AS A WAY OF LIFE
nomads, writer, speaker, photographer
The vision of Nepal was filled with the dreams of the Himalayas, of its wild spaces, of the purity of its landscapes. But coming from Central Asia, the wild lands seems far and close at the same time.
They appear so distant from Kathmandu, from the vibrancy of the buzzing city, so distant along these ever-ending paths that took us higher and higher through the small villages, to finally reach the powerful energy of the summits after 10 days trekking. But somehow the harshness of the land is so close, so rooted in the daily life, so intense reaching deeply our body. The cold, the smoke of the yak excrement, the streams of air, the freezing water.... Sleeping in lodges, we are welcomed but never we felt home, we are surrounded by pulsating nature but never lulling us to sleep with its scents. We are thrown in it and then just taken out, but without the comfort that would smooth its strength. As the tumultuous river we are following, so splendid during the day. Yet its complaint becomes at time so powerful, that during the night it seems it is draining out all our energy. Walking on a land that is constantly used by people from all horizons, the contact with the local population is distant. It is jovial, so smily and sympathetic at all time, however it fades behind the cliche and the preconception, behind the envy and the misunderstandings, behind the pitying emotions and behind the images created by the transpositions of the life experiences of one another. Maybe infused in a social and cultural life that is governed by the system of casts dictating the code of conduct. And in the end, these representations don't allow us to find the third way, the way that unable each of us to meet as human beings living different realities, at last hearing only the confirmation of the certitudes. We share without sharing however along the way, it finally appears magically. During fleeting moments, ephemeral, subtile, bare, silent, the encounter and the sharing really take place. Sparkles in the eyes, a deep look filled with humility. And it is the minute our laughs take the children in the world of the game, that the beggar in them disappears. It is the minute we respectfully great with the “namaste” our hands joint together, that the grace of respect is given back.
Nepal is for us the contrast of a rhythm that took us there. We are now walking on the land, with a new breath, taking us to the heart of the Himalayas. But the vibrations of these summits are so powerful they made us face our limitations once again, facing our beliefs, facing our emotions, facing our fears. The way is so long, always filled with the unknown. It becomes crucial, vital to let the future take life alone, to let it dream itself, and to live the magic of the present moment, the harshness of the instant, the deep joy of the wonder, the tears of the purification. A purification that becomes inescapable, sooner or later, the energy is too vibrant, too alive, too present, too powerful.
Despite the liberation is tender, it flushes the inside tensions, the inside struggles, bringing back the balance in justness. Thus, the look in the children eyes, these children with dusty cheeks, seems to tell the story of their lives, their experiences, their truth, in the simplicity of their lives, in the purity of their beings. Then our eyes start to contemplate the high acmes, so high above us. The altitude take the spirit in the ethereal heights, in a place where the thoughts just stop, run out. There is only the vibrant silence and the breath of the wind. There is only each step, slow steps linked with our breath. A breath becoming shorter and shorter and asking the focus of our full attention. The respiration request its essential place again, it is the source of life. The mind is clear, limpid, no cloud hustle the bright blue of its sky.
Later it is the encounter with the summits, with their faces, with their enigma, with their messages. The Everest, the Cho Yo, the Makalu, The Manaslu, the Ama Dablam, the Pumori, each of them reveal their personality, their power, their tenderness, their energy. In the heart of these sumptuous panoramas, in the sanctuary of the Himalaya, only contemplation can appreciate the majesty of the scenery, in the silence of unity.
From the silence of the immaculate snow, we entered once again the animated, noisy and lively atmosphere of the villages and cities, to face the sacred in the daily life. The sacred incarnated by the two main religion in Nepal, spreading their rituals on the land.
The prayer flags, the stupa, the loving and compassionate Buddha, the Tibetan medicine and the vibration of the singing and healing bowls, the mantras echoing in the Gompa, the praying wheel, the powerful scent of the incense, the spiritual energy of Bodhnath Stupa. Imbricated in the same places, it is the Hinduism with its bright red that create a strong energy within the sacred. It is Pahupatina, the spiritual center of Hinduism that radiate its powerful link with Shiva, its golden bull, its secular traditions of cremation where the ashes are then delivered to the river that lead them to the Ganges, the way to the afterlife. It is the cycle of reincarnations and the social play of casts, it is the 30 millions of Gods to pray. It is the creation of Brama, the preservation of Vinshnu and the destruction of Shiva. It is the blood sacrifices to Kali. It is the pujas, the morning offerings, the ceremonies and the festivals happening during fall. It is the red tika of the third eye and the Ayurvedic medicine. It is the temples spread in each small alley of the city. Finally the sacred is found in the spicy smell of the traditional milk tea and the Dal Baht, the main dish made of rice and lentils. The sacred is the swirling valse of the colors of the saris and the odors spreading in all places, it is the contrast between the purity of the high acme in the vastness of these landscapes and the perpetual movements in the samll alleys of shadows.