Last week I went to a Buddhist monastery to practice Vipassana meditation. Somewhere in Northern Thailand, behind some of the most beautiful mountains lies this beautiful monastery, run by a few monks and some long term volunteers. I heard about this place from my friend Hanneke as she suggest me to go there. This center is a bit milder then the regular Vipassana centers, because people can choose to be in silence or not (you can wear a card that says you are in silence), meditation is around 8 hours a day and looking each other in the eyes is quit common (normally it’s 10 days without speaking, no eye contact, 10 hours meditation a day etc). Because it’s my first time I choose to go here.
Still, I think you can make It as strict and serious as you want it to be.
I went here because the last year meditation and mindfulness is a big part of my daily life. Not only to calm down, but It made me experience there is so much already happening inside me what is so interesting. Instead of looking in the mirror in the morning, I’ll sit on my meditation cushion and look inside: how do I feel, which thoughts keep me busy and most of all, what will I do with that? Which choices can I make to have a great day, to be compassionate with myself and others and stay true to myself?
What I experienced was a twist between being bored the first days and being calm and focused the days after. Every day the same program was something I got used to after a few days, but not eating after 11 am, was a tricky one. What I noticed after the last meal was a feeling of being restless, looking for something to do, to entertain myself with, caus food was usually the only thing that really filled my day, my boredom and on a deeper level, my emptiness.
Surprisingly I didn’t feel really hungry. I thing this was because there was no temptation around. And after a few days I actually even got used to it. I found something useful to do, as I filled my time with sweeping leaves from the grass. The sweeping was something we could choose to do when we had a hour planned for working meditation. It was cool to see people helping each other with making heaps of leaves without speaking and made me realize again, we don’t have to speak as much as we do. I also liked the feeling I got while I was sweeping my neighbors garden and try make it look beautiful (we all stayed in our own little house with a bit of land around it). Somehow this kind of work was for filling to me, It made me feel calm down and happy to help each other.
The whole week was all about going deep. Because there was nothing external distracting me, the only thing I could really deal with, was myself, my thoughts, my feelings, my frustrations, my internal jokes, my desire, I had my hands full!
At the end of the week I was enjoying the structured days, the silence, the contact with myself, which made me built on a deeper internal relationship. Eventually I stayed in silence for 5 days and it didn’t feel as the hardest part.
Back in civilization I went to a small village Pai. I’ve been here before and knew I would like to stay there. But I didn’t realize I have changed in the last years. The first time (about tree years ago) I loved to wander around, eat in the loveliest restaurants, shop a bit of hippie stuff. But after the Vipasana I noticed even more that I was looking for a place nice and quiet, in nature or something.
Together with my friend Willeke we decide to go and meet our friend Jente on a mindfulness farm. We had a lovely time sleeping under the stars, helping the local villagers harvesting peanuts on the field, meeting like minded people from different places over the world, do yoga and meditation, planting vegetables, cook and eat vegan food and sing around the campfire. This kind of life I love so much 🙂
The Vipasana was a good point in my trip to go deep and it helped me to see more clear what I really love to do, what most interest me and which way I would like to continue my trip. But yeah.. as life is always changing, so am I. And people who know me, will agree with that: I’ll go with the always changing flow of life, which brings me to places I never thought I would go. I can’t really say who I am or what I want to become. But for now this flow is conscious living, help building a little bit a better world, where ever I am on this amazing beautiful planet.
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