Last month, I decided to have a break from my work and exhaustive breathwork trainings to travel to Ladakh in the Indian Himalayan mountain range, also known as the Little Tibet of India, bordered by Tibet’s autonomous region.
This trip took me very far away from civilization and society. I did several treks in extremely remote areas where no phone or internet signals reach, located at very high altitudes with passes of over 17800 feet (5400 meters), where each breath counts, where life takes another meaning and is more about survival and fulfilling basics needs and having to deal with the unpredictable natural elements of the high mountains.
There, it is about eating, sleeping and walking. These treks immersed me in the wildlife world, far from daily comforts and preoccupations and the mind’s stories and ultimately back in my basic human nature and essence which we often forget when living in a society overwhelmed by the constant input of media and entertainment, disconnected from nature, from our body, from the present and from our grounded and unshakable essential being.
In the past, I used to do a lot of intensive meditation retreats. In many ways, this Ladakh trip impacted me the same way these meditation retreats did, but even more deeply in terms of inner experiences, insights and knowing who I am. These treks allowed me to touch the depth of my being, what I am beyond my mind, what I am before everything, my essence.
During this trip, I touched the core of my humanity, the roots of my biology and my heart of being. I was also back in nature, again part of it, no longer a separate being, but totally one with it, being the wind, the trees, the energy of life and being fully supported and regulated by it.
On this journey, I was very intimate with my breath and my body’s movements, being present in each footstep with no thinking about the result or the destination to be reached. But instead, just being in the moment, no mind, seeing my body and everything appearing inside and outside as just spontaneous movements. Feeling my breath feed all my cells with oxygen and energy and seeing around the infinite raw vastness of the mineral and lunar-like landscape of Ladakh.
This kind of environment can raise some inner discomfort because of its vast emptiness and nothingness, its dryness and majestic peaks exposing us to our most intimate and direct naked awareness of all that we are. No place to hide, everything is open and brought to the surface. Subtle, avoided or repressed feelings can no longer be ignored and have to be simply seen with no one judging in order to be able to walk through them. Each tension, even the most subtle tension of our mind creates a friction in our movement, a resistance in each footstep. Seeing, being reconciled with what is revealed, thanks to our simple presence and breathing, is the only thing we can do when the body has to be strongly mobilized for intense physical activity. This unleashes our full potential, our full energy and gives us access to a shift where the mind vanishes, the person is gone, and there is only walking. We are then just being walked, without doing anything. Then, once our person disappears and our mind is no longer creating a division between ourself and all that is appearing, there is no longer someone, with will, walking and doing effort. There is no longer a walker, a thinker, an observer, there is only walking being totally part of the living energy of the elements, the wind, the sun, the rain etc., being connected with source, being life.
Being back to source, with no mind in between, there is just the breath and the movements of the body happening. The mind stops and all its display and content are seen as insubstantial and irrelevant. With no mind in between, it is like I am grounded fully into the powerful silence and peace of my being, into my breath and my entire body. No more mind between silence and me, body and me, life and me.
Being grounded in my core, there is no more voice commenting, no more questions, things are just as they are, Period. In this space, the whole world collapses into peace. Nothing is questioned, things appear and disappear simply without leaving a trace. Nothing is really serious, solid, true, even the deepest spiritual concepts. Everything is just a movement, a wave. There is nothing to hold on to. Nothing. And everything, the full manifestation of life is happening in each moment, a buzz of life in the unending coming and going of everything. Everything is already here in what is here and now. Everything else, everything, is the mind, a comment, a movement.
Everything is movement, produced by itself and finishing by itself, spontaneously appearing and self-liberated. This is life. This also means that good and bad, suffering and joy, contraction and expansion are just movements of life. All the polarities put by the mind are in fact fine. There is nothing wrong, even with contraction. And by being present, seeing and breathing, there is more fluidity in the movement. It is all just a dance. A dance manifesting spontaneously.
Seeing this constant appearance and dissolution, there is only action. All of the commenting and analysis of the mind fades. There is only the action happening in each moment, the footstep, the breath of the moment. This is only what actually is. The thought of I disappears in what is happening—a footstep, a breath—when we are simply walking and breathing. There is no more thought of an I/me moving, but only the movement of each step and each breath.
Living this unending natural unfolding, it is clear that nothing has to be done, achieved, changed. All is manifesting by itself and is unfolding as is it. I don’t have anything to do with any of this, and at the same time, I am each movement, each unfolding fully with no mind in between – I am that, directly, not separate. Only the mind activity, the concepts and fears give the illusion of separation. But in my simple presence, while being walking and breathing, no separation can be found, everything is only a constant unfolding, appearing and disappearing like each step, each breath, making space for the next one, leaving no trace behind.