In some ways, traveling to Tibet is like traveling through time – human time and geologic time. It is a place where we can see our earth being shaped by the forces of plate tectonics – where a collision between continental plates created the Himalayas, a region that includes some of the highest peaks in the world (and still growing!). As a result of the highness and majesty of the Himalayan region, the area is a life-giving and sustaining force – providing one of the largest sources of fresh water for the world as well as the soil (via erosion) to grow food on and to live. The rivers and lakes feel like sacred places in this land because they are a source of life for so many on our earth.
Sometimes it takes extremes like this to see things that should be more obvious in our everyday lives. The extremes of Tibet made me remember what a gift this earth is for all of us. Our whole existence is tied to the gifts our earth provides.
Experiencing the culture and people in Tibet is another journey through time. Especially in the countryside and in the monasteries. In the countryside, I saw images that made me think of paintings by Courbet (The Stonebreakers), Monet (Haystacks), Millet (The Gleaners) and even Van Gogh’s paintings of the countryside in France.
In the monasteries, I felt a sense not only of religious tradition, but a genuine interest and study of philosophy — (borrowing from wikipedia > philosophy as the study of the general and fundamental nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language). It was such a contrast to the everyday life I experience in the Bay Area. Maybe a bit of a romantic view, but my spirit is uplifted knowing that the people in Tibet and these precious traditions and culture are alive in our world.
It was a life changing, short 5-day trip. Feel grateful beyond words for all the people who made this trip happen. I’m still stunned by the experience and not quite sure how to adjust back to life in San Francisco. Still wondering how it will affect me and my art in the long run…but all I know for sure is something has changed in me and I don’t want to lose this feeling.