Great conversations were shared with people from all walks of life during my time in India. Many visiting this tiny village nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains with the intention to see His Holiness (HH) the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and deepen their spiritual path.
Home Sweet Home
Having fond memories of my times with Thupten Kundrol, a Tibetan monk who lived with two other monks. They shared one room which was about 10 feet by 14 feet in size. Their home was furnished minimally and was part of an apartment complex built within the mountain.
Along the wall of each side of the room was a designated space for each of the three monks, consisting of a small bed and their personal belongings. I remember when I first met them and saw their home I wondered how three people can live in such a small space. At the back of the room, along the fourth wall housed a little kitchen area. There was no indoor plumbing but there was a central tap and washing area outside the building.
Within these four walls the small space was kept tidy and there was a very harmonious, happy energy floating around. There were hardly any belongings like clothing, shoes, things that we would normally have in our homes. Their beds were neatly made and everything seemed like it belonged there, nothing seemed out of place or missing.
Agility and Focus
The monks wore red and yellow robes and were very focused on daily prayers and attending spiritual gatherings and events at nearby monasteries and HH the Dalai Lama’s temple. Some wore leather pointed shoes as their daily footwear. Thupten skipped effortlessly up and down steep hills and steps with his leather pointed shoes. I was always astounded by his agility and stamina.
Most of the time I was out of breath when I tried to keep up with him even when he slowed down to accommodate me. I quickly learnt that going at my own pace was the only way for me to joyfully tackle my daily climbs as I navigated from place to place. I soon discovered that Tibet has many mountains and Thupten was accustom to running up and down the mountains as a child. His family were nomads raising yaks and moved around the mountainous landscape often.
As I observed and digested this unfamiliar culture, each day seeing and appreciating things with fresher lenses. Feeling more and more at ease, more and more at peace and more and more relaxed as my days went by. My appreciation and gratitude deepened moment by moment.
Happiness is a Feeling
Thupten had a basic understanding of some common English phrases and was eager to learn and expand his English knowledge base. He had many questions when we met for our weekly English classes. He carried an old, tattered English dictionary and anything he did not understand he looked it up in his dictionary. I soon learnt that he cherished that worn out dictionary because it was given to him by his brother.
On the surface to the casual eye it may have appeared that the monks were living in poor conditions and suffering but I found it to be the total opposite. They were the most happiest and contented people I have ever met in my entire life because they lived their lives in the present moment. They truly demonstrated “abundance consciousness” to me.
We are all abundant in nature and certainly can attain happiness now if we truly want it. Happiness can only be found within us, its not a thing or a place, it is a feeling, it is a pulsing, dynamic energy within each of us. We all have tasted it at some point.
Living a happy life is simple and can be easily achieved by following this formula: Count your blessings and spread them all around, let it permeate within your family, your friends and the world at large.
When we truly allow ourselves to experience happiness as our dominate way of living, it indelible shines through; and those who are in the vicinity of catching a whiff of it benefits tremendously.