I thought that after I had done a 12 hour bus trip a few times, it would became easier. Oh if only that were so! Kunchok, my Tibetan friend who met me at the airport, and I had the entire back seat, so I could sleep and even lie down. Although I was literally was lifted off the seat, my entire body levitating at about 35cm above the seat, about 5 times. I am not even slightly joking! It would have been funny if it wasn't so painful hitting the chairs in front!
I woke just after dawn and was just below Dharamsala. The bus slowly and vibratingly, weaving its way up the mountains until entering Mcleod Ganj. It was like coming home. Not a "running around screaming for joy", delight, just a warm feeling in my heart and body and a gentle serene all-over smiley sort of feeling. Ah!!! What a blessing to be back!
And so, on to the work of getting my rooms in order for the winter. As I am planning to go into semi-retreat in, the ‘things to do' list is becoming laughingly long, although I am quite confident of all being completed. Kunchok has made me a wonderful prostration mat and has pledged to be my attendant during the upcoming 111,111 prostrations I hope to complete over the next three months.
After a morning of waiting in lines (I am prepared these days and bring along a book of prayers for memorising) having pictures looked at and passport details written down, there I was outside HH Karmapa's private residence. After a few hours the gates were rolled open and "girls this ways, boys over here!" ready for the frisk down. Then another hour wait and a line up. In unison and in single file we moved to the front of His Holiness' private audience room and then, just over to the left, a flurry of maroon in amongst the trees, and yes! - there he is, smiling laughing and waving!
He speaks to a wheelchair-bound Tibetan and laughs with some folks in front of me, and then there I was, standing in front, hunched over, looking up, and yes - he is looking into my eyes. Shaking my hand, blowing on my sore thumb, chuckling and yes, still looking into my eyes.
Oh, I wanted to wish him a long life, say how much the world needs him at the moment, tell him how important he is, how blessed we are to have him in our world. I wanted to think of my family, my friends, the sick, the confined and mentally let them receive his blessings also, and all I could manage was a feeble "thank you".
I moved on and was given a blessing string and sobbed. No gentle trickles of tears this time, sobs from deep in my chest. I kept them as controlled as possible as I passed those still waiting in glorious anticipation for their second of contact. I sobbed little blossoms of life and felt a rush of warmth and pledged to practice harder, be more clear, be more patient, be more compassionate, just to be... more. To live up to the blessing that is being near this holy and glorious being.