'There was much chaos and uncertainty that I had to hold. Western pilgrims were anxious to get back to Leh as their flights were due, Eastern drivers and volunteers were deeply concerned about their families’ safety in Leh, while the nomads were coming to me in droves with white scarf requesting prayers and divination for the lives of their loved ones in Leh. Rain, thunder and lightening were continuing, the one phone in town had huge queues and the one small TV in a tiny tent kept showing only death and mud and more cloudbursts expected. All roads were blocked and everything was uncertain. It was hard to hold the anxiety, fear and anger but the teachings help to understand that one must skilfully surrender to the bigger picture. Being the spiritual teacher, in order to hold this chaotic energy, I had to be both skilful and wrathful so that things did not go astray and it be beneficial and safe for everyone. It was a great responsibility. There is teaching and blessing in every situation!! This was a spiritual pilgrimage after all.
First the dying people needed help, so we all assembled in the ancient temple and held everyone in prayer and candlelight chanting. It was a deep moment!! At this time my prayers were also extending to the general practitioner doctors who had not arrived in Lake Tsomoriri from Manali (Dr P.D Lal and two other Indian army doctors he was bringing were coming to offer a two day general medicine camp, but they did not arrive at all and we had no way of contacting them). Also I was thinking of Jen Fox, my dear student who was to arrive in Leh the morning of the disaster. So much was unknown and amidst this the candlelight ceremony calmed everyone to some extent and held the stability.
In the next days, we finally travelled in convey of one truck, filled with local nomads, 4 cars and a bike, building roads again and again at 15000feet. My car was bogged badly two times, as were other cars. Together we became a team - about 30 people – many of whom did not know each other’s names. We worked together, driving each other on, moving rocks, clearing mud, sharing water, laughing, gulping maggi soup or dhal and hearing each other’s stories as we huddled together at nights! There was a spirit of care, compassion and community. East and West didn’t matter – now we were beyond that. One night 6 of us slept seated in the car. Every turn the road was blocked and finally at Rumse we discovered that despite our efforts there was absolutely no way through back to Leh- not even by walking – the road that was there before was now only a huge river with mountainous chasms on either side! Slowly, through the worst and most dangerous roads I have ever seen, we made our way back to Manali-our only way out! '
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