Lighten Up Blog
|Posted on 11 November, 2015 at 17:00|
This is an excerpt from my journal in 2004, written in Nepal during the festival of light. I'm posting it today on the day of the birth of Luminous Trails, on Diwali 11.11.2015:
If I'd ever been asked to invent a festival, it would definitely have been a festival of light because, very simply, light transcends all differences, beliefs, religions, science, ages etc... and I've always just had a thing about light, ever since I can remember. However some other genius thought of that a good few centuries before me! And what a great thing that is because it is the best festival in the world (in my humble opinion) and so much fun and I can enjoy it! I was lucky enough to experience Tihar (the Nepalese festival of light, the equivalent of India's Diwali festival) in the beautiful, ancient city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu valley in 2004. Every building there is hundreds of years old and a work of art, and during Tihar the entire place is illuminated at dusk and transformed into a fairytale-like city all awash with light. It looked so magical, there were candles and butter lamps everywhere; along the streets, on every window sill, even floating on the lake. Music filled the streets while children were singing and dancing all around with candles inside lotus flowers. We even managed to find ourselves in the middle of a peace parade. Flickering candles were handed to us as we joined a long line of Nepalis singing 'let there be peace in Nepal and the world'. Not your average night out, but one I'll never forget!
It also makes deeper sense of the lovely Nepalese/ Eastern greeting with palms pressed together: 'Namaste' meaning 'the light in me salutes the light in you.' They carry their spirituality into normal everyday life with such gestures (amongst paying bills, working, getting ill, suffering like anyone else) they are always reminded of their light within, their self luminous Atman or Buddha nature, a spark of the big bang within them, as at the atomic level, everything, from a tree to us or the stars, is made up of the same stuff; of energy or light.
No wonder so many cultures around the globe throughout history, from the Egyptians, Tibetans and Mayans, to the Hopi, Aboriginals, Incas and Aztecs have honoured and worshipped the sun, our planet's physical representation of that light, and in yoga we literally do so through sun salutaions, a way of physically paying homage to the sun, and taking in its light, warmth and life giving energy. I could go on about light endlessly but suffice it to say that I think festivals of light rock, and remind us to honour the light of the sun, moon, stars and cosmos, candles and fire, but also our own internal light, and also to let that light shine fully.
Happy Tihar/ Diwali! (11.11.2015 The official birthday of Luminous Trails!)