VISA Run, Crazy Expat

I go through the morning meditationroutine and then leave for my visa trip to Thailand. That’s really the whole reason I even came here anyway, I then decided to extend it into a vacation.

I take the bus and realize how amazingly cheap it is to get around compared to the touristy Tuk Tuks. It’s also really easy to navigate since I walked a lot around this city and also made a boarder trip once before. The whole speaking Lao thing plays to my favor as well. Although it doesn’t help that I can barely hear still, I just have to really watch the persons mouth to try and recognize some of the words and body to get some context. I make it through both Immigrations without even more than a second look.

Back on the Lao side I meet Gordon, and 59 year old American who’s been living in Thailand for as long as I’ve been alive. 
He tells me all kinds of crazy stories of Laos and Thailand in the early days. He even shows me his old passport with a visa into Laos in 1992. Apparently when he first got into Laos, they hadn’t developed their phone system yet, so the numbers were only 4 digits long. Sounds like a real trip back in time. He also tells me crazy stories about how to build a house out of local stuff here. Off the bus I tell him how to get to his hotel and then I get focused on getting back to try and not get too far out of the retreat mind state. He told me if aim in Changmai he would buy me a burger and that was almost enough to through me off track. Mmm burgers…

After a few more buses, I get back to the meditation center at 330. I join the middle of the after noon session and in no time we’re getting up for dinner. 

I eat with Sin Jai and then we walk back to my hut. I try to joke with her, but the lack difficulty in communicating makes it hard for much more than a sentence. So, I resort to more physical humor, but get little reception. I get bored with people, pretty women or not, if they can’t be silly. During the break between good and session, I sit with my neighbor and some of the other people who come around to meet with him.

The evening session is fine. I sit up front with my nice neighbor. Even though there’s not enough room, he insists for people to move to make a spot next to him. Throughout the session I have to keep adjusting my position because we’re mostly just meditating on the floor the whole time. Where as the sessions through out the day are broken up into much smaller segments and it feel like we’re constantly changing. I really want to sit and try to meditate for a few hours, actually I think that’s the only thing that will work for me in the beginning, especially as I’m trying to figure these big hurdles out. However, I can’t do that if my legs start to bark at me after 20 minutes.

I start to feel really down about meditation. It seems like no one has good advice and these methods at this particular place are somewhat helpful to cover up the proposterous idea of sitting on the floor with my legs folded like a pretzel for hours on end. The part that really frustrates me is that I keep hearing the same advice and know what I have to do, but I can’t do it! I’m beginning to think that everyone is just mimicking the same terrible instructions, or maybe This is just one thing I’m just uniquely bad at doing. Even though Im feeling a bit defeated, I have a deep fire inside to figure out this thing. My goal will be to explain meditation in a practical way for everyday people who are fed up with the instructions to “just keep watching your breath”. Yeah that’s a great goal, but how is that also the explanation? It seems like this is actually a way to oversimplify something extremely difficult and complicated and in turn I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns more people away then actually helps. It’s certainly gotten me thinking that I’m just not good enough to do it or it’s not good enough for me. Well, I’m too stubborn to let that stop me. I will figure this thing out and then I will try my best to break it down for regular everyday people. Or at the very least I’ll know why it couldn’t have been broken down anymore and explain that and try to give people motivation to stick with it.

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