Rebecca gazed through the crowded jeep’s window and sighed. The sweeping, Himalayan vista made her feel expectant. What secrets of life would the Lama reveal to her?
Professor Anderson, her mentor, had visited Tibet and Nepal and returned with stories about an old Lama in a monastery on the Himalayan roof of the world. The moment she heard the word Lama, her hair inexplicably stood on end and goose bumps prickled her skin. She had to meet the Lama. Professor Anderson suggested she discover the wisdom of the East and write about her journey as part of her master’s thesis in philosophy.
So here she was, crammed in with villagers, a goat, and a few disconcerted chickens in a bumpy old jeep that curved nonchalantly around hazardous, hairpin bends on the dusty roads hugging the rugged Himalayan slopes.
Nearing her destination, she mused about the linguistic similarity between destination and destiny. Was she here on a whim, or Divine Design?
The jeep pulled to a stop by the side of the road, interrupting her reverie. The driver indicated she should get down. Seeing no buildings, she gave him a confused, questioning glance. He spoke no English, but made an ambivalent wave toward an almost-invisible dirt trail between the bushes.
Rebecca grabbed her backpack and jumped off the bus, feeling giddy in the thin mountain air. Climbing the path was arduous but her spiritual thirst fueled her ascent. As she reached the summit and entered the monastery grounds, her senses grew heightened, amplifying all impressions–the multicolored prayer flags drumming in the wind, the hum of monks chanting in the temple, the drone of flies by the compost, the basil and jasmine wafting from the garden on the mountain breeze that teased her hair in a welcoming caress.
A monk approached her and said in hushed tone, “The master is expecting you. He told us you would arrive, and asked you to be brought to him directly.”
She had not written ahead to inform anyone of her arrival. Mystified, she followed the humble monk. He paused at the door to the Lama’s bedroom and gave her a glance that seemed equally mystified. He gave a light knock, the door slid open and he bowed, motioning her in with a sweep of his arm. The room was small and sparsely furnished, but a huge bay window boasted a breathtaking view.
Everything seemed strangely familiar, including the old Lama. He smiled and nodded his greeting, indicating she should sit in front of him. Rebecca sat cross-legged on the floor. This position felt natural to her. Everything seemed like deja-vu.
As she raised her head toward the Lama, his brilliant gaze met her eyes. An immense, electrified silence permeated her being with swift intensity. All thoughts vanished. She had no compulsion to speak, no sense of being confined in a body–or a mind. She was aware only of consciousness, drenched in pure light, infused with inexhaustible love.
Her breath merged with the song of existence as she perceived every conceivable eventuality as if each circumstance existed as a bubble in an infinite universe filled with bubbles of potentiality permeated by a rich, ironic emptiness.
After a few minutes of lingering silence, they both began to chuckle and the sense of hilarity escalated moment by moment. The Lama almost fell off his chair laughing. Tears of mirth rolled down Rebecca’s face. Eventually, their laughter subsided to a calm feast of silence.
The secret cannot be spoken.
But it can be shared.