Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife.  
The first question was, "Did you bring joy?"  
The second was, "Did you find joy?"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Who do I have to speak to around here?

I find everything about my bed here at the Classic Guest House in Darjeeling delicious.  It is soft.  It has two lovely down pillows, to go with it's heavy down comforter.  I even find it's companionless emptiness perfect.  It's just me and the pillows and the comforter and whichever book I'm struggling to stay awake to read.  Part of what makes the bed so sinkable into is the crisp air of the mountains which remains constantly, despite it's minor daily fluctuations, at the perfect temperature for sleeping, or napping, or for having a lie down.

Right now it is one seventeen in the early morning.  I woke up about forty minutes ago, I'd guess, after falling fast asleep, without my supper even, at about eight.  I laid in bed, clinging to a dream that was very similar to dreams I've been having every night for the last week or so.  I don't really remember what goes on in this recurring scenario, but I can recall enough of the essence of feeling to know it is the same.

Some part of my sleeping mind is searching for a way to thank the gods, the universe, I don't know, maybe India itself, for this journey I've been on, for that's what I seem to be trying to do every night.  But the rules of this place I go to in my dream world are both specific (I cannot go to or thank anyone directly) and vague (I cannot go to or thank anyone directly).

When I wake up I have the sense that I've had to seek out or been sought out by an ancient Buddhist woman who speaks Hindi, or is it practices Hinduism, who will find the Indian equivalent of a Pagan who will tell me what shrine/mountain/deity/person to speak to/ have supper with/ study under/ genuflect before.

Some nights I am walking in circles where everyone is living in dire poverty, while other nights we all might as well be rajahs.  The last image that I recall from tonight's pilgrimage was of a door, set in a mountain wall, the door was painted with chipped blue paint, the surrounding earth was covered in a deep green lichen or moss.  In this world, money was irrelevant, what mattered was the Earth.  No one spoke English, but some other mother tongue that I've long forgotten in my waking brain.

Outside, while I type, the chorus of wild dogs is hard at work keeping the silence of the mountains at bay.  I am struck, not for the first time, by the lack of airplane noise which, after my first week in Asia spent sleeping under the flight path of the Mumbai airport, has been the one major man made noise pollutant that I've not encountered much of here in India.  Cars and motorbikes rule the motorized, mechanized sound waves of daily life in this part of the world.  But, at night, the dogs, who sleep so much of the day, reign supreme.

A cloud has buried the valley below me, while the stars above are shining brightly.  There may be mountains standing at attention tomorrow after all, despite the previously scheduled rain front which has been moving in ever so slowly since I arrived on Tuesday afternoon.

I was rather hoping for a day of rain, an excuse to sit in my delicious bed and read without feeling guilty.

If the sun does shine, I shall have to gather up the strength to put on my shoes and to go out wandering again, searching much like I do in my sleep these nights, for some hidden place within myself, and without, where I can hold the abundance of beauty that India keeps throwing in the path like constant bundles of fireworks. I may find myself at a Buddhist monastery or a Hindu shrine offering up my thanks to someone elses deities or Bodhisattva, hoping that my message will reach the right office, get to the person or people in charge.

Or, maybe, I'll just sit on my balcony looking out at the mountains, and talk to God directly.

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