After leaving Bangkok, I headed to Vang Vieng, Laos. A town whose economy is driven by backpackers. Among the most popular activitiy is to take an inter tube down the nearby river and stop off at local bars. It was good fun but my “water proof” bag leaked and now my phone, and camera, don’t work :(. So until I can get a replacement, I won’t be able to post pictures.
My first impression of Vang Vieng was of disappointment. The rock climbing I was hoping to do here was more expensive than what I paid to climb in the states and the cost and feel of my hostel was more than I wanted to pay. I eventually found a new cozier hostel with a better price and lovely people to connect with.
Actually, this visit proved to be a profound experience.
There is a meditation hall/ monastery down the road I would go and sit at daily.
I found myself at the brink of sanity. The intensity of samsara hit me like a hellish sun. I was sobbing, sweating, completely drenched, hot, alone in the meditation hall, with minimal ventilation, and with many golden Buddhas before me, desperately struggling to keep my seat, praying for my life for help.
My mind was being pulled away from my seat by discomfort and strong waves of sleepiness. I wanted to be anywhere other than present, but I was sure the only other option was a reality much more painful than what was present and one that would persist for at least another kalpa. I was determined to sit or pass out involuntarily.
I was envisioning various wonderful people in my life as the buddhas in front of me. How they guided me and were examples in disguise, now all in the room with me, telling me in a powerfully stern silence “wake up, humble yourself, and find joy in every moment”.
Eventually I fell asleep and woke up as the sun was setting. It was one of the most grateful and humbling moments of my life. I walked outside, thankful to be alive, my body struck by a gentle trauma.
No doubt the issue of living life with a sense of urgency in regards to what I am here to do has been roused. As far as how that will manifest, I can not say for certain at the moment, but I feel like I must gather the tools I will need to be of assistance in my future, here.
My next stop is Chang Mai, Thailand. I am hoping to get trained in Thai massage.