I have realized lately, that so much of the beauty I seek relies heavily on sight.
I search for the most gorgeous temples and natural beauties to inspire me to continue my travels.
Instead of seeking out visual beauties this week, I sought to find happiness and inspiration in other ways.
Over the weekend I visited Wat Mahathat to learn firsthand, by Buddhist monks, how to meditate.
Each meditation course takes 3 hours, and is offered free of charge, although donations are always appreciated.
The instructions are given in English, which is crucial for a first-timer, and the room itself is filled with inspirational signs in English as well. 😀
The monk never told me his name, but he had a calm demeanor and perfectly explained the aims of today’s session.
Today we were to practice insight meditation.
Most commonly people practice concentration meditation. They focus on one specific object or problem, hoping to find peace and strength to overcome that particular issue.
focusing on one problem 😛This may solve one problem; however, we know that our lives and our minds are not so simple. Often people who meditate is this manner only find temporary relief.
Insight meditation; however, aims to increase mindfulness. You are trying to become more aware of what you are thinking and feeling in every moment, and not trying to control it.
If you are bored, you will repeat that to yourself to become more aware of it. If you are tired, you will do the same. The same goes for feelings of sadness, anger, and excitement.
I realized that so much of my life, I have been told to push away negative feelings of sadness, anger, or even fatigue. We’re taught that those feelings are signs of weakness, and often when we are crying, we are comforted and told to stop crying or cheer up.
For this reason, I found insight meditation to be a complete shock. A way of approaching life’s troubles from a different perspective. Instead of showing the illusion of happiness to others and even yourself, you are trying to bring these feelings (whatever they may be) to the foreground in hopes of becoming more aware of everything going on inside of you.
With this type of meditation, practiced over long periods of time, many people have been known to find true peace and happiness within. 😀
During the session itself, we alternated between 30 minutes of both sitting and walking meditation.
The monk taught us how to slowly walk, and above all, remain constantly aware of what we are thinking and feeling.I actually found the session to be quite challenging. Trying to sit cross-legged with a straight posture was hard enough. Hah. 😛
Once I got over that hurdle, I found myself unable to escape random thoughts from creeping in. Trivial things like what my plans were after class, and if I would have enough time to go grocery shopping. Haha.
It’s definitely not easy, but I think for those who are very disciplined, and practice regularly, I could see people reaping serious rewards over time. Personally, I found the explanation of mindfulness by the monk to be inspiration in itself, and definitely a worthwhile experience for a newbie to meditation. 😉
Continuing along this path, I sought to find even more peace and joy, from a sense other than sight.
I found a massage parlor in Bangkok that seeks to employ blind massage therapists for their unique skills and abilities.The massage staff helped design the studio as well, which I found to be very crisp and clean, with subdued colors of gray and black, promoting a peaceful and relaxed environment.I entered a dark room with candles lit, and donned a pair of oversized Thai pajamas.I chose to have a Thai massage, which is different from regular massage, since it focuses on relieving pressure points and stretching muscles through a variety of massage techniques.
It was definitely impossible to fall asleep during this type of massage. You are completely involved in the process. Your arms and limbs are thrown around, your body contorted in ridiculous postures, and at times, they are literally putting all their weight into stretching your muscles.
I found the benefits to be outstanding! I carry a large bag each day and walk quite a bit in the big city, so my muscles were pretty tight, but in the end, all of my knots seemed to be worked out. I was one happy camper! 🙂My masseuse, Picci, did a wonderful job. He was obviously skilled, and very kind to work with. I found it to be a great organization. Highly recommended to all!This one hour massage set me back a whopping $9, so don’t be afraid to tip generously. They deserve it. 🙂
Well, that’s all I have for now.
Another mind-opening set of experiences in Bangkok. Hope you all enjoyed.