“Are you going to Ladakh with us?”

 

 

That’s how this whole trip started. A timely text message from yogi Tashi on an afternoon tea break, where I was able to immediately turn around to my boss and demand politely state “I have two questions for you. Why are you going to Ladakh and why didn’t you invite me?!” The next morning; I found myself piled into the trusty family jeep and making the two-day journey through the mountain passes of Manali into Ladakh. Did I have any idea what I was actually doing there and for how long? Pffft…details shmetails.

As it turns out, the destination was Kargil. Nestled high up into one of the imposing mountaintops was a cave where Padmasambhava was believed to have spent years in mediation. We were there to make the pilgrimage up the mountain and to complete a set of rituals led by Pachen and his crew of five lhamos. 

As I stood at the base of the mountain, barely breathing in the airless altitudes of kargil; I looked up to the top, then down at my flimsy city boots, then over to my boss and asked him how long the hike was. “Oh, only about four hours to the top”. Gulp

Four hours later; soggy boots from walking across streams, hands dirty where crawling up was easier than walking and ready to collapse, I finally reached our destination. Here I was greeted with its breathtaking scenery. Here where the azure sky was endless and the clouds appeared at eye level I felt my spirits rise. Oh, what glorious beauty! The eagles soaring, the wind blowing, the magic pulsing in the air…“This is the wrong spot” declares Pachen. “We need to move”

He points to the other end of the peak. “It’s a dakini mountain”. Caught between throwing myself over the edge to end my misery and well, lucid thought- I followed the troupe to the other side. 

This is where it kind of gets hazy. Dusk had fallen and I somehow found myself parked off to the side of the camp staring up into the stars. I suddenly became swamped with emotions and I erupted into tears. The tears became wracking sobs and for what felt like hours, a torrent of emotion engulfed my heart. At the time; I felt like I was releasing a whole lifetime of sadness which morphed into multiple lifetimes of sadness and then the sadness of the entire world. As the crystal-clear stars seemed close enough to touch I felt myself become so insignificantly small in the scheme of the cosmos. To be expanded and contracted at the same time was a confusing experience. Having since been to Egypt and with my experiences there, I’ve now come to believe that it was also my body’s visceral reaction to the memory of having been in that exact spot lifetimes before.

To be honest I can’t really say with any with any kind of certainty what had actually happened. Was it a visceral memory? An epic purging brought upon by higher energies? An activation? Maybe it was all of the above. I do know however, that because of that event; the next day would be marked down in my memory as one of the best days off my life. A joy I thought I could never experience floated through me and permeated my experience of everything around me. It was a day filled with shamanic ceremonies, trances, channelling and cave explorations.  A perfect day that ended with hanging prayer flags in the wind for the happiness of all mankind.