The Freedom of Letting Go
It’s been several months since our journey to Kailash. I’d been wondering for some time now how best to encapsulate my experience for myself and to share it with others. During our travels, I bought a journal with the intention to document everything daily so I wouldn’t forget. Yet, whenever I managed to stave off the altitude weariness long enough to take out the journal, my mind would simply turn blank. Never had the use of words and language felt more ill-suited than to the task at hand. Still, I would force pen tip to paper, which generated several pages of place names listed by date visited; it was—a pointless undertaking anyone could accomplish without needing to travel halfway across the world.
By the time we hit Paryang, I decided to give up journaling altogether and resorted to taking photos. However, when I came home and uploaded what I shot, all I saw were decorative visual representations: a grey lake here, a snow-capped mountain there, some pictures of vegetation or a lack thereof. They were nice images, yes, maybe even beautiful, but certainly nothing special; a National Geographic photography team might not look twice at them, as they’ve probably seen more sensational landscapes than those we encountered. I had set myself an impossible task. Through what means then, can I relate Kailash?
One of the significant experiences I had while at Kailash was recognizing the freeing power of grace. Many disciples have shared how we were unable to complete or even begin the parikrama around Kailash. When news of this development was announced at camp, I was surprised at my own reaction: I hardly felt disappointed. With the solemn presence of Mount Kailash beside us and Ma and Bapuji safeguarding us, I knew that my greatest encounter had already come. I felt grace permeate my being. I only had to gently relax and let the energy flow through me. I knew that everything was right, just the way it was. And I was perfectly at peace. On our return to Nepal, as our filthy selves jolted along the dirt paths by Landcruiser (we hadn’t showered for over two weeks), that sense of release continued to stay with me and I felt bliss with every bump in the road.
I was carrying home an incredible blessing: I had had a glimpse of how it was possible to be content no matter what the circumstances of the outside world. What may have seemed like the greatest of disappointments was in fact a lesson in learning to let go, to respect that deep mystery which the mind alone cannot grasp. With such an understanding, one becomes unaffected by the turbulence of worldly life. There it was: a vision of eternity.
As soon as I returned to my regular post-yatra life, the troubles of existence greeted me with greater intensity than before. I am discovering how each day is itself a living practice. Those people who hurt us, those situations which manifest to unbalance us, I remind myself that they are opportunities for me to become a better human being. Let my heart break open. Relax and let grace flow. I will know what to do.
The experience of Kailash will continue to reveal itself by degrees, through the daily practice of living the rest of my life. When I stepped out of Lake Manasarovar the day we bathed in its waters, I was returning to the shores of human life, reborn completely anew. I experienced the freedom of release, of letting go.
Uma, in Beijing, China