Last August I visited the Monastery for the 4th time.
Every visit had been under very difficult personal situations when I needed solitude, guidance and a royal kick in the bum to realign my priorities and clear my head from all that clutter and nonsense i tend to pile up.
This time it was different, so very different, for you see, I was (am) in a really good place in my life. Business is going well, have a safe roof over my head, good friends; loads of fun plans and projects, great health, excellent physical shape; I was not getting over or excited about anybody; no heartache no pain.
This time around I was an empty vessel, receptive to many and all lessons to be learned... I didn't learn them all but I was damned receptive and it was absolutely wonderful, very humbling, did tons and tons of introspective work and for the first time EVER I managed to meditate. Very, very exciting and peaceful all at in one.
There were many dawning moments, full awareness and ever so present in the moment; while my demons are still there, I have befriended many of them and some others remain to be worked on, but all is very good work.
One of the many realizations I have come to is that I have forever fomented and instigated my singlehood simply because I do like being by myself and I don't want to "sell out" just for the sake of companionship. I don't want to lose my freedom however I would be willing to share it with somebody I consider to extraordinary and at this stage of my life I have embraced the fact that probably that Extraordinary Man wont cross my path (or wont stay if he does cross it) and after all these wise considerations, lo and behold! I have come to the happy conclusion that am fine with it! I still go into a frenzy from time to time, in fact, I am kind of at the end tail of a particularly strong one and waiting to see the results, but at the end of the day, even if it is a NO GO, I know I will be over it and I will resume my happy One Woman Show.
While I accept this noble truth of "oneness", the romantic in me will probably never give up on the idea of love and every now and then my heart is aflutter with the subsequent despair (last somewhat pathetic blogs may illustrate this point rather clearly) however, the realistic intellectual side prevails and while I do not close the door to possibilities I am much more attentive and cautious than I was years ago, when I though I could not "do without".
I can indeed "do without" and quite well, if I may say so myself! so I can only imagine the potential if there was the right mix, but that mix is as elusive as the elixir of eternal youth.
Y vuelve la burra al trigo! back to the same tired subject! EVERY BLOODY TIME!
Monstery, the schedule below..
Not 1 single moment of comfort, NOT ONE.
Stone bed, wooden pillow, chose to have 1 meal a day as I knew it would be coming on day 8... skipped tea as well... AND chores too! that was pretty bad of me, but I need the rebel in me to have a voice.
Chairs in the dinning hall are hellish, savage mosquitoes closely related to bats; spiders, bugs, scorpions, snakes, frogs, salamanders all found outside and inside the room, which had no chair, table or superfluous articles.
Communal cleansing wrapped in a sarong, washing with one hand, pouring coldish water with a little basin; the Thai sun and heat and rain. The physical pain in all joints was forever present, but that is my age, not the monastery.
There are many a lesson in patience, acceptance, humbleness.
Needless to say there are no mirrors, it was quite strange to see my face at the airport after 12 days. It is not necessarily that I forgot what I looked like, but the old, at ease and at peace, tired and content woman looking back at me seemed... vaguely familiar, but did not feel like it was me.
The best part? The Silence
No talking, not hearing anybody talk, just the teachings and my thoughts.
I love Silence.
|(With some modifications on Day 9 and Day 10)|
|04.00 ***||Wake up *** = Monastery bell|
|05.15||Yoga / Exercise - Mindfulness in motion|
|07.00 ***||Dhamma talk & Sitting meditation|
|08.00||Breakfast & Chores|
|10.00 ***||Dhamma talk|
|11.00||Walking or standing meditation|
|11.45 ***||Sitting meditation|
|12.30||Lunch & chores|
|14.30 ***||Meditation instruction & Sitting meditation|
|15.30||Walking or standing meditation|
|16.15 ***||Sitting meditation|
|17.00 ***||Chanting & Loving Kindness meditation|
|18.00||Tea & hot springs|
|19.30 ***||Sitting meditation|
|20.00||Group walking meditation|
|20.30 ***||Sitting meditation|
(the gates will be closed at 21.15)
|21.30 ***||LIGHTS OUT|