THE FIRST MONASTERY IN THAILAND
When I went to visit the monks in Thailand, I was going to learn more about the Vipassana technique. I had done some courses under the teaching of Goenka and the Ubakin tradition, but I wanted to see the differences they had with these traditions.
The beginning was quite interesting. I was in a temple in the middle of the jungle, and the meditation sessions were combined between sitting, lying and walking meditations. There were only three during the day, so it is much more relaxed than the previous retreats he had attended.
At some point, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the monks, and asked him if he knew Goenka’s tradition and what he thought about it. His English was quite basic, but he told me that he didn’t like people being so angry during those courses. Over time, I think I’ve understood what he meant, and I think it has to do with being so long locked in oneself, and at the same time in the Vipassana detoxification process, it’s very possible that people focus on negative, and let’s not be able to get out of there. I also believe that the process is necessary and that Goenka, has grounds to justify this since just the observation is the first step to get out of there, but I am also able to see, the point of that monk and how important is to be separated from what’s going on in the mind, being just an observer.
In this monastery, the focus is that the person enters in a state of peace with meditation, and that beyond the detoxification that Goenka speaks, the person can stay present, without giving importance to the thoughts, which in the case of Goenka courses, many times may become very strong and it seems impossible to leave. On the other hand, the fact of including walking meditation and lying down meditation, allows you to continue practicing meditation much more every day and allows the practitioner to meditate at any time of the day.
At first, it was hard for me to understand the concept of consciousness. I made slow, marked movements, since I thought that this way, my meditation would be better, but now I understand that it has to do with being aware of the natural movements of the body, as well as when you start observing the breath, it is about observing the movement as natural as possible, so that over time, you can maintain a much more frequent state of consciousness, transforming your life into a constant state of consciousness, of being present.
Another thing that includes these courses are prayings. For an hour every day, practitioners pray together, under the Buddhist tradition. This has a sense of ego, since many times meditation distances us from God, and sometimes, that generates a state of Ego, which religion dissolves a little, to understand that there is something superior. This understanding is different in each person, so I will not go deeper into it. If you analyze what you are saying you would realize that it’s just about gratitude to the technique to the teachers and to the buddha. It’s also a good way to practice consciousness of the speech while praying. The vibration of the prayings allows you to pay attention more closely.
Although, in my experience, I used part of this time to practice Metta.
As if the monk had known, he made a comment about the love I was projecting. That night, when I was about to fall asleep in the hut that had been assigned to me, I began to feel loud noises of something moving. Initially, I thought they were mice, but after a while, the uncertainty could no longer happen and I had to turn on the light. In doing so, I found 3 tarantulas with the size of my hand. Two on the wall, and one on the floor.
Being in a monastery, obviously, you must maintain a state of peace towards all beings so it was not much what I could do. On the other hand, I was scared to die with them there. I had a mosquito net, and although I tried to meditate, I couldn’t get them out of my mind. I was in Thailand, in the middle of the forest.
The next day, when talking with the monk about this episode, he smiled and told me that it was due to the love I had projected. He was quite limited in his comments. But I think I understand that in a magical way, the place showed me the link between love and fear. They cannot exist without each other, and that in order to truly love, in a pure and honest way, one must understand, accept, and be able to overcome fear. Before this experience, if I had been asked about my greatest fear, I would not have known what to answer. Today I can say that spiders are quite a particular company, who have appeared in my life several times after that as if the universe wanted to reinforce that teaching.