“Wipeout those tears.”

Yes, that’s what ‘he’ told me when I met him at his current place of residence after being displaced from Tibet.

When I was in Kolkata on the East Coast of India, I dealt with various dealers from Bhutan, and one of them offered me to meet this great spiritual and political leader (‘him/he’). For a very long time, I didn’t feel that it would be helpful, so I didn’t bother about it. But in 2016, I began to face severe dilemmas and felt the urge to take a break. So that’s how I ended up in a meeting with ‘him.’

For 11 days, I woke up early, meditated under a teacher, reflected on my thoughts, and I had to make a  ‘rangoli’ on the floor of my reflections. A rangoli is a piece of art on the ground with powdered colors. As the rangoli grew incrementally into a ‘mandala,’ the real me began to emerge. For the first time in my life, I could see an authentic ‘me.’ Most readings and discussions have been around authenticity in various academic sessions on leadership, and I completely agree with this thought of “be authentic.” It’s a beautiful person inside of you. Don’t lie even to yourself!

On the last day, when I was done with my art and reflections, they suddenly gave me a broom to wipe it all out. That’s when I cried. I couldn’t stop crying, and they took me to ‘him.’ His words were simple; you’ve met yourself now. Be yourself always, and keep smiling. Be truthful to yourself; only then can you be truthful to others. But that does not mean that you forget to be self-aware of the situation and respond to people and situations accordingly. Life is short, live it like it’s the last day of yourself! Show empathy. 

I revisit those times in my mind during these uncertain times, and the learning helps me to navigate through the challenges posed by the ambiguous external world and internal tribulations.