Kathmandu...still unsure if I like it here. But I haven't really seen much of the city yet. Not sure why, but I haven't been inclined to explore. I've been staying mostly within the busy Thamel district...getting to know fellow travelers at my guesthouse and beyond...visiting Dohori clubs most nights, an experience entirely unique to Nepal...happily dancing with locals to live Nepali music...and, of course, battling bugs in my gut that seem to show up upon arrival in each new city I visit. Still...I feel generally well. Healthy on all the levels that matter most.
I've been spending so much time simply in the pursuit of catching up on what feels like the endless task of uploading photos. I've set a goal for myself...to feel that I've made significant progress I must be 'out' of Varanasi before I can leave Kathmandu for cleaner air and clearer views. Amazingly, I've nearly reached that goal. I should be finished by tomorrow's end....Nepali New Year. Though I deferred my earlier Vipassana registration for a course that begins on Wednesday, I'm not feeling inclined to sit right now. So, Thursday morning I'll board a bus bound for Pokhara. I'm hoping to serve a course there, beginning on the 1st. Looking forward to the peaceful, relaxed pace I'm told awaits me there.
I'm slowly beginning to contemplate making a plan of departure. New Zealand....perhaps. But some part of me is also feeling a hint of readiness to come home. Not out of desperation or loneliness this time. It's more of a gentle realization that I'm nearly 'complete'...as though I've been gathering pieces to make a whole. Or, perhaps, coming to realize, after all this adventurous accumulating, that nothing was missing to begin with. However interesting or fascinating the experiences of these 6 months have been, they are merely details added to a story I call 'myself'. Anything I've gained is extraneous...decorative...unnecessary. And, on some level, I'm feeling the need to shed the extra weight...to clear all this clutter and find a quiet space to just 'be' for a while.
These sentiments unwrap themselves in moments of solitude...coming into clearer view upon the trusty pages of my journal...
11 April: Strange Day...after feeling rather ill for the last two days, I awoke renewed...impressions from a rather intense dream carrying over into my morning. Another death, again my own...deliberate, somehow...like some ritualistic end that all must face...a thing not so unlike the deepest of wells...fear at approaching its edge...some unknown man offering strength...assuring me we could fall together...holding on to me. Stepping into free fall...fear dissolving into acceptance...relaxing into gravity's pull...no resistance. Calm...ready...exploding upon painless impact...into nothingness. Bliss preceding waking...surprised to find myself smiling as I woke.
Twice now in the space of a month I've dreamt of my death, with differing scenarios, but the same deeply calm embrace. Both involved plummeting fast...the vivid feeling of rapidly approaching Earth below...falling towards water...an ocean...a well. What fascinates me most about these dreams is my total resignation... my ability to be present in the face of my own physical demise...without panic...without regret. A feeling that this life was full and well-lived...no sorrow at its end. What an incredibly beautiful notion. If I can learn to cultivate such strength...the ability to die gracefully each and every moment...then perhaps those moments will spring to life...new and vibrant...unbound by fear...free of desperation...perfectly detached and flawlessly connected...gaining everything by relinquishing all.
*Yes...something internal is teaching me...gently persuading...showing me that all I require is within...no need for outward searching...no need for Vipassanas and Darshans and the shaving of heads. Such things surely do no harm, but I am realizing that, somehow, ceasing the 'pursuit' brings me the closest to 'arrival'... or, more accurately, helps me to simply 'remember'.
All this moving about...this constant shifting from place to place...this continuous filling and emptying of borrowed spaces...it's rather unnecessary. I'm just so prone to forgetting. But I think the gaps between remembering are growing decidedly shorter...and the space that punctuates my forgetfulness...so simultaneously empty and full...feels slightly less fleeting each time...with each recognition. Though I do feel a bit like a spiritual narcoleptic, falling unconscious at the most inopportune moments...it seems that, at least, my awareness of such an affliction will eventually cure it...even if it takes years...or lifetimes. For NOW...in this moment...I feel very much awake...alert...alive.
Free falling into a deeper 'self'....