Day 236: Where would you want to be?

15/11/2020

Day 236: Where would you want to be?

From the anthology on Himalayas, I read some of the essays again – ‘A Mountain Retreat’ by Viki Mackenzie and ‘The Nature of the Highlands’ on Tibet by Lama Anagarika Govinda. The quests in life and inner journeys of people seem to be the same in their character in every age. The materiality may differ. 

The following excerpt from Lama Anagarika’s essay is insightful and well articulated – 

When every detail of our life is planned and regulated, and every fraction of time determined beforehand, then the last trace of our boundless being, in which the freedom of our soul exists, will be suffocated. This freedom does not consist in being able ‘to do what we want’, it is neither arbitrariness nor waywardness, nor the thirst for adventures, but the capacity to accept the unexpected, the unthought-of situations of life, good as well as bad, with an open mind; it is the capacity to adapt oneself to the infinite variety of conditions without losing confidence in the deeper connections between the inner and the outer world. It is the spontaneous certainty of being neither bound by space nor by time, the ability to experience the fulness of both without clinging to any of their aspects, without trying to take possession of them by the way of arbitrary fragmentation.

It is in the exploration of frontiers that one begins to understand the true nature of capacities and imagination. 

Tenzin Palmo spent 12 years in a mountain cave above Lahaul, which she turned into her ‘retreat’. She lived there alone, with minimal contact with people and devoid of the general comforts that those decades afforded. Her austere life was very comfortable for her.

“There was nowhere else I wanted to be, nothing else I wanted be doing”, she shares with Viki Mackenzie. On her years in the retreat, she shares the following – 

Sometimes I would stand at the edge of my patio and look out across the mountains and think, “If you could be any place in the whole world, where would you want to be?” And there was nowhere else. Being in the cave was completely satisfying. I had all the conditions I needed to practise. It was a unique opportunity and I was very, very grateful.

At various points in life, the question – where would you want to be comes up in one form or the other. We either acknowledge it and have our answers or we keep skirting it. These times of multi-location work, faster travel and availability of supporting infrastructure has enabled many of us to step around this question for as long as we like. 

A disruption in this circulation, a prolonged one at that, has answered the question for people. The discord now is about the places that people find themselves in. The pandemic has made it difficult to change a lot of these situations. Our inner peace will be found when we have our answers to where would we want to be!

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