What does someone want to get from attending a silent meditation retreat at a monastery in Northern Thailand? It varies. Some may simply want to find stillness and peace, and others go with the intention to find themselves. Who knows, maybe the dude with a giant man bun made of dreads infront of me wants to levitate back home in a state of enlightenment.
I’m doing this to put myself out of my comfort zone because that’s where change happens. I go to grow. I don’t want to have expectations or a desired outcome. I want to see what the experience will bring me. Granted, if I were to have chosen a desired outcome, I probably would have wanted to leave turning water into wine, so I’d just be setting myself up for disappointment.
The highlight of my first day at the monastery was opening my eyes after a lying down meditation practice, only to realize I had fallen asleep. By that point, everyone else was sitting up, listening attentively to a monk sitting on the stage infront of a giant golden buddah statue. I made eye contact with a woman next to me who was clearly amused by my state of shock. I couldn’t blame her. I was too. Still, I internally judged her for not waking me up.
Now it’s day two. Considering the fact I talk like an auctioneer and eat like an elephant, the whole shutting up and fasting thing is going much better than expected. Almost too good. Maybe I’ll start to go insane tomorrow. That’s what most people had been telling me would happen at some point. That said, every experience is unique, and only time will tell. Highlight of day two was appreciating the beauty during a walking meditation practice.
*3 hours later* I was upgraded to a single dorm suit. Is it too materialistic and un-zen of me for that to be the new highlight of my day?
It’s certainly not getting easier, but I’m up for the challenge. At least I’m not looking like the young man sitting to my left. I haven’t seen someone fidget around so much since I was at the LIB music festival, but they were happy and on drugs.
Breakdown of my unconscious thoughts today goes as followed.
86% unnecessary worry and overthinking (Like I think the fact that I didn’t buy a souvenir in Sweden isn’t going to kill me, but the heart palpitations I get thinking about it during my meditation practice say otherwise)
12% comparing and judging myself (There’s no doubt all this pad thai has been taking a toll though)
2% other (probably food related)
As my time at the Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery comes to an end, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be walking out of here turning water into wine. Instead I’ll be walking away with something even greater. Mindfulness and a deeper sense of self. WAIT ! Before you internally roll your eyes and think “Dis generic ass bitch serious right now? I could have guessed that.” Understand that I’m not spitting those words out to sound like every basic bitch that travels Asia and floods her instagram with her adventures (Yes, I do that too, so no judgement there. @mindartists)
It’s not the awareness like “I’m aware Im eating right now.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to not mindlessly shovel food in your face like the day before you decide to start a diet. The mindfulness I speak of goes deeper.
It’s like getting a free Disney Fastpass to avoid the lines full of ungrateful grimy children and foreigners who have no sense of awareness or boundaries. You pass them instead of resentfully standing behind wondering what happened to your own morals and patience. You detach yourself from what you once identified so closely with, giving you a sense of liberation and peace. There’s certainly more on this topic, so stay tuned for a future blog post. For now, I’m signing out.
Best wishes always,
Your slightly more enlightened friend,