A Travellerspoint blog

May 2011

Should we be building a financial or detachment portfolio?

Whilst living with tantric Lamas in India I found myself in prime position to experience them walk their talk. If you have read anything at all on Tibetan Buddhism you will know we are consistently reminded that one of their key principles for finding happiness is through detachment. So I had the opportunity to be a ‘samasaric fly’ on a monastic wall to observe this incredibly difficult principle being put in action. Many things happened to this effect in the duration of my stay but one situation in particular stands out the most for me. On a deliciously lazy Sunday afternoon I was sitting in the midday sun out on the balcony with my dear friend Lama Tashi and a sweet Tibetan school kid called Tenzin. This balcony was situated at the back of a restaurant and underneath us was the kitchen. Lama Tashi was the monk in charge of running the restaurant and hotel at this particular time. As we gazed out over the rolling Himalayan foothills of Dharamsala, with prayer flags flapping in the wind sending their auspicious intentions skywards, a big black stream of smoke ominously comes out from the kitchen windows below. My initial reaction was one of panic, as true to form my highly trained Western sympathetic nervous system jumps straight into ‘flight or flight’ mode. Both my Tibetan counterparts on the other hand had a totally different reaction, a gutful of hearty laughter directly proceeded by ‘Haha kitchen, kitchen!’ Now language barriers did get in the way from time to time during my stay but in that moment I had found a universal language that helped me understand this principle of detachment with no need for translation, it was the universal language of laughter. Now to continue on with the story, I then waited perched on the edge of my seat, to see what we would do next. Well we carried on as normal of course and let the lads in the kitchen deal with their own creation. Neither Lama Tashi nor Tenzin felt any need to get involved so what gave me the right to even assume I needed to? This simple act of instant detachment, all done so effortlessly was one of my biggest learning's. It has left me with such a deep longing for this kind of authentic freedom that it is fuelling my intentions to go back and study with these monks so this ‘samsaric fly’ can master the most detachment she possibly can in this brief lifetime.

So why am I telling you all of this? This morning I was asked the question “Lisa what are your plans for when you are an older woman?”. At first I didn’t know what to say for two reasons. The first was because I honestly don’t plan that far ahead as I like to keep the pages of my story unwritten and secondly because I could sense the question came from a material place with perhaps a flavour of childbearing pressures in there. It was one of those moments when someone asks you the biggest question they have for themselves. After a few minutes, once I had made a concerted effort to mentally swim through all the societal expectancies that this question was laden with, I got to a place of wonderful clarity. I replied “My plans for when I am an older woman are to be happy”. And what happened after that was an instantaneous connecting of the dots, for I saw that my intention to go to India and learn precious Tibetan mind tricks would play a big part in me achieving that. So I no longer saw it as ‘the thing that I will do next’, but instead saw it as an investment in my future well-being and happiness. We all spend so much of our time running around worrying about things like our careers, our mortgages, our bank accounts, our pensions and at times rightly so. But the question I want to ask all of you now is what investments are you making today for your happiness pension of tomorrow? What are you doing to ensure that no matter what happens in the future you will find and maintain inner peace, freedom and happiness despite the dramas of everyday samsaric life? And I look forward to reading your answers!

With love



Lama Tashi

Lama Tashi

Posted by Lisa Tully 02:04 Comments (0)

To meditate or not to meditate...in a noisy city?

As a keen mediator I have always struggled with the distraction of noise. It is the one thing that can pull me out of the most beautiful spaces a bit like a jack in the box. Whilst in McLeod Ganj, India the Dalai Lama was in town and meditating just 10 minutes down the road from my hotel in his monastery. The energy was incredible but being located right by the main road so was the noise. I had to crank up the soft lilting music in my iPhone to drown out the car horns so I could take in the serenity of if His Holiness. Sounds a bit like trying to be in two places at once right? Well India being India, and since I was hanging out in the part of her that has a profound Tibetan heart I had a wonderful synchronicity. One day as I was concentrating hard on both avoiding the onslaught of traffic and the open drains than conveniently run along the full length of the road where pedestrians have no other choice but to walk, I came across a random poster on a lamp post. On it was advertised the opportunity to learn how to meditate using sound as an anchor to deepen mediation practice. I couldn’t believe my eyes nor my luck as, I may add, a cow calmly rubbed by me swishing her tail not seeming to be too bothered one way or the other about the traffic or the risk of plunging south into the relaxed and open local infrastructure!
I looked a bit more closely and I noticed the workshop dates and I had missed it. It was the end of the season, it was cold and there is no heating in that town so in the wisdom of their ways most of the meditation teachers go South. But there was the name of a book ‘The Joy Of Living’ by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche that these teachings were based upon. In this book this Buddhist master and teacher weaves together the principles of Tibetan Buddhism and science and it makes a fascinating read. Finding links between these different paths that demonstrates these apples of knowledge and wisdom haven’t fallen too far from one another, one however just may have ripened a long time before the other.

Whilst reading this book I came across the chapter about meditating on sound many months later after my experience in McLeod Ganj and to be honest I had totally forgotten about this concept. Living in London I feel really plagued by noise so I was intrigued to try out the technique and I loved it. I had found a way to turn my number one irritant into an effective relaxant. Another benefit of using sound as the anchor in meditation is that it gradually teaches us to detach from assigning meaning to the various sounds we hear. This reduces any emotional responses we may have whilst listening to someone shouting at us for example. Bringing about a much more relaxed and balanced attitude no matter what noise is happening around us. Hands up who could do with a bit of that in their lives? I thought so. ‘The Joy Of Living’ is a great read written by a great teacher. Jump online and buy it, you won’t be disappointed. All the best, Lisa.

Posted by Lisa Tully 08:24 Archived in India Tagged travel india buddhism meditation tibet lama tibetan mcleod ganj dharamsala dalai rinpoche yongey mingpur Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]