Preparing for the fire ceremony
Missed part 1? read it here:
Yoga teacher training with Surinder Singh – Part 1: Rishikesh
We were sitting on our mats in the yoga hall, a little apprehensive, not knowing what was going to happen.
We needed to get used to this whole not knowing thing. The schedule was a mythical document for the first few days and we discovered what was going to be happening right before it happened. I think in part this was to help wean our Western minds off the obsessive need to know / schedule / plan / control what was going to be happening in every moment… but it was also probably partly because Surinder himself didn’t know yet.
I looked round the spartan room at the people I’d be spending the next month with. I was feeling a bit nervous, listening to conversations breaking out here and there, expectation in the air. [continue reading…]
…we’re off to see the Dalai Lama, the wonderful Dalai Lama of Tibet
Our Dalai Lama experience started with waiting in a queue for three hours. Because of the policy of letting Tibetans and monks go first, the queue grew in the middle and not the end and we ended up being further and further away from the front. After an hour of waiting it seemed that we had longer to wait than when we arrived.
Luckily we discovered that there was a special office for queue-weary foreigners and we found our way into the inner sanctum of His Holiness’ Security and Passport office. That makes it sound secretive and luxurious but it was neither of those things. The room was full of dusty files and little else. Foreigners were baying at the stereotypically inefficient officials behind the desk, thrusting their passports forward, hoping to get seen next. Even the queue-loving English had become incapable of queuing by this stage.
A framed photo of the Dalai Lama with the advice to ‘Never Give Up’ was hanging on the wall. I suspect he probably didn’t have our plight in his office in mind but of course we had no intention of giving up. Studying Buddhism, learning about Tibet, interacting with Tibetan refugees and learning about the Dalai Lama’s work had made my interest in and respect for him even stronger. Besides, having been in Buddhist parts of India for a couple of months that smiling man’s face had been a constant companion, in every cafe, guesthouse, restaurant and office, and everyone seems to have a Dalai Lama story to tell.