Perhaps the most important lesson of Ladakh has to do with happiness. Only after many years of peeling away layers of preconceptions did I begin to see the joy and laughter of the Ladakhis for what it really was: a genuine and unhindered appreciation of life itself. In Ladakh I have known a people who regard peace of mind and joie de vivre as their unquestioned birthright. I have seen that community and a close relationship to the land can enrich human life beyond all comparison with material wealth or technological sophistication.
The world without tears is a heartless world. The soul that sheds no tears is a soul without love. O God, save us from turning into statues of tearlessness! This must be our prayer. Tears are signs of life; they bring life back to the world. Tears well out of the heart of love; they restore to the human community the ability to love. Tears take form in cries and struggles for justice; they revive the soul of our century for a promise and a future. And it is in the people capable of tears that a promise of human community and a future for the world lie.