Kathmandu:

It is my great privilege to be amongst the amazing people of Nepal. I say ‘amazing’ because these are truly a civilised people, like none other I have ever met.

I have been here one day, so my impressions are fresh and not distorted by the veil of my own daily struggles. So, please allow me to recount that ‘deeper reality’.

The first sign that something was highly unusual about the Nepali culture was the forms given to me on the plane to fill out for a visa. The instructions read something like this: ‘Please kindly fill out...” Thus, the most bureaucratic of functions, a process that is typically extremely cold and robotic, was filled with humanity.

It did not say ‘Fill out...’, it said ‘Please’. Then it also referred to ‘kindly’. These might, on the surface, appear to be trivial observations. But they are not. They are a very important clue as to the nature of the Nepali mentality.

Furthermore, when asked to not smoke, the signs did not say ‘No smoking’ or ‘Smoking prohibited’, but rather ‘We respectfully request you not smoke on these premises’.

Words are extremely important. They convey the reality of the speaker. And these words were a sign of a much greater thought, one which respects the dignity of each being.

I use the word ‘being’ and not ‘human’ because the respect I have witnessed extends to humans plus others. I see the people in harmony with the monkeys and dogs and cows on the sidewalks and roads and in the bushes and in the debris.

How amazed I am by the wonderful temperament amongst the drivers on highly congested roads in Kathmandu. The harmony of those on foot and those on bikes and motorcycles and those in cars and trucks, each weaving in and out with one another. No one expressing anger or frustration with the others, because of being cut-off, delayed, or endangered. No one takes it personally. That is amazing when you consider the world-wide epidemic of road rage.

On the side of the road are people sitting outside by their shops, talking, smoking, smiling, laughing or playing chess, even amidst great poverty.

Now, please allow me to comment on the men. There is no sign of aggression, violence, or machoism. There is no sign they are just waiting for the opportunity to take out their frustrations at the first possibility of someone who offends them. No! They are peaceful. Some holding hands in friendship, unselfconscious of their affection.

And there are many beautiful women. They are humble in their beauty, which serves to even further magnify their femininity.

When looking into the eyes of the people there is often a true ‘seeing’. When two people meet, there is a bowing of the heads, a coming together of the hands in a prayerful fashion, and each says, “Namaste” (I recognise the light within you). Whenever this greeting is given, it usually elicits a sincere glowing smile.

Truly, the people of Nepal are the descendants of the Buddha.

The temple

With wings reaching far into the ancient wind

do majestic sky-birds glide in the Fragrance

of the Temple in Kathmandu.

Way beyond the valley of the homes deep below,

upon the mountain where the monkeys dwell

is the rhythm of compassion

in the brick and the beggar

where the monk and the child

danced and fell.

In the tradition of the holy style

with dogs lying in the sun and merchants selling wares

stand statues and steeples and carvings on walls

as reminders of the Buddha

of the sacred, Inner Smile.

Scorched by the self of fire

with wings spread into the ancient wind

we do transcend

— even for a moment

— the eternal pull of earth and desire.

(Dr Nerenberg is an internationally renowned psychologist, inventor, writer and power lifter. He has developed a Power-Meditation-System called ‘Dr Nerenberg’s Mind-Body-Workout-System’)