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Himalayas Breathing: Narrow Road to the Inner Region

Editor’s note: Oleg Yuzefpolsky is an artistic filmmaker, music innovator, and producer of media about the Himalayas. Buddhist and environmental values inform his treks and work. He prefers not to use capital letters when referring to himself in the first person. It is a conscious choice and not a typo.


To me, Himalayas are not mountains. Himalayas are mountains where the depth of your feelings and experiences are sometimes much more stunning then the heights of majestic peaks. And so, i walk through it. Camera, pen and a small notebook are my only companions for to realize that you are never alone, all you need to do is to go deep into the nature alone. The source of life, inspiration and beauty is within our reach to the Wild, Uninhibited Nature breathing with Aliveness inside and outside of us.

I never ‘take’ a picture. For me – Nature, deserted ancient shrines, remote Himalayan valleys are as alive as any human being and often a lot more than a human. I just walk and see, and smell, and feel raindrops on my face. Pure Perception – is when you use all your senses to the most and in the process of absorbing every minutest detail, you are the one who gets absorbed to the degree when your chatter-box mind doesn’t give a comment or even a name to the experience. As such, you connect to what is called Intuition – direct knowing that comes from nowhere, from everywhere. This knowing is timeless, yet is always sharply on time and absolutely in-the-moment. This Intuition is the only guide i follow on my path.

I do not ‘take’ pictures. I walk and i love the walk. Sometimes, in those incredible moments of overflowing quiet joy and awe, i’m called and allowed to open my camera by the forces unseen, yet real and obvious. Then i’m given the images. This is what i call ‘Intuitive Filmmaking.’

When i come home, i humbly hope that maybe in my camera there is an image that contains that unexplainable, mystical and pulsating feeling of being alive. This feeling, this state of mind is bottomless and when i open my eyes and look within, all i can see is one sky – undivided and ever-changing. It’s truly amazing how many enlightening insights which later became sacred texts have been bestowed upon seekers by Himalayas in the past. And yet, the only sacred book you must never miss reading is the one that’s getting written on the pages of your heart right now and every instant.  

I don’t know why, but the only word to describe my walks through Himalayas is Blessing.

Sometimes for months and months i walk without opening my camera. I never force it. The place and it’s every particle including people should open and let me in. And only when i stop being an outsider, do i reach for my camera. Later on, after looking through the images, i let them settle in me.

Once in the freezing winter, i happened to stumble upon a remote monastery late at night. Caretaker warmly welcomed me with a cup of hot tea and let me stay over. As we started talking, turned out that the main temple of the monastery was severely damaged during a recent earthquake and monks were figuring out the way to fix incredibly thick stone walls. Caretaker mentioned that they were worried about the wall-paintings and asked me if i could take pictures of them. Next day i photographed for 15 hours as if entering a different world and dimension through every brushstroke and color on the walls left by thangka-painters. More than in camera, those powerful images left their impression in me. Next morning, while saying good-bye to the head-monk i told him that i hoped that reconstruction of the temple wouldn’t hurt the wall-paintings. He looked at me and said: What are you talking about? There is no way around fixing the walls – all paintings will be gone next week…

When we talk – we listen to each other’s words, but actually we hear each other’s energy. Language is a bridge to the wordless expression of flowing energy. Music is the crossing of the bridge.

Music has always been one of my closest companions – it’s my sound friend when i DJ for people, it’s my healer when i disappear into dancing for hours on and certainly it is a driving force for a lot of my writings. Many times listening to a song i start seeing images in my head and often it comes to me as a complete music video. It happens. There is no particular genre of music that can trigger a Vision, it comes as sudden as a lightning in the middle of the night sky. And so in my videos, music becomes the flow, the wind carrying and propelling images to follow each other in a purely intuitive cohesion.

I don’t know why, but the only words that can describe my wishes for you when you see these videos are blessingsempowerment and gratitude for you to be alive every moment.

With my warmest thankfulness to Mr. Raymond Lam and the Buddhistdoor team for letting me into their cyber-temple. May your work ever-grow! 

Oleg Yuzefpolsky & Thousand Lions InHimalayas July 21, 2013 

The view of the Himalayas from Lhasa. From commons.wikimedia.org.
Rock picture of Padmasambhava, north of Thimphu. By Stephen Shephard.
The first Tibetan emperor, Songtsen Gampo, and his wives. From contactmagazine.net.
The Four Holy Pillars. From Oleg Yuzefpolsky.
Gasa Dzong, Bhutan. Oleg Yuzefpolsky.
Padmasambhava’s cave. From Oleg Yuzefpolsky.
A lake in Tibet. From Oleg Yuzefpolsky.
Mahakala charm. From Oleg Yuzefpolsky.
A road from Sikkim to Tibet. From Oleg Yuzefpolsky.

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