This Tattoo I Got in Nepal and How I Discovered Art of Meditation
Since I’ve been ranting on Twitter, I might as well write a blog post.
It was hard enough squeezing my words down to 140 characters, then I’d have to spam my follower’s twitter feeds.
I love this tattoo… It changed my life. Changed my mindset. Without experiencing this, I wouldn’t have learned the truth… The truth that I can overcome a painful experience like this. I had to be brave.
I’ve been wanting a tattoo for the longest time. But I’ve been holding it for 4 years at least, I just haven’t found the right moment, the right design and the right artist.
I thought of a lot of things. That silly idea of putting a barcode behind my neck, (no offense to those who have barcode tattoos) but I just thought there was no special meaning to it whatsoever. I thought of getting a sexy cat design because I love cats, and it needs to be a sexy cat because a fat kitty won’t look hot on my skin. Butterfly. It’s cute, but what am I going to do with it? “Wala lang?” Surf board. I love surfing, but I don’t know which part of my body I can put it without looking weird. Also, if I put a surfboard, the design must be big. I can’t take BIG… not yet.
The most stupid (and funny perhaps) suggestion were from my friends. Since they know I love pole so much, they suggested that I get a tattoo of a pole… T__T
One vertical line from my neck, all the way down my spine. POLE. facepalm how silly… but I admit it’s really funny. Then they say put a woman on it… hellz no! It would just look too sleezy.
I’ve been looking for tattoo artists in the Philippines. Manila, Boracay, Bohol etc.
Yes, they’re good. But I didn’t have a design and my heart wasn’t whole.
Then, I had a huge feeling that I am not going to get my first tattoo in the Philippines. I travel a lot, and my inner-being suggested that I explore tattoo places on foreign destinations next time.
Another “location” in this matter is the “where” in my body.
Where am I going to put my tattoo? It was so vague, so I decided to make up my mind when I already have the design. I don’t want my first time to hurt, so I’d want it to be in a place where it hurts less. (yeah right)
The timing is important because this is where my heart beats. I may have a design, or the location, but when my heart doesn’t beat for it… I cannot do it!
Nepal was an enlightening experience for me. It opened my mind, soul and spirit in so many ways. I had to experience a different culture and way of living, to touch my inner-self. Buddhism. Hinduism. The most common religion I’d see around Nepal. If I’m not mistaken, Nepal is 70% in Hindu practice, and then the rest comes Buddhism, Muslim etc.
I can’t put into details, but here’s the gyst.
I completely understood.
That my external surroundings, I have no control of. But I definitely have control over my own being. It’s a change of mindset. Buddha seeked enlightenment. I don’t think I’m close to Nirvana, but this is one big step to self-presence. I was aware, that my mind and the way I perceive myself, and how I react to my surrounding is more powerful than FEAR, pain, uncertainty, stress, heartbreak… etc.
Nepal was really fun, but it was such a difficult emotional experience for me too. One that I cannot put into detail. One I think I couldn’t survive without breaking down emotionally somewhere in the trip.
To my surprise, my crybaby eyes shut down and listened to my spirit for one moment.
I think I’ve matured, grown. I saw clearly the things that mattered and didn’t.
I had friends in Nepal. All of them contributed to my journey. Most especially the Tattoo Artist.
I found a small tattoo and piercing place by the city center in Pokhara, Nepal. It reminded me so much of how I wanted to get a Tattoo. When I saw it – I felt my HEART BEATING.
This was it. I have never felt my heart beat for a Tattoo place like thi. Not anywhere else, but here (Nepal). I got the timing (heartbeat), and the location right but I didn’t have the design yet.
I went inside the tattoo place just to check it out. I didn’t have to decide right then and there (although it would have been spontaneously fun, but with a risk of regret).
The artist’s wife greeted me by the entrance. The artist was quick to notice “Hello,” he said.
He was doing a tattoo job for another ink virgin. He was a guy, he looked perfectly comfortable and excited. Not a trace of pain in his face. “This is a good sign.” I said to myself.
LET’S DO THIS!
I decided in my head, but I haven’t seen his samples yet. I was already convinced. But it wouldn’t hurt to double check. Yep, he was good. His expertise is – in the make-up world we call it – blending. He specializes in tattoos that are realistic. Complicated, full of shades, depth and colors.
I LOVE IT!
I asked for a design book. Some were his own designs. Some more general.
He gave me the “pop” book. Americanized designes, cute unicorns, the sexy kittens I wanted before, a sexy scorpion (my zodiac). Meh… nice, cute sexy, but my heart didn’t beat for them. First impressions of me of course – one naive girl who wants a tattoo because she wants to.
It wasn’t what I was after.
I asked for traditional Nepali designs. A design that has a flavor of Nepal.
Check out the artist’s designs here.
Then I saw Shiva. I don’t know what kind of a Shiva god it was (there are many gods), but I saw the symbol “Om” ॐ somewhere in the design.
“I want this.”
and I decided to put it on my nape. I think it’s the only right place to put ॐ. I think it puts balance to my body. and besides, it would rest on my spine, where my nerves flow. The life of my body, the electric, biological current that influences my state of mind and body, where my body transmits pain and pleasure etc.
This is it. I’m doing it. and I voiced out all my concerns
- is it safe?
- I don’t know how to take care of it
- Could I shower? Enjoy paragliding tomorrow?
- Does it hurt? Can I tolerate the pain?
- The neck. I heard it hurts especially in that area… But I didn’t even ask this question anymore, I didn’t care how painful it would get.
He addressed all of my concerns. He was very nice, chatty. He wanted to get to know me too like I wanted to get to know him. I think he wanted feel my character too, to match if the design I picked fits me.
I don’t know much about it except that I hear it in Yoga class. Something relaxing… Something that makes me feel good.
Then I researched and heard it has so many meanings. But the important one is that “Om” is the shortest mantra. A mantra – sound or group of words that usually helps in meditation and considered capable of creating “transformation.”
I heard people voicing their mantras when I went around the Stupa.
His name is Anands.
Know more about Anands, the Tattoo artist in Nepal in his website: anandstattoo.com
This was the most crucial part. The getting of the tattoo.
There was no turning back. I felt the needle. I think I could make it – for the first 5 seconds that is…
I thought the pain would go away, but after 2 minutes of that initial pain (he just did the outline), I nearly vomitted!
Of course it was painful! I could hear and feel the drill especially when it passes my spine’s bone part.
I stood up, I said I needed a break.
He was concerned.
I was concerned that he is concerned. He just finished an 8-hour tattoo. He was tired. More tired than me, and if he still needed to get my tattoo done. The more I get him tired, the greater risk my tattoo won’t be as best as it should be.
I decided to cooperate.
I coudln’t back-out… I WOULD NOT. I had no intention to.
“OK, let’s do this,” I said.
“Listen to me.” Anands said instructively…
“Inhale deeply, now hold it for 5 seconds… Exhale”
“Take your time in doing this, just keep on repeating it.”
Then I realized what he was doing. He was teaching me how to meditate. And scientifically, this meditating exercise helped bring oxygen to my cells and helped my blood’s circulation.
I did as instructed.
UH-MAZING! for the entire 10 minute of being under the gun, I only took breaks to stretch my back. PAIN TOLERATED! Of course it’s still there, but for such a weakling like me… it felt so bad-ass to go through with it without actually barfing!
MEDITATION… wow. It’s FREEDOM! It freed me from pain… moments after this, I realized I could free my worries, anxieties etc. just meditate.
and before I thought of meditaion as a boring hobby. You sit there doing nothing. inhale, exhale… what do you even think about?
This whole exercise changed my life. It controlled my emotions which I have so many of. That, I needed so much on my life. And lately, I see my self in my friends too. Complains, confusion, a mix of emotions. Been there, done that. I am still on my journey towards enlightenment (I’m not Buddhist, I’m just a weakling trying to rise up). I’m not perfect, not close to being one… and I still get ticked a few times (traffic in Manila, hello). But it helped me mature in so many ways.
I think, meditation is the key to get smokers to quit smoking, for those in grief, to those in rehab… for people with a whole lot of emotional baggage like me.
It’s time to move on. I highly recommended pole dancing because it ended my quarter life crisis. Now if pole dancing isn’t really for you, try meditation.
There are two kinds of problems in life – external and internal. You can’t do anything about the external, you can’t control or manipulate it no matter how hard you try. But if you touch the inner-self, you would also begin to know how to react to your external problems in a way that would benefit you.
Let’s not cloud our minds with negativity and things we cannot change.
Let us move on.
Go beyond our fears, failures, mistakes and devastations.