One of the wonders of leaving home and going off to see the world - or at least a few new corners of the world - is that the joy of discovering the new is set against the loosening of attachment to the familiar. I'm thinking here of attachment to one's home and the possessions that fill it; attachment to the routinised ways of living each day and attachment to the clothes, foods and practices of one's culture, families and friends.
And what of the increased sense of 'belonging'? Belonging to the human community and the community of all living beings.
Invited by a group of Tibetans to squash into a little gap of mattress on the floor of the temple where the Dalai Lama is giving an initiation of 1,000 Armed Chenrezig - the embodiment of compassion and the wisdom of emptiness of independent existence - to a huge throng of men, women and children drawn to him from all over the world, how can I feel other than at one with this many-faceted manifestation of life?
What a privilege to be receiving teaching and an empowerment from the Dalai Lama in his home town of McCloud Ganj/Dharamsala, as I sit on the floor amongst the many nuns, monks, Tibetans, Indians and other people from the nations of the world! How wonderful to hear him honouring and directing the Indians who have invited him to give this teaching as he reminds them of their history of religious tolerance and urges them - and all of us - to always remember that there are many spiritual paths and traditions, all leading to the same place of wisdom and compassion.
The tears fall as I feel the power of his transmission of compassion and wisdom. And all around me I feel the devotion and mantras from thousands of beings, all pressed together for this special occasion. Here, the superficial differences of language and appearance fade into insignificance and only the loving kindness and acceptance of those around me is felt. Here I belong. There is no me and no you. Just life manifesting!
Looking around at the sea of many-coloured beings, I see the many distinctive waves of the ocean, manifesting briefly and also one with the ocean.
Warm wishes from McCloud Ganj,
PS: You may like to read a more extensive and lively expression of some of our experiences in McCloud Ganj, described here by Alan.