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Reisverslag Monks. Meditation. Mindful?
1 maart 2014
Monks. Meditation. Mindful?
( This one will be in English so Joan and Birgitte can read it as well.)
I just got back last week from my temple retreat in Chom Tong and my experiences there are worth writing a blog about. I arrived at the temple on Sunday and left the Saturday after that.
My day in the temple started at 4 am and breakfast was at 6 am. I have to admit that I cheated a bit with the sleeping hours, getting up so early turned out to be a challenge. when i did get up i had the tendency to fall asleep during my sitting meditation so I guess the mornings weren't my strongest part of the day. I never missed breakfast though! After breakfast you would have time to practice meditation. lunch was at 11.00. After noon we were not allowed to eat anything solid until the next morning. The rest of the day you would spend doing more meditation and at 10 pm we were allowed to go to bed.
Next to the strict eating and sleeping schedule we also had to follow the eight precepts. Which include no physical contact, no killing other living things (including Mosquitos!), and not talking. Of course we are still in Thailand so some words could be said but you weren't supposed to have a nice chat with everyone you came across.
The hardest thing for me i guess was that there really was nothing else to do than meditating. If I would be done with one session I would just sit and wait until I had to go again. This frustrated me and I felt like I was in prison. On Wednesday is was the worst and I spent most of my day really upset and crying, to hear the next morning from my teacher that this meant I was making progress. Lucky me..
The days after that were better and better. I got more used to the daily routine, my meditation became better and I discovered the strength of kindness and the power of a smile.
When I was doing my last round of meditation on Wednesday, feeling miserable and frustrated, I was surprised by a Thai lady that left powder for hot chocolate next to my meditation mat. Just like she did to all the other meditators in the room. This really touched me, not just because I was looking forward to my hot chocolate but just because she took the trouble to give everyone something small. It made me think about the huge effect of little nice gestures and I decided to do it aswell, . But then in the foreign meditation hall. And it gave me as much pleasure as receiving the chocolatemilk the other day. Which surprised me, but apparently that's how karma works (according to my teacher).
That night there was a Buddhist ceremony that we all attended and it was wonderful. It started with chanting and a speech from an important monk and after that we all got flowers, candles and incents and we walked around a Buddha statue, chanting. After that we had a meditation session with every one.
It was really really cool and I was happy to be a part of it.
That night when we came back in house there was still half an hour left before we were allowed to go to bed. I really couldn't be bothered to do more meditation and told that to my neighbor. Who declared that we would meditate together then. So we both tool our pillow out of the room into the living room and meditated together, which was really nice. Afterwards we gave each other a nice smile and went to bed.
That morning I woke up and found a postcard shoved under my door, written by my neighbor. I didn't know her name an we had hardly spoken more than ten words. She wrote that she would like to meet up for a cup of tea and a chat if I would still be in Thailand. Sadly we will miss each other with a few days but that is not the point.
The point is that, even without talking, we found a way to build some kind of friendship with just a smile. And I love the idea that we can create something worthy with silence. In normal life it's just so easy to start talking that we kind of forget the power of not-talking.
This made me incredibly happy and I left the temple with a warm feeling in my heart.
It has been really hard but I've learned new things and I am proud for ending the week. All in all it has been an amazing experience!
Next on the agenda is Myanmar!
12 maart 2014 07:23 | Door: Thea
Dank je wel dat je deze mooie ervaring met ons deelt. Goede reis in Myanmar!
12 maart 2014 11:01 | Door: Viv
Supergaaf dat je dit gedaan hebt! Liefs x
12 maart 2014 20:07 | Door: Ingeborg
Wauw Iana. Wat een reis. Geniet!
21 maart 2014 21:59 | Door: Oma
Wat een mooi lang verslag! Maar helaas is mijn Engels niet zo goed. Dus ga ik het morgen nog eens op mijn gemak lezen. Dan kan ik ook inhoudelijk reageren
25 maart 2014 23:12 | Door: Xavier