange and then 5 minutes later they’d be going for a run together, best buddues again, as if nothing had ever happened. Shanti has this capacity too, to even laugh and sparkle with glee in the midst of what to me may feel like an uncomfortable exchange. My system, my emotional constitution, is actually quite fragile, very sensitive. I remember watching one person spray mace in the face of another on a late night street in San Francisco, and the shock of that event stayed in my system for days, and even now, perhaps 8 years later, it’s still perhaps here as it resurfaced as I type here. In relationship with Shanti, I’m getting to practice this, to see that my reactions are just that, my reactions. It is not what happens outside myself that is hurtful or scary or difficult, but it is actually my own reactions internally that bring me discomfort and make me want to escape.
Still not sure where we are headed or what is happening, but there is enough sweetness here to want to continue moving forward with curiosity and openess. My father sent me something that I received today. He said:
“Nothing is impossible if love leads you and you hold your life in your hands, counting it as nothing, ready to keep or lose it as your karma dictates.”
Many times you miss the mark with me, dad, but I think you are finally starting to get the way that I think, and what I really value in life. With this one I’m am completely with you.