If you are uncomfortable in your skin or easily hurt (or made self conscious) by people staring at you, then you might be made aggravated or uneasy as a tall, Black man in Nepal (I’m sure my obvious Americanness played a small part as well…save for the few airport health officials who asked if I was African because apparently only Black South Africans have Ebola). The first Black folk I encounter on my 18th day in Nepal (3 days before leaving) was a group of people from Los Angeles. They mentioned seeing one other Black man, a pilot, in their four weeks there as well. Fortunately, ten years in New Mexico has prepared a brother for that sort of eyeballing abroad. Happens all the time, but it takes less than a fraction of gut to tell whether someone stares out of genuine curiosity or contempt. Sometimes here, “bro” or “brother” might as well be “boy”. An explicit reference to my Blackness (they don’t address their non-black friends and family members like that). and sometimes it is nod to the interrelatedness of all human beings. Like I used to stare at the red tika on the third eye of my hindu brothers … with curiosity, until I went and spent time, and shared hugs, and found out for myself how they celebrate humanity. Again, I’ve never felt safer. There’s nothing dangerous about asking to see someone else’s heart… if they feel you are coming from a genuine place, they will show it to you.
The altitude alone in the Himalayas gives the Sherpa and Tibetan (more Buddhist) people an evolutionary advantage, larger lung capacity … bigger hearts. It gave me the same. The practice of taking DEEP breaths in silence (meditating) and a much, much bigger heart. Thank you, Nepal.
And besides, I prefer to think they were staring at me because of my black (or blue) skin and irresistibility… like Vishnu. A hypnotic, black hole of truth … the preserver of the universe … and all that jazz. ;)
Namaste (The Divine in Me Honors The Divine In You)