Dies ist der FriedensPilger-Blog
This is the peace pilgrimage blog

The Big Hug

Last bus ride (40h) to come back, after walking the gap, and arriving at Nepal/Indian border, Sonali, where I start walking tomorrow towards the Buddha places in Northern India.
Love flows through my body coming closer and arriving in Sonali, being connected with the Peace-Walk-way. (Until here 20.650km are walked) Universe arranged everything, to come quick back to continue walk step by step.
To say it short: Being on the actually way, walking, feels sooooo right. Being not on the way (for example having a few days break in Rishikesh) feels so weird.
The outside conditions are chaotic, but inside it feels so right to do.
Let’s start the walk to the Buddha places – it’s a circle – as a big hug to the area. It will be a ~1200km hug.

Dehradun to Haridwar

Dear friends,

The Vipassana retreat helped me to come to another level. But starting walk from there I felt just so exhausted. It feels that the barefoot walking also empowers the transformation process inside me. It feels that the process itself needs always a specific time. So, if there is to work through so much to the same time, it comes somehow to a transformation ‚jam‘.

On the way to Haridwar I meet incredible people. Also I found, with some exeptions, smaller ways I could walk. In one day, where I already thought, the big road is coming now, I just relaxed at a river side. Enjoying the view, nature and calmness, the bright sun and the fresh air. Effortlessly the neighbours invited me, started cooking and we had without much talking a wonderful time together. Greatness always appears. I can’t mention all the other beautiful meetings, but it seems, that I can again eat Indian meals, and I like it. Highlight is always to have brown or red rice, the natural one.

Somehow, still exhausted, I maid it to Haridwar, clompeted finally the gap. Now all the way is walked until Lumbini in Nepal (and a bit further over the Indian border, where I continue walk towards the ‚Buddha‘ places).

I thought is was a good idea to have a rest time in Rishikesh, so I took the bus to the 30km away town. But my final place where I have been several times is somehow a big mess now. Heavy mashine work on the promenade to make it nicer. The neighbors property, a ashram, has to give 2,5m of there building (illegal constraction) back to the city, so a slegehamner is busy all the time. And everywhere I walk it feels to me, soooo busy…. including beggers, tuc tuc drivers, traders with there approaches …. Sometimes I even can’t feel the beautiful Ganga, I only can see, because of loudspeakers, insences, rituals, workplaces……. In these days nature seems not present in Rishikesh – only disturbance…. even the nature is sooo close.

The day after tomorrow I leave towards Sunali at the Indian /Nepali border. Trains are not easy to book these days  (some are cancelled) because of some construction work going on. After trying some days it will be now the night bus to Lucknow, another day bus towards the border. So 24h on the bus. To my first walj destination,  Kushinagar I found a calmer way.

I asked people to join me at the flat areas to the Buddha places, but no responce. So I take it as a universal message and take my fate in my hands, heart and feet. I try to do my best!!!!

I love you all

Thomas

Reaching Mussouri

Leaving the holy river Yamona I have to walk uphill again. Nearly no shortcuts, which I speculated on,  the mountain just to steep. Mussouri lays on the top of the mountain and not in a highland as I thought and really high up, at about 2000m. As I arrive there,  clouds and fog limit the view. It’s also a sign for the beginning autumn/winter. Traffic jams remind me of Dharamshala and Shimla. It would be really good for this cities to have cable cars. But even though for lots of ways through the Himalayas.  Even cable cars for good transportations in containers could be a solution. It’s an intersting thought to think of a net of cable cars in whole of Himalayas, cable cars with a bigger capacity, like busses. India should have a fabric for cable cars to invent this system.

Walking through the steep mountain area I imagine having flower seeds spread everywhere. Flowers to install a lot of bee hives,  who collect honey from all over. This could help the people to earn good money. Honey in India is nearly everywhere added with some kind of sugar syrup. Real honey is a need to have, also for a lot of health reasons. 

Coming down from Mussouri I found a wonderful lonely hiking trail. The way was so lonely, that I doubted for a few times, if I am really on the right path. Only problem where a lot of loose stones on the way. But I enjoyed walking all the way barefoot, it took a long while, the stones slowed me very much down. But I just wanted it.

Tomorrow I have to walk another 13km to the Dehradun Vipassana center. I have not signed up the 10 day course, hope to find a free spot, because often not everyone signing in comes to the course.

Best greetings to all of you

Thomas

Purola looking back

5 days after leaving Purola 2 guys just now stop beside me. They have seen my posts of the clean-up at the river side in Purola. They stopped to thank me.

Anyway they liked it a lot and promise to start or join a local Clean-up group.

Let them be blessed to have lots of guts and heart power to do so. 

These days

Little before Naugaon I meet Aman. He invites me to his house. Aman is just 17 and convinced easily his mother Sapna, 35. The whole family is so nice, welcoming and support each other. Little after my arrival I get invited to stay up to five days. Even though Sapna is leaving the house for Diwali to see her relatives, I am welcome. I agree to stay for one more day.
Aman has prepared everything for a day journey on his scooter. After 1 1/2h drive we reach a spectacular view out in the nowhere on a 2.000+ meter pass. Really enjoyable. Himalayan nature all around incl snow peaks.
Amans dream is to travel the world and has done a lot of research to make it happen. He learned a lot about the regions, he want to go, through all kinds of YouTube videos. Also his english is quite good ‚I learned it by watching english movies‘
I was his first westerner to host and I was really impressed, how he managed the challenge. All the best for you and you are always welcome, when I am back in Germany.

With a full bag of food I leave the house. I am still in the Himalayas, maybe at around 1000 elevation meters, when I realize, some km before Damta, traffic is still little…. but I react by sneezing somehow allergic to the traffic smell. Damta is also not a big place, the town (village) feels dust and whatever polluted? I don’t understand. … my feet are also much more dirty and my yellow trouses got so dark today…. The street does not go much up or down but it seems dust from the brakes of trucks and busses are in the air…. It’s still 50 km in air line to the bigger places….

This is, which I have most respect to. The upcoming dust, smoke, pollution. How to dive through this? All the pollution has such an impact on the people – including me. How to keep the bubble around me clean? How to bring steppps of peace into ‚this’…… (that’s the reason, I asked for help – walking help – until now no-one did sign up for this period – it’s between January and March 2020 plusminus)

And one thing more:
I am really looking forward to finish and complete the steppps peace walk in spring 2021 – but until then I want to enjoy every day and every moment

3rd day of cleaning

At the 3rd day I have the feeling people avoiding me.
I have a rest in the nature to feel clearer.
After that I decide to leave the day after.
The chairman is not to speak …. (because of the election ….?)
I clean up everything at the riverside, as planed. It looks good. This could be a starting point for the river clean up in both directions… just a dream?…. ?
One big bag I could not move over the big fence, even with one helper. The hotel worker promised, not to bring it back to the burning place…. I very much hope so…

At the last evening I get a nice present and letter from the neighbor kids, done with so much love…. with the wish to meet again in five years ……

Purola

Just before Purola I have to walk close to a ugly dump, and it’s burning. Cows are looking in the rubbish and smoke for something to eat. Surreal.

Coming to Purola I see some benches, surprise. That’s somehow rare. The town started to collect the rubbish? So the town is somehow clean, also not so dusty. People maid feel the difference. But the dump problem is not really solved, but it’s a little start towards the right direction. It need a real waste incineration plant.

I tried to find someone, who can tell me about Uma, is she in the area or not. Only after I decided to take a hotel for 300 Rupies suddenly information flows. Gangaram, the assistant of Uma, knocks at my door, Uma is for another 10 days in Delhi. He shows me on his phone videos of her and her garden. Just beautiful. A real nice open heartful moment with him.

Next morning I somehow feel not to move on. My body or what… I don’t know, does not want.

The nature around is so beautiful. My room is towards the river. There is even a terrasse towards the river, but only rubbish bin there. No consciousness towards having a rest there, maybe 2 chairs and a little table?….

Looking down towards the river, people still burn there rubbish and use the river side as dump area. The river takes it all….

I went to the hotel owner to tell him. I need some bags, I want to clean up the area. This is now happening already 2 days. I report on Facebook: ‚Thomas Heinrich Schmöckel‘ about it.

Within hours at the first day I have 1 TV station coming for interview, a newspaper, lots of neighbors get so interested. Everyone likes what I am doing, but they are kind of in a mind shock.

One guy, later another one says to me: no-one ever has done this in our town.

A 10 year old boy says worried: but if you are going again in a week or so, they will again start throwing things in the river and burn rubbish.

Second day in the morning a hotel worker want to come and burn rubbish. ‚No, not anymore at the river side, the rubbish has to go to the rubbish collector car, which comes every day‘  (I would love to plant 2 or 3 trees, exactly at the spots where the burning places have been…. don’t know if I have enough money for that)

I have to speak to the chairman of this town. We have to find a solution, to bring the recyclable trash towards Dehradun to the recycle companies. Until now there is no transport system for it. I am also happy to help some people to find a clean-up group.

Let’s see what happens the next days.

So good to walk on Mother Earth

Walking to Purola from Mori its so fun taking short cuts. One of them is a long one, where I lost the path after a while. I orientate myself on the sun. The mountain area becomes very steep. So I have to climp through the jungle in the hope that I don’t have to go down the same way. The soil is a bit wet from the rain 2 days before, so superperfect for being barefoot. Through sweating and enjoying climing the feeling is so strong, that we are just make for this kind of walking, directly with our feet palms connected to nature. Also a saying of Thay,  Thich Nhat Hanh, is very present:

Is a wonder to walk on water, but the real miracle is to walk on Mother Earth.

My barefoot walking is first time so strong, that I kind of ‚fly‘ the way – and I managed even a new barefoot ‚record‘ for myself. Around 25 km in a day from Mori to Sulani.

Coming over the last real pass internet connectivity is there again. Also a message from Annelie arrived regarding Uma Shankarananda Giri. Let’s see if she is in her hermitage.

Thoughts

Feet
I did 11 days without shoes, walking barefoot. For the beginning a good result. In fact, sure, I walk less km than with sandals. I will give myself more time … if it needs.
Every morning after waking up my feet is in a kind of cramp. Not a physical cramp but somehow a energetically cramp, which has an impact on the body level. Walking feels a bit painful the first steps, then it gradually gets better every minute.

Further on, my feet seems to have fungus, at least it’s visable, that there is some sort of skin problem. I have to see how people judge me or at least I feel judged. … In my opinion, a part of this is not illness anymore… its something, what comes out from inside, a old something, let’s call it karmic or so…. a fire from within, what’s has to express through the skin and then vanishes . But I must say, it’s sometimes on the edge, that I myself believe it, but knowing better to the same time ….. but there is no other way to do so.

Walking barefoot shows myself and other how wunerable we humans are….. and makes myself even softer?…. with myself, with others….?!

Rubbish
Swami Abhishek told me today, where to put the rubbish. Towards the river side. In fact there is no water flowing there, but it feels weird to do so. ‚The plastic we burn from time to time‘. I said ‚ but the plastic gets blown away, then it comes into the river, then into the ocean…. animals eat it….‘ Finally we talked a bit about trash. ‚There is no help from the government‘.
So it seems the whole India cleaning campaign is organized by the 28 states inside India. So in Himachal Pradesh the government is a bit more developed than in Uttarpradesh? Or does it has to do with city and countryside development?

Honestly. What would you do, if you would not know better? Would you store all the plastic? I guess not. But the good thing, help is ‚proparbly‘ on the way. Also on the country side. Awareness is already in the people’s mind, but they feel helpless without help from the government. ….

Skywater
Today evening it rained. Abhishek says ’skywater‘

Survival mode
Sleeping under dirty stinky dusty conditions activated my survival mode. After the night my nose keeps running and .y eyes are weeping in order to clean up.

Mori and Swami Abhishik

All day long I walk with flipflops. The nature is soooo beautiful. The river is clearly coming with its turquoise colour from the glaciers. Along the river beaches white and glittery sand and big stones, washed in the monsoon,  when the water level is so much higher. Green vegetation of all kind the mountains up. Tiny little villages every some 5 to 7 km. Just paradise.
And again. Coming from this paradise into a village like Mori. It’s just shocking again. In this village I can feel hardly a glimse of paradise. Nearly not imagable, that it is so close. It’s just surprising again and again. Just the second day staying here, I saw one restaurant, cafe by chance, which offers a tiny cute terrasse to the river side.
Again I end up in a temple, build by Swami Abhishek Giri. He is just 27 years old, rasta hair down to his knees with a superbig smile in his face to recieve me. He is a man with space inside, that I can feel. He has another guest, a man from the Uttarkhand government, helping with the local elections, happening these days. I look around. Swamis bed stand by a big fire place, where he does the rituals in the morning. In one corner I see a very grey mat, rolled together. Will that be my bed foundation? Again a dirty bed? Yes, it comes like that. My mat. On top I get another blanket, also smelling. On top of that a non smelling thin but warm blanket. And a bigger blanket to cover myself, again not smelling. I refuse to eat at night. Instead I feel comfy to just meditate at 8pm, sleep at 9pm. Television is running loud, Swami smokes Bidis and whatever…. I have ear plugs and a shawl to cover my eyes.
I sleep good, meditate early, and then, still during meditation he starts the Agni fire ritual. The whole room is in smoke. Eyes and nose is running and it takes hours, until they stop again.
Laundry – I do, but does it make sence to wash here? The next smoke attack will ruin all the washing effort. I pack the freshly washed clothes in a bag deep down in my backpack.
Swami Abhishek did build all the temple since he came here, when he was 20. His hair grows since then. The temple lays directly at the river side. Can’t be fit in better.
I flee from the smoke to one of the beaches which I saw the day before. Two times I fall to sleep. Relaxing time.
At the evening I decide, to leave the room before the next fire ritual in the early morning to continue my way. Whatever time that may be.

But it comes different. The fire ritual is very small this day. And the idea arises to write the blog. I stay.
During my writing he always interrupts me and tries a conversation, which turned out very interesting. Despite some communication proplems I understand, that he is able to stop all the work of his sences incl his breath and pulse, as discriped by the wise, which is the state of Nirvana to which all the yogis and seekers are aiming to. A state, where mind and body stops working. This state is a enlightment sign. Some years ago some doctors examined him while doing his praxis and proved it surprisingly right, checking pulse and breath which stopped for 5 or so minutes. Then after everything started to work again. Also in Vipassana the Buddha has discriped Nirvana as such, where all sences stop to work as the evidence of reaching the state of Nirvana.

I continue writing the blog. A afternoon break to catch some sun warms brings me an invitation to his home village more up in the mountains, just 7 km away from here. A friend of him will cook for lunch. I except.

Walking with Swami through Mori before heading of to his home village people pay respect to him. Lots of stops in different shops, an invitation for chai here and there… Lots of conversation. Car ride which follows has a lot of stops, too. The village lays further up in the mountains – and sure, a stop at the temple is on the way. Lunch is just so delicious. Potatoes with butter, vegetables and brown rice. The people here grow only brown rice and I learn, that it’s actually a extra sort.

On the way back we walk all way downwards through the forest. Earlier this day I saw a sign ‚Clean India‘. Because Abhishek said earlier, there is no help in this area from the government, I just wanted to check in there to connect him with a maybe clean up group. Finally we ended up in a official office and we discussed the issue. Seems, that people in Mori are not so much interested to improve there situation. An public toilet can’t be build because of not finding the right property. But there is a group further up in the valley, which collects already trash and the officials are on the way to buy a vehicle to transport trash and recyclable material towards recycle fabrics…. let’s hope… anyway, there is only one solution… to go for it!!!

Since 3 days no internet, so also from Annelie no further information where Uma is to find.