Perspectives from the Himalaya

The Echo Within

Stories came.

Submerged in a simmering pot of words, text, thought and imagery.

The brew bubbled around the rim of the pot attempting to overflow from its infusion of magical interpretations of life, prose and poetry from the wise and the wise. From those who have lived and walked the path, those who have daringly searched the depths of their hearts and souls, those who have laid out their bare bones to give it all to the world, those who have fearlessly spoken the unspoken, those who have articulated that that which mere mortals struggle with, those that have cried into the seas and laughed deliriously with the moon. All of those and them, reveal the beauty within themselves.

Meals and stories shared around a pot of stew cooking on a wood-burning earthen stove tend to evoke a gathering of kinship, no matter how icy the wind curls around the ankles or how dark the night is and how ready it makes you smile in the glow of the fire. The stew fills the air with warm tones of earthy fragrance from the garden. The ingredients melt in unison to spring a unique flavour induced by the dried fermented mustard leaves known as gundruk, paired with shapely soybeans and soft potatoes. And even after the tummies are filled with gratitude, the waft of smoky wood lingers on in the memories; the insides yearning for more as the night translates into a starry night.

And henceforth, the brew of stories continues with myriad concoctions in an attempt to describe the human landscape. Language flows, making sense of every sensibility that a human being could possibly experience. On occasions when the brew dries up, it reveals remnants from its previous brew. And sometimes these thick streaks around the sides have more telling stories. The golden caramel marks give clues of tantalising flavours often beautiful and engaging, the dark stubborn crust pronounces the bitterly burnt and fearful haunts, the gooey patches tell of experimental and playful mishaps, and occasionally an exquisite streak appears that gives way to a new dawn, and an inattentive brew brings with it sticky careless bottoms that recites the mundane.

When a thick creamy texture occurs from a flauntingly indulgent brew, the velvety magma stirs emotions and entices passionate love, intimacy and tenderness. In most attempts of this brew, it routinely concludes in unpredictable cycles of ups and downs. Such brews tend to produce poignant romantics, often leading to surges of compulsion, indecisiveness and hopeless reasoning. However, there are exemptions. As there always is for the world cannot be seen in shades of black and white. There is a far-off cousin of this kind of brew, with a much lighter consistency but just as full-bodied, that has exemplified instances of profound unrequited love, where the love for all living beings and creatures simply cannot be measured. It is a kind of love that gives all and wants nothing in return. It is a kind of love that sprouts out from a place of no origin as it has been rumoured that it resides in all that lives. Its potency is in its quality of inclusiveness and is rare to come as most have forgotten how to tap into it. But history has illuminated such heroes and they are never forgotten.

The creamy luxurious brew can, over time, surpass its existing qualities and transcend into a more lucid kind. When the turmoils of emotions are soothed and the psychological drama gradually sinks into the bottom of the pot, the surface begins to reflect a more placid and transparent effect. As seasons come and go, sometimes year after year, and even lifetime after lifetime, a fermentation of a beautiful kind emerges.

This is the brew of becoming.

Others may acknowledge it as the utterly boring and characterless one for it gives no recognition, no admiration nor worldly gratification. But a brew of becoming, like a clear consommé, is truly the most exquisite of its kind. It is a brew that is the canon of all brews and requires utmost patience, technique and perseverance. It calls for a tender stirring and an acute observation of the subtleties of change in its quality over time. Unlike its creamy counterpart, it has no place for emotional disposition or fleeting thoughts for its essence is of tranquillity and composure. The penultimate result is sublime. The fermented brew that quietly bubbles under its surface continues to work itself until it reaches a final state of perfect stillness. So that when a gaze falls into the simmering pot, all that is seen is a frightfully honest reflection of the gazer.

The brew of becoming allows the gazer into the internal world so immediately and so wholly when resistance is unobtrusive. Where the shadow lurks, where the secrets are hidden, where the fragments of fear simply dissolve. There is nowhere to hide for the mirror brings forth what it sees. The reflection may not be comfortable but it lifts away the burden of putting on a daily mask and the many faces that it carries. And when tended to, these qualities dissolve and what is left is simply, the lightness of being.

Ingredients for this brew are not known but it is said that a seed exists in all and it is a matter of nurturing it. It may have been brewing from the beginning of time, from the time we took our first breath. But we are unaware of it because we are constantly busying ourselves with streams of thought, with fleeting trends and worldly distractions, like a captive prisoner in a spiralling world of our creation.

But we are in a very ripe place and time, to hold space for the conversation, to ask where we are going and to seek the answers, but only if we are willing to put our toys away.