March 24, 2023
Are you enjoying our travel stories to India & Nepal?
I know it’s not about flowers -- but it's about transformation.
If you read my last blog post, you’ll remember that 20 years ago, I took my first trip to Bodhgaya, India.
I remember visiting the Mahabodhi Stupa one night – I’d stopped to listen to a group of nuns singing the most enchanting melodies together. They each carried a big drum and methodically moved it from side to side.
The following day, I took a day trip, walking several hours through dusty villages to get to a place called Mahakala Cave.
It was a special place. Some 2500 years ago, the famous prince Siddhartha was sitting in that very cave, doing austere meditation practices. He’d stopped eating until he was skin and bones.
He was on the brink of death, when he came to the realization that he needed nourishment in order to continue on his path to enlightenment.
It was there at that cave, that I made a vow to myself:
One day, I would learn the nuns’ melodic practice that I had heard. I would come back and do that practice at this cave.
Over the years I was slowly introduced to the practice, but never indulged in actually doing it on a regular basis.
I have a weird thing sometimes where I deny myself things that I really love.
In 2022, due to a personal hardship, I found it absolutely necessary to start doing this practice regularly. Rather than an indulgence, it felt like survival.
Fast forward less than a year – I found myself back at that cave where I’d made that promise to myself 20 years prior. I was able to fulfill my vow and offered the practice at the cave.
Sometimes we make promises to ourselves. They might seem random. And yet – it’s important to uphold those promises, especially when the outcome is positive.
I don’t have to understand how all the puzzle pieces connect, but I enjoy the magic and synchronicity of it all.
Another example of this was that daily I started reading Thich Nhat Than’s translation of The Insight that Leads Us to the Other Shore.
Then the LOTUSWEI team started reading it out loud every day after our meditation practice in preparation for the Ripple the Void Tour last year. We even added it at the end of our flower offering ceremonies in each city.
Otherwise known as the Heart Sutra, it was first spoken out loud some 2500 years ago at a place called Vulture’s Peak.
Then last December, we booked a last minute trip to India (we booked our tickets ONE WEEK before departure!).
And just like that – weeks later, we found ourselves at the place where the Heart Sutra was first spoken.
It was the most comfortable cave I’ve ever been in.
As we started our chanting, a group of Tibetans crouched into the cave and they were so touched by our singing, they offered each of us a 10 Rupee bill on each of our laps.
We were stunned.
Afterward, we walked to the top of Vulture's Peak and saw a big group of monks doing practice.
I watched as the winds danced in the prayer flags, sending love out into all directions in space.
About 2000 years ago, it was a thriving center for learning about astrology, philosophy, natural medicine and the art of war. People came from as far as China to study at Nalanda!
Although just ruins today, it was possibly the most peaceful place I’d ever been in my life. My mind was blown to pieces and I found it hard to speak.
I walked around every room in the living quarters of the university.
We touched the trees and tuned into the ground under our feet. I felt something absorb into my body from the ground under my bare feet.
The sun crept under the horizon and the sky went black as we ended our visit. My belly felt full & my heart overflowed with wonder. Funny how we carry these experiences in our bodies forever.
I thought you might like to hear the Heart Sutra, so I put together a playlist of it in various languages.
Love & flower petals,