Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

Mcleodganj is the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exile community in India. I stayed here for about a week, and throughout that time, I felt the happiest I’ve been during my stay in India. The climate was refreshing and cool, a welcome change of pace from the 100+ °F days here in the desert of Delhi. I came up to take an Iyengar Yoga course, which I really enjoyed.

I had the opportunity to talk with staffers at the Tibetan Welfare Office, which is part of the official government in exile. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the passion that these people had for their cause and their jobs. It was a very interesting time to be in Mcleodganj because of the issues surrounding the Olympic torch. Every Tibetan was carefully following the events as they unfolded; there were varying opinions as to how good this was for their cause. Overall, I found the Tibetan community to be fascinating. Despite the suffering that these people have born and the oppression they face, I think they maintain a sense of deep happiness. I think this happiness originates from two places. One, there is a natural sense of ease that comes with Tibetan Buddhism. Two, and maybe more importantly, they seem to find joy simply by living and existing. It reminded of my time in the Middle East. Both Israelis and Palestinians are living through a perpetual conflict and, at some points, an out and out war. Still, for different reasons, each one of those parties enjoys a deep sense of meaning in their lives.

Without getting into the politics of the situation in Tibet, I see the same sense of meaning and purpose of those on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

I know that I’ll look back on the time I had in Mcleodganj fondly, particularly because I felt very at home with the Tibetans and made several new friends.