My last blog was about my time L, one and a half blissful years and a less blissful last half year. The last half year was greatly overshadowed by my feelings of loss as if the relationship was already finished. I somewhat mourned, worried and stuck my head in the sand. His letters were sweet but a torture at the same time. He hinted that he would see me soon and that he needed to tell me something face to face. Honestly speaking I couldn’t wait in all senses it was difficult for me to wait for someone. Not sleep with anyone and be okay, a very physical side of it was giving me grief. I struggled and tossed and turned I need of sexual release, arms to hold me and his sternness to subdue me when too much nonsense started prevailing.
At the fear of sounding very weak, which indeed I was, I had a fling with a sous chef from the Tibet hotel. I hated myself for it and the guilt was tremendous but I never told him or anyone what I did but it’s not something I’m proud of. The first and last time I ever cheated on someone, as it thought me a great lesson then I’m no good when it comes to leading a double life. Wanting one maybe yes, but living it is not my forte. Too complicated, too many guilt feelings and too much behaviour to keep in check to appear normal. So when L send me a telegraph that he was due in Dharamsala on such and such date and time became a nervous wreck and didn’t know what to do with myself. However, I survived it? I have no clue but I did and the day arrived.
The day L would return, was quite a normal day in the sense that I went to the Tibetan Libray of works and archives for my lessons in Tibetan and Philosophy and though I was a nervous wreck I managed somehow to keep relatively calm all morning, walking back from the library for lunch to Mcleod from Gangchen Kyishong I started to develop an enormous nervous feeling in my gut. I was too strong to be ignored but also too strong to have to do entirely with L alone. My mind started to dream up all sorts of doom scenarios of what could happen when we met and he found out about my transgression on our relationship and somewhere somehow I knew it wasn’t because of that or because of him I was feeling that way.
And I wasn’t wrong. Returning to Mcleod I walked past my home and onto a favourite restaurant for lunch. On the way over I passed a couple of communications offices used for faxing and phoning in a place where home phones were still scarce and out of one a Punjabi rushed out and called me miss Radia, Miss Radia is that you? I was so nervous I didn’t answer but just stood there, the guy must have understood it was indeed me, therefore pulled me inside his office and said that a fax had come fro me and that He would dial a number hang up after three rings and wait for a call from that same number abroad.
I read the fax which was from my aunt who is also a follower of the same guru and it basically said that I had to leave Dharamsala Immediately, very important to leave that night and before leaving to break off my relationship with L. That she would explain later on the phone in more detail but that it was of utmost importance I leave that very day after having seen him and breaking up with him….
The world stopped turning, my stomach turned al the more to the point of needing to throw up and I just sat there waiting for the phone to ring and getting to talk to her. I took ages for a line to be clear enough to hear her on the other side and I couldn’t say anything back because the echo was too great for them to make out what I had actually said so I listened. My aunt told me in dutch that my guru was begging me from the depth of his heart to leave Dharamsala as he feared for my life and to leave that day. that I should break off my relationship with L as he and I were not meant to spending this life together that our karma was good enough and strong enough to stay connected and for our friendship to last but not in this way as it would become a huge obstacle to his and my life and would force a break between either him and me which would be irreparable or between my guru and myself which would also be very difficult for the years to come for me in my life. She said that my guru understood that even though I was still very young he asked a great sacrifice of me as I was greatly committed to L a trait he admired in me greatly but was not useful at the time and that even I didn’t follow his advice the consequences of staying with L or in Dharamsala being his student would be grave.
It all didn’t make sense, It didn’t and still, here I was a dharma student needing to make a choice. Do I listen and follow to my guru’s solicited and unsought for advice even though it didn’t make sense? What would you have done? I also didn’t know what to do. My aunt had stopped speaking at that point and very clearly I heard my guru’s voice on the other side of the line. Radia, I love you greatly, I am very scared what might happen to you if you stay in Dharamsala any longer as something is about to happen there that involves a split in the Tibetan Buddhist community our whole social structure will change he said and as everybody knows you are my student and you will be in the wrong camp from the reigning power’s point of view it might be dangerous to stay around. He said repeated himself again, in other words, he said the same and urged me to break off with L. It would do me no good as he was from another Buddhist school and close the other camp. That actually reminded me that L had asked me on a couple of occasions if I couldn’t find another guru/Lama or if it was necessary to follow a guru at all?
Now you would think that for a Tibetan having a and following a guru was quite normal or it would make sense to them but actually, they mostly feel Buddhist and have great believed but actually practising like we western students tend to do or aspire only a few do and especially amongst the young is still quite scarce. But back to the story.
When I remembered L having asked me this I tempted to speak a few words to my guru on the phone and I managed to say ok ill do it. I’ll leave and break off my relationship. I don’t know what or how but I’ll do it. I don’t know where to go to or what to do with my life in Dharamsala but I’ll figure it out and leave tonight. The conversation was over and the line was cut off. I stood there further like struck down with a bat, until a strange emergency and at the same time calm feeling took over and I thanked the owner of the communications office gave him some money asked if he could arrange a bus ticket for the last bus from lower Dharamsala to Delhi and gave him money for that as well. he knew where I lived and would bring the tickets round to my place as soon as he had arranged them.
I ran down the road al the way home and packed in a frenzy. My most prized belongings were at that time all L’s letters and a couple of prayer books, my western clothes. I left all my Tibetan clothes and other things which included so many lovely dharma things lovely quilted cotton bedding I had made and many many other things. When I was done packing up and waited for my taxi to lower Dharamsala – also arranged with the owner of the communications office – I sat in my room when the dawn fell, it was only another hour until L would be with me and for the first time since the telephone I allowed myself to feel the magnitude of what I was about to do… really break up with L???? Tears started flooding my eyes there were too many, my heart tightened and tightened until it imploded and tore. The physical pain was so great It made me fold my arms over my chest for thinking that might help soften the blow but it didn’t. I cried bitter tears right until L appeared in the doorway of our room. He looked at me but before he asked me why I was crying he told me had left the army to build our life together and though he hoped my tears were tears of joy he could clearly see they weren’t. He helped me up from the bed I’d been sitting on and held me in his arm tightly. Comforting me and at the same time, he understood from the packed bag I was leaving, and from my tears that I was leaving now.
I somehow stopped crying still in his embrace and we just stood there him looking worriedly at my face and me slowly plucking up the courage to look at his face, maybe for the last time in my life. I remember a warm feeling below my the torn heart spread from my belly upward to my chest but my heart was so constricted and tight it wouldn’t loosen. I tried to speak but my voice was feeble as if very sick and weak and I barely managed to say I’d simply had to leave Dharamsala and even worse, him. I said the words that we had to break up in a very small voice but it felt like shouting directly in someone’s ear. In his ears. I wonder how he felt at the time still now as he never really was able to express himself other than it wasn’t good and that he was worried for me and heartbroken because I left him and didn’t know how to get in touch with me afterwards.
L looked at me and fixed my eyes with his gaze and tightened his embrace as if he would never let go and kissed me softly. His kiss was a caress and hurt me greatly at the same time. I almost died of more heartache when he did that and wrestled myself free. He got kind of angry as did I and it gave me the much-needed strength and energy to push myself out of his embrace, him onto the bed, picking up my bad and walking over to the door from where I flung the key of our room at his feet.
The moment I stepped into the coolish evening air the taxi arrived at the main road and I ran toward it as if my life depended on it. Many years after when L and I got talking about that fatal night It became clear my life had kind of depended on it and he had felt a great relief from what he experienced right after he saw the taxi leave that I had indeed gone from Dharamsala.
So what did happen after I left? As L related to me after I found him back was the following. He had tried to run after me when I ran for the taxi, he saw it was futile and turned around back to the room to pick up the key and maybe leave. He actually felt so devastated because he had actually thought we would start the rest of our life together and it had ended instead. He was struck with a sense of loss he had never felt before and was angry and upset at the same time. He had sat down to make some sense of it and realised he had no other place to go to than to stay and sleep in our room. He actually was letting the feeling of loss get to him when he heard a great group of people shout my name, calling me to come out of my house and at the same time a couple of stones and small rocks hit the windows and shattered some too. He quickly left the room to go outside and see for himself but switched off the big light off being the trained army special forces man he was so they couldn’t target the windows so easily anymore. He shouted back at them that I wasn’t there and that I had just left to leave Dharamsala for good and to leave him alone. He made known who he was and they continued their search for people and institutions following that particular dharma protector which my guru also followed.
He expressed afterwards he was grief-stricken but now also happy at the same time that I did manage to escape the angry mob he had just seen. He covered the broken windows with some blankets and slept a long and dreamless sleep. Asleep only the grieving know of. Of wanting to forget or even better not remember at all. A heavy and deep sleep hoping the feeling as if you had been run over by a truck would be gone by waking up as it only reminded you of how much grief was still with you and still had to be worked through and In Delhi, I did the same.
Why didn’t he follow me to Delhi? Why didn’t he come to Nepal like he knew I would? He had tough of my safety and also his anger over my leaving him like that had taken over. He also had to now start to earn a living for himself and because he was from another Tibetan Buddhist school and wasn’t able to reconcile me following my guru it though all in all it would be better he left it at what it was.
Anything I write after this is guessed, especially when it comes to L’s thought and motives and when we speak about my own I had to work through the grief and come to terms with the changed course my life had to take as he had to as well.
Writing this now still makes me still a bit raw in my chest for the strong and young love which was lost and dissolved in such a dramatic way. Maybe it was too strong to break up in a less dramatic way, who is to say. Would we have stayed together and been happy still now if we hadn’t split up? Or would have cultural differences and our characters bring us to hate each other? The strength of our feelings at that time does tend to make me believe we would have been a strong happy couple but hey who is to say…
Hope you enjoyed the read and are excited about my following post in two weeks time. I still have to think what to write about that. I might actually revert back to the guru devotion part which manifested itself in this story but I didn’t elaborate upon. I can understand if you have questions about the decisions I made following my guru’s advice in this particular case. How that works and how you come to follow a guru or how is to be relied upon. If you do please send them by email, message me on facebook, leave a comment/question below and I’ll try by writing examples of my “presumed” guru devotion to answer your questions.