‘I don’t feel anything,’ I said to my husband as we stood in the midst of a perfect Instagram/Facebook photo opportunity, standing at the top of a viewing platform with the sun rising over the Himalayas. I felt more about the cat on the wall in Chennai, I thought. The mountains did their work on me though, even if I didn’t realise it immediately.
We’d set the alarm and got up at six am to walk a short way to a half-finished hotel that had a viewing tower. Before we went down we did a kind of half-hearted meditation, focussing on our breath whilst looking, half-hearted as it was cold, our feet ached, and there were two other people about.
As the sun rose it lit up little pieces of one peak, then another, then more and more, first tinged pink then lit white and silver. In front were pine trees, some fuzzy to look at, as if my eyes were blurred, reminding me of the trees I saw in Tokyo. I saw an animal in a tree, I thought at first it was a monkey, then I realised it was long and slim, more like a big black stoat. A man back at the hotel later said it was a mongoose.
If you’re looking for enlightenment, The Hotel at The End of The Universe could be a good place to start. Conversations with the beautifully named Oasis, who owns the hotel, help to shine a little more light upon the path. The sight of The Himalayas, trees all around and the clean mountain air provide restorative relaxation. Wooden chalet style accommodation, a restaurant, bar and sunny terrace provide everything you need.
We got back, had breakfast and I stood outside in the sun, near the others but alone, I had to keep moving to stay in a sunny patch.
The others were talking with Oasis, I listened for a while before moving a chair to join them. Oasis, a Buddhist, seemed to have an easy relationship with death. Maybe also because of the earthquakes, and the mountains. ‘So I die,’ he said. ‘What about the people left behind?’ my husband asked. ‘Two, three days, then they okay, okay, he die,’ Oasis said.
We all talked about the journey towards self realisation. I expressed that maybe once you find it* there’s nothing left to do but die, so maybe it’s best not to get there* until death. Oasis said, ‘You can just enjoy yourself. There are so many ways to dance upon this Earth. Drink, don’t drink, it’s all the same. When you live in the moment you don’t concern yourself with death.’
The night before he’d played cards with us and two other tourists. When someone said they wouldn’t be able to play because they were drunk, he said, ‘You’re still the same, it makes no difference.’ There was much laughter that evening with people forgetting it was their turn and getting confused whilst learning a new game. Oasis sat laughing and smiling like a Buddha.
And during our discussions the next day, he remained so totally centred, even in the midst of disagreements and comments that I perceived as almost rude, although, as I reminded myself later, maybe it’s only rude if you allow yourself to get offended. ‘Focus on yourself, not what others are doing,’ he said.
‘You have to manage your thoughts, because when you get to a certain level, what you think about, comes.’ I told him that I was at ease with that now, because I felt good and I see how it all works, but that in the past I’d been anxious about that concept, getting into a panicky loop of worrying about fearing and manifesting spiders.
‘That’s why it’s so important to maintain wellbeing,’ I said. ‘Even a tractor, definitely a dog, and people, operate best when they are ‘well,’ well maintained and happy.’
*although there’s nothing to find and nowhere to get to
A travel blog type bit:
On the way there (Kathmandu to Nagarkot), we paid our guesthouse man to drive us in his car. We had to pay men at two separate points along on the way up, for the entry, for the road. It was only a few pounds each time but it was relatively expensive and because it was unexpected it was annoying. However there is nothing to be done by arguing, we tried! On the way back we got a bus, these are plentiful and frequent, firstly from Nagarkot to Bhaktapur then Bhaktapur to Kathmandu. We did not have to pay the extra road/entry charges and the bus fare was way cheaper than a car or taxi. The bus was bumpy and rather exciting, as was the car, with the sheer drops down the side…
Thank you very much for reading
Photographs taken by my husband
For more photographs of our trip see Instagram travelswithanthony
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