Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tiger! Tiger! Burning Bright

For Sylvie
The monsoon has banged its way up from the Bay of Bengal and is thrashing East Bhutan.  Living at an elevation of 6,000 feet I am in a region known as the inner Himalayan hills. As the Himalayas stretch east the inner hills become more rugged and narrow until settlements must perch on ridges or more often cling to the side of towering slopes. No more true valleys in Eastern Bhutan only gorge like creases that follow the rivers that run from the highlands down to the duars. I feel blessed to have a peak to peer from and not be working a terrace on a near vertical face. How can someone live like that I marvel? It’s a rough and tough landscape out here compared to the amicable valleys of Paro, Thimphu, or Kathmandu.  Up North the thrown of the gods separate us from the Tibetan desert plateau.  These giant’s stretch from K2 to Jhomolahari and beyond into Arrunachal Pradesh, with 8 of the 10 tallest peaks in the world, a despondent landscape fit for gods, mountain goats, and nocturnal snow leopards. Southwards are the Duars or fertile farmlands bordering Assam and west Bengal interspersed with jungle habitat and stretching east to the Terrai of Nepal’s flatlands.  I have been fortunate to make brief excursions to both the highlands and lowlands of Nepal but spend most of my days within those deep verdant inner hills that turn a muddy brown in winter but now explode with lush greens traversing the spectrum with a gazillion shades from juicy to pale. 
Another lazy day at school as the rain pounded the hut all night muddying up the campus. I have begun teaching lessons again and feel relieved to be back into the routine of work. It’s good to spend time with students again both in and out of the classroom setting.  I volunteered to supervise the younglings in the library and forgot how spirited a group of class three kids can be. By class nine they are transitioning into adults through those self searching teenage years, after class seven no more skipping rope or grassy sack. But I do enjoy working with teenagers and all the challenges that come there with. It seems harder to reach them through all the social dogma that surrounds any youth anywhere in the world. Gosh in some ways I still feel like a self searching teenager myself but always have to play the role of confident teacher. Only readers of this blog get the real scoop on the state of my consciousness as I use this as a confessional space or E- journal to rant and rave. So let’s get on with it! In the morning I watched drifting plumes and tuffs of monsoon mist roll across peaks a hole revealing the shimmering silver Dagme Chu lay bare on the damp earth. OH DAGME CHU I LOVE YOU! So it’s a misty sort of lost world day as the students live in their world and I in mine and we meet up to exchange cultural knowledge. Like karma trying peanut butter for the first time or the kids teaching me words in sharshop. For lunch leftover Emadatsi sigh, but alas a cold Coke keeps it on the level something to remind me of other home. GOD BLESS COCA COLA!  The mist curls around the wispy pines below my rock and gorgeous flowers burst their blooms in the absence of direct sunlight. The earth and sky swap steam in a carnal monsoon embrace that is as old as the firma that rose out of the sea.  But the monsoon also gives me the blues or the greys. Bhutan is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen but it can be a dark penetrating beauty that broods on my soul. (As if my soul didn’t brood enough on its own in sunny California) On these occasions I feel insignificant and out of place feeling like everyone knows the secret except me, that old illusion of separation from the whole that is the root cause of all suffering. We invent meaning to fill in the gaps but this emptiness will gnaw at our gut causing us to distract ourselves with stimulation. Outward stimulation is non existence at times except vibing off nature and one must look inward. For some of us this can be scary and intense and for me this is true. Then one must reckon the emptiness and illusion of form and except the illusionary nature of all things. Yikes! No fun Ace. I find more resonance in Buddhist beliefs then Christianity but I also find it depressing. But we are the body of the godhead not individual vessels sailing in the void. So if you can obliterate the ego and retract into the void you might find immeasurable pleasure and well being. But in my fangled mind I am so far from that it is hilarious. I try to throw myself into work to improve the plight of others but feel I am not good enough at my taxing trade. So I summon the Guru’s strength to be a better educator and mentor to my students who know more about certain aspects of life than me. Sometimes I wonder if Bhutan has made me a stronger person or merely agitated my condition. It doesn’t matter anyway as the world stops for no one unless you can stop the world like the enlightened can. So I stare into the void which birthed all forms and the pantheon of goddesses succeeded by Pan the horned ones, and then Buddha and Christ. Perhaps we lost our way when man wrestled away the power from women? Now the pixies are pushed into the fungus realm unless one chooses to see them or believes in them.  And Christ rules the West with his sexless piety and the devil has been assigned horns. Perhaps Lucifer just liked to have too much fun and was banished to the subterranean realm and renamed Satan.  From the Big Bang came polytheism then monotheism but in my opinion it’s all one. To label god or goddess only words words words to mold the great vibration into form. WE LIKE FORM ISN’T IT? The thunder of silence that all the saints felt but went wrong when they spoke of it since there is nothing really to say...  
TIGER! TIGER! Burning Bright
Can You Stop The World Tonight?       

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