Emerging, Zanskar, 1988. Courtesy of Richard Gere.
Emerging, Zanskar, 1988. Courtesy of Richard Gere.

Tricycle: You just finished a two-week retreat. What practice did you actually do?

Gere: It was a Tibetan deity yoga practice, mostly mantra and visualizations. It’s quite an intricate practice. Certainly at this point, I don’t know how to do it perfectly, and probably won’t for many years. It’s like playing the piano: you have to keep doing it and keep doing it.

Tricycle: Did you devote most of the day to practice sessions?

Gere: Yes. When my teacher was laying out the parameters for me, he said it would probably take me about three weeks to do it. But unfortunately I had some other commitments and had to get this done in two weeks. So I was practicing about 10-12 hours a day. I was pushing pretty hard. There was one really bad long day where I just was totally haywire—what the Tibetans call the “winds” had gone nuts. I didn’t know where I was. I was lost, didn’t know what to do. And unfortunately my teacher was in India at the time.

Tricycle: There was no one to talk to?

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