A Mindful Retreat – Chiang Rai, Thailand

With my last 3 weeks spent in meditation retreat, I can describe it in one way – at times, I felt like what I could imagine standing in front of a crowd of people while you are naked and with nothing to cover up with.

In other words, you were far less able to avoid the difficult thoughts and emotions experienced. There were times when I felt completely naked, emotionally.

I recall one afternoon in particular. I was feeling so frustrated with things. I was lost in thought and difficult emotion, pondering on thoughts from the past and worrying about things in the future.

I went to isolate myself in a room that I liked. It had nice lounges and a nice big fan. I found it easy to be in there while dealing with my difficulties. I was trying so hard at this point to find a good book to read. I wanted to get lost in a good book so I was able to keep busier. This was an escape mechanism that was put in place out of fear. I didn’t want to confront this discomfort just yet.

I took myself on a walking meditation for 10 minutes. I think that helped. I walked down to the agriculture stuff and closer to the huge tunnel walk way made from tall bamboo that would seperate our land from the next. The forest is something that always calms me. There is something about the darkness of it that I like.

Still, I was in this heat of emotion. I was feeling so many things, from fear to frustration, from sadness to anger.
I went and sat back on the lounge, feeling tired and frustrated. Suddenly, people walk in one by one with their greetings. I totally forgot about the afternoon meditation session that was going on in that room. My first thought was, “this has come to you for some reason. Just stay with it and go with the flow”.

I remember on this particular day, there was a singing meditation session. We had acoustic guitars, Sanskrit singing and just having relaxed fun.

I wasn’t planning on going to this particular session because I was in my own internal struggle. I feel like there is just so much going on in my life, both inside and out and sometimes it can seem so intense. That’s because it is. I see some shit out here.

I remember how emotional I got during this session of singing. There were so many times where I had to stop singing and just close my eyes and meditate on what was going on within me. This intense wave of emotion, tears starting to well up in my eyes.

The experience was made special because, although it involved some level of emotional pain, the level of presence, awareness and objectivity that was applied was so blissful that, whether pleasure or pain, it didn’t matter at this point.