10. Preparing for Mt Kailash.

Preparing for Mt Kailash.

Over the next few months I focused intently on my meditation. I attended three retreats and spent a great deal of time meditating and doing chi gung. I kept my precepts to the letter and felt an immense spaciousness come upon me. I was not able to have long, two hour sits, and had begun to truly feel my body, my mind being one-pointed and focussed. I could feel my bones, muscles, tendons, glands, some of my organs, and could now feel the delicate subtle body and my chakras.

During some of my deeper sits such extraordinary events occurred that I will not bother to recount in this blog, as to the non-practitioner they will seem fantasy. But the insights and truths that began to reveal themselves to me in these hours of crystal clear lucidity were profound and penetrating. I remember one sit in particular in which I was so exposed to truths that I could previously not even begin to comprehend that I vomited upon coming back to the room. I had to have a long and deep discussion and meditation with my teacher for the truths of this sit to sink in, to realise what it was that had just happened to me, what had just been revealed to me.

In my spare time I researched and bought the kit needed for the trip. It was climb and trek intensive, and so required a lot of unfortunately very expensive kit that would last at the freezing temperatures prevalent at 6000 meters above sea level.

I booked my flights for Kathmandu, the starting point of my journey, and then went to perform in a play at a major theatre.

The play was an extremely poorly written piece of new work, but it received a lot of attention because of the well-known playwright and the famous theatre. For reasons that I still cannot quite understand it received some very positive reviews. I was the lead, and played a Nazi Jew Hunting Rapist, which was a bit of a stark contrast from what I was practicing in my spare time.

After the 6-week run finished I headed almost immediately on my adventure. I began in Italy for a weeklong family holiday, and then was set to head to Nepal. I was to then fly to the Sherpa village of Simikot, one of the remotest places in the world, from where I was to spend the next few months crossing over the Himalayas to Tibet, and then travelling to Mt Kailash, performing the Kora, and then heading through Tibet and onto its capital, Lhasa.

However, unfortunately the timing was about as bad as you can get. It was 60 years since the Chinese Invasion and Occupation of Tibet, and the Government (I assume the Beijing Government) decided to hold celebrations to this end, and so closed the border to any foreigners for the month whilst they held parades throughout the country.

Because of this, I delayed heading to Kathmandu for a few weeks, instead heading for Bali. The idea was to make my way to a small deserted Island called “Gili Nanggu.” Burgs had spent six months living as a hermit on this Island meditating on the Visuddhimagga, a meditation manual. And so, after planes, a taxi and a very dodgy public fishing boat ride, I located and arrived at the Gili Islands, just off of the coast of Lombok.

Local Transport Boat in Lombok

It did not take me long to realize that I had come to the wrong Island. Gili Trawangan, where I had arrived, did not seem anything like the tranquil Island paradise that Burgs had described. The first clue to my sub-standard Geographical skills was the Bars. They were everywhere. The beautiful sunbathing women on their Gap Years provided the seconds clue. The hallucinogenic drug retailers the third. It transpired that ‘Gili’ was simply the Indonesian word for ‘Island’, and that to travel to an set of Islands called the ‘Gili Islands’ and expect to find ‘Gili Nanggu’ there was outright stupid.

Sunset on Gili Islands

Gili Islands

I did not spend too long worrying about it. Gili Trawangan, in spite of its revelry and terrible rubbish disposal issues, was an incredibly beautiful Island. I decided not to continue my search for Gili Nanggu and instead spent two weeks scuba diving in its breathtaking Coral Reefs. I met a beautiful girl, (think Helen of Troy beautiful) had a two day Romance and then, upon her leaving, became so utterly depressed and despairing that I left almost immediately, heading first to Ubud in Bali before leaving for Nepal.

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