I just sent off the fee ($46 for twenty days) for my deluxe (i.e. flimsy open air tent) accommodations for the Kalachakra teachings and initiation in Bodhgaya, India coming up in January. I have some idea of what to expect which is why my stomach (and other parts of my body) are clenched up like a bare knuckle boxer’s fist.
The last time I was in Bodhgaya was during the off-season and it was pretty much total chaos. There were countless pilgrims, sadhus and beggars and it was nothing short of complete disorientation and rip-your-heart-out confusion. This time there are estimated to be well over 100,000 pilgrims attending (most of whom I will be sleeping next to in a make-shift tent city) along with thousands and thousands of poor and homeless who are drawn to these kinds of gatherings by the mythical wealth of the many westerners who come.
I expect to be more uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally, than I ever have been in my life. So why am I doing this?
If you said “Because you’re crazy,” then I think you have a good shot at winning that argument. But the truth is, I’m going because H.H. Holiness the Dalai Lama is presiding over this rare and precious event at the site where the historical Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. In short, I can’t miss this.
I’m pretty nervous as the momentum begins to push me forward into this. The only thing that remains to seal the deal is buying my plane ticket next week. But it’s a good nervous, full of excitement and hope as well as fear. I think it’s good to take a flying leap out of your comfort zone every so often. It’s good to throw caution to the wind from time to time. It’s good to follow your heart and your dreams, too. It’s good to do this again and again and again…