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The Nub of the Matter

INDIA | Sunday, 3 January 2016 | Views [420]

It's been a few days since I logged a fresh blog. Not since New Year's Eve which might supply an explanation.

I don't want to go into it too much but this was my first 'party' New Year's Eve for a while. I spent it with my new firends from the New Modern Central Hotel, sharing a Tibetan dinner on MG Marg before going back to the hotel for some drinks and smokes before going on to 'Live and Loud' for their bash, which included a local band and a Nepalese band called 'The Edge' (not pronounced as you would thnk) who were excellent. 

One of the advantage of being a westerner in Gangtok was that it was really easy to meet the band members and spend some time with them. I was also invited to an impromptu street party around a fire and pressed with a drink on the occasion that I went back to the hotel for some keys. In general people were incredibly friendly, protective, generous and warm and it was easy to wish numberous people a happy new year. 

The only downside for me was a reminder of my inhibition and lack of confidence on these occasions, where I see and imagine that others are much freer and open hearted than I am and I can feel stiff and boring. This was made worse by the inevitable first (and I'm sure not last) falling in love of this trip, which brought painful reminders of feelings and my self perceived inadequacies from the recent to historical times.

One of my mantras from this trip, however, is to try to accept all feelings, experiences and people as a basic practice (from a quotation by Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche) and this has helped me to process the events. I think the nub is around accepting myself as I am, part of which is an increasing valuing of my Buddhist practice and the importance of ethics, with somehow finding a way to be more open and loose. I don't have any answers yet but feel confindent that this is work in progress and, although not confortable, not something that I am shying away from (too much anyway). What a great expression 'shying away from' is btw. I've only just noticed it's connection to shyness strangely.

The day after New Year's Eve (New Year's Day that would be) I woke up bright and fresh after about 4 hours sleep and after breakfast made my way up to Enchey Monastery, which is a good 45 minute climb up hill. Enchey was founded by the famous flying lama, Druptob Karpo, but more interestingly for me is also associated with Sogyal Rimoche who wrote 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' - a book I have started about 3 times - and the same Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche who I quoted before and who was a teacher of Sangharakshita, my teacher. As it was the first day of the year and month there were numerous lay Buddhist's at the monastery, come to make offerings, perform puja and receive blessings. I was offered tea and biscuit (accepted) and some apples and tangerines (accepted) whilst I enjoyed the monastery temple and sat in the grounds for a good time enjoying the sunshine.

From the monastery I made my way to Ganesh Tor via an even steeper climb in order to enjoy its panoramic views. By the time I got there I was too knackered to care. I bought myself a packet of crisps, vacuum packed to inflate, make hard to open and disguise the paltry number of crisps inside, and, still not getting the whole shared taxi idea, walked the long 4 kilometres back into Gangtok. This I tried to enjoy but really did not and to make matters worse ended up kicking myself once again for spurning an opportunity to strike up conversation with an attractive woman. I let that go after a few hours!!

So back to the hotel, dinner and a chat with Karma, Gotham, Dia, Fred and Elen before a fairly early night. I was knackered, hungover and withdrawn but at least had found refreshment at Enchey monastery and had plenty of behavioral food to chew on. 

Tags: live music, monastery, new year, party

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