On the third day of our pilgrimage to Khopra Danda, we climb up into the clouds of the Himalayas, where we confront our emotions and release them with the beauty and power of creation itself.
The Himalayas are home to the highest peaks in the entire world and a visit here is a lifetime experience.
The pull of the Himalayas
Of course, the nature we get to see is beyond compare. Nepal is a small country but home to 3.2% of the world’s biodiversity and more than 8% of the world’s species of birds. It’s heaven for wildlife lovers.
But it’s not just the nature that gets people. In the Himalayas, there’s a silence that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s why so many yogis come here for meditation, and why it is said to be the home of Lord Shiva, the original yogi himself.
So, while climbing higher and higher into the clouds, the feeling is both strange and beautiful. The air begins to thin and with not another soul in sight, it’s otherworldly, like a dream.
Ayurvedic herbs for altitude
Somewhere around 3300m, one of my pilgrims began to feel some mild effects of the altitude. A slight headache, slower walking.
I offered some of my herbs which I carry for this reason. Amongst them were Himalayan timur, salemn and wild garlic, which are known with the villagers for being fantastic remedies against altitude sickness.
Everyone at some point can find themselves with altitude problems and it has nothing to do with experience levels. Of course, going slowly, getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water is most important, but of almost equal importance is mindset.
Mindset is everything
Luckily, my pilgrim had a great mindset and chose to access courage, recovering quickly and conquering the altitude with a persistence that inspired me. We can do anything that we put our minds to, and this was a great example of that.
As we climbed stone step after stone step, like a great staircase to heaven, nobody spoke. The silence in this area was hypnotising and deeply calming, like a soothing balm for our busy minds.
Silence has deep meaning in yogic culture. It has been said that meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words and when we practice silence at the right time, for the right reasons, we can access divine.
AUM Meditation for Healing
The vibration of divine AUM is a beautiful example of when silence is integral to existence.
In the first sound AUM, A is creation, U is sustaining, and M is destruction, but after destruction there comes emptiness (silence or 0 state). This is found in the pause we take after chanting AUM.
After that silence there is again creation, and so on and so on, forever. It’s the process of how divine works.
In today’s busy world we can use this technique to heal ourselves.
All day, we are busy with responsibilities, doing our jobs, taking care of our families and friends, we rarely ever feel the gentleness of silence. In fact, our minds are constantly thinking, worrying and planning.
People come to the Himalayas to find the silence inside of them that’s been lost.
After a trip here, my pilgrims always tell me that their lives are changed, that they now understand where they were going wrong, and how they will make changes to improve.
They each go through the process of destruction (of what is unnecessary or harmful), the silence of peace, and then they begin again, ready to create something better while sustaining what they love. This is the beginning of awareness and the key to a happy life.
Arriving at Khopra Danda for Sunset
When we finally reached 3600m, up onto the ridge of Khopra Danda, with the massive Annapurna South Himalaya looming in front of us, the sun was just beginning to go down.
Leaving our bags where we would spend the night, the only building in many kilometres, we headed up to my favourite viewpoint to watch the sunset.
Sunsets in the Himalayas are out of this world. You’ll not see another quite like it. They’re magical.
As the amber rays of the setting sun melted the peaks of the mighty Himalayas, everyone’s faces were golden and our eyes were filled with tears.
In those moments, we reflected on our journey, our courage, our lives, and were deeply healed.
This sunset was one of the highlights of our entire trek and a lifechanging experience to all of us.
Dhima Oceana and Pawana were so happy to be there and as the last light disappeared over the peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, I had that feeling of gratitude in me to be able to organise this trek and show them some of the extraordinary healing powers of the Himalayas.
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