Sunday, September 17, 2006

social lubrication

Last night, after a great dinner with the fellow Fulbright scholars and researchers at the Russian-Newari restaurant in Naxal, I accompanied five of my colleagues to the palacial Shankar Hotel in Kathmandu for a "Bollywood Party." We were suprised to find that it was basically an expat only party, at least 90% of the people there were white. One of the great things about the restaurant we ate at is the unlimited rakshi, Nepali rice liquor. Since I quit the bottle for this year, I abstained, and realized that the dance party was the first I'd been to stone cold sober since I was in highschool. My friends thought the scene was quite strange, a completely western style party in the heart of Kathmandu, and I could only agree, but I wasn't really thrown off by it as they seemed. Which is also kind of ironic, considering they were the ones well lubricated by the rakshi.

I spent about an hour dancing to various Hindi songs, with about the same rhythmic imagination as your average pop. I was amazed to find that after so much boogying in New Orleans after this year, that my self-consciousness about dancing has much declined, and that I didn't need a few before I could shake my ass; it came naturally.

Phakchok Rinpoche says that calm-abiding meditation on a cushion is easy and unimpressive, he'd like to see real one-pointed concentration while in the danceclubs and bars. I feel like there is a connection between that sentiment and being able to enjoy a danceparty sober, I had a good time, although the temptation to imbibe was there at times. Good dancing takes a certain amount of release of ego fixation (self conscious rattle in the brain, limiting the feet from moving in time), concentration and total relaxation. The less you think about the moves the better.

"Tighten with tightness, then loosen with looseness." Relax into the concentrated state, just be yourself, right?

This week off to Chapagaon. Tomorrow morning I'm driving Ian (the other Buddhist studies fulbright scholar from Rice in Nepal) and myself on the motorcycle to the Fulbright office in town. My first real driving challenge! Should be difficult...

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