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Lions Roar : March 2015
myself slipping away from that “conversation.” I took the bus one afternoon to the end of the long val- ley, east out of La Laguna. There was a small grotto by the bus stop used for picnics and as a toilet by those awaiting the bus. I found a trail leading up the mountains and followed it. The day was sunny and dry, the scent of pine heady in the air. I crossed a road and continued upward, following a trail leading into the mountains that kept disappearing and then reappearing in odd places. I began to pause frequently, partly from the steady climb, partly from the slippery footing of the pine needles on the forest floor. There was little undergrowth. Just before dusk I reached a ridge. The trees grew right to the top of it. I found a small bowl-like indentation in the slope about ten feet across, filled with pine needles, that faced southwest. I decided to settle there for the night, hoping for my “experience” while the sun set, as though I could schedule an insight into the true nature of the universe. I took out my food and ate half of everything, happily watching the sun go down. It was lovely, but nothing “happened.” I crawled up to the ridge, over- coming my fear of heights some- how, and looked over. It dropped off suddenly several thousand feet, but instead of darkening for- est and ocean, I saw a sea of grey as a vast bank of clouds spread just below me. With the cooling air after sunset, the clouds began to rise toward me and flow over the top, filling my side of the forest with thick fog and a soft, misty rain that was part of the air itself. It became cold and damp. I pulled my clothes and food into the sleeping bag and hunkered down for a long, silent, wet night. I was tired from the long climb, so I slept regardless. The first edges of grey light and the dawn birds woke me. I sat up stiff and wet. Cold. Feeling a bit sorry for myself. Disap- pointed I didn’t have the special moment I had come for. I took a leak, watching the little yellow river flow under the pine needles and down the slope. My bread and cheese had remained dry, so I made a small breakfast for myself and washed it down with the remaining wine in the skin. Then I just sat there for a while. I stopped assessing the situation and joined the still trees as the last of the fog drifted down toward the valley. No sound but the soundless sound of fog moving off in the sunrise. After some time, I have no idea of how much, there was a kind of music off to my left. Someone was whistling a tune. I heard footsteps and saw a young man, perhaps only a few years older than myself, striding down the trail. He burst into song briefly, into one of the local cantos folkloricos, and then continued whistling as he forgot HOT OFF THE PRESS ZEN ENCOUNTERS WITH LONELINESS by Terrance Keenan Wisdom Publications, 328 pp., $17.95 (paper) HUMLA September 2015 Trek through the sacred mountains of Northwestern Nepal with Tempa Dukte Lama, to deliver no-cost, high-quality health care to one of the poorest and most remote areas in the world humlafund.org Photo:DeborahDonenfeld Medical Service Trip Tergar Online Learning Community (TLC) offers a wide variety of online courses to support your meditation practice. Connect with practitioners from around the globe and study at your own pace – TLC has something for everyone! • Free intro to meditation course • Free monthly teachings by Mingyur Rinpoche • Buddhist studies courses • Ngondro Immersion course • Online retreats and practice opportunities • Guided meditations by Mingyur Rinpoche The mission of the Tergar Meditation Community is to alleviate suffering and promote well-being by making the practice of meditation accessible to the modern world. Tergar Online Learning Community Under the guidance of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche Visit Learning.Tergar.org for more information on our online programs and visit Tergar.org to find Mingyur Rinpoche’s centers and upcoming programs. SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2015 74