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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Butter Lamps

To all of my dear friends and family who might be attempting to keep track of my whereabouts.
Well… I am now in Boudha, a city off of Kathmandu that is also one of the holiest places in Nepal. After a 30 minute bus ride we were deposited in a very fitting place called Dragon Guest House, where we settled for a moment before continuing into the town where the huge Buddhist stupa stands. Walking at moderate pace it would take at least 7 minutes to walk around its walled platform. Honestly, we are so lucky to have the opportunity to experience such a sacred place, because some people have to spend a lifetime saving up just to visit once.
The energy here is powerful, I don’t know how to describe it entirely but its truly affected me in many ways… lots of emotions and time for contemplation. If I must specify one aspect that really impacts me, I would have to say the butter candles. Though you may find this random, they are an extremely significant part of worship in Nepal, and yesterday introduced interesting feelings for me while we each lit two: one for a person and one for a goal. There’s something so powerful about fire. We’re drawn to its light and heat and cant help but stare into its mysterious depths…is it solid, liquid, gas…? Fire, as one of the five main elements that make up this world is the element of change, power, and destruction. Because of this, fire is used symbolically in many rituals for transformation and hopes for change. We lit our candles to respect the life of another (accepting change), and for a goal or future desire (promoting change). This practice is what puts me in awe. Though fire with its heat can be so destructive, we also cannot survive without it. Not only does the sun warm the earth, but the fire inside us that heats our bodies is something we cannot ignore. With every candle that is lit, the platform becomes hotter and its light spreads further. With every act of transformation comes new light and new passion.
What these little candles have bestowed upon me is that change is good. Change is vital and change is necessary. Destruction is inevitable but transformation is the outcome. We mustn’t dwell on the fact that if spilled, these candles may cause harm, but that in the moment they are so simple, beautiful and warm.
I apologize for the philosophical garble that has become this yak, but honestly it’s a pretty good representation of how my mind has been for the past month and a half.
I send you all love, hugs, and a scent of tea on the wind 🙂