Doi Suthep- Part XIII: More Determination
Trip Start Dec 29, 2007
33Trip End Mar 10, 2008
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7:00 a.m. - Determination begins with opening ceremony and instructions. Let's do this thing, baby!
7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Good, solid meditation. Some sessions good, some mediocre.
7:14 p.m. - I leave my room for the first time and get a cup of hot cocoa. Yum
11:23 p.m. - I notice that during my walking meditation, I always end up veering toward the right. Note to self: get a front-end alignment when I get back to Baltimore.
2:11 a.m. - I realize that it's my 39th birthday and I'm doing walking meditation in front of a Buddha image on top of a mountain at a wat in Northern Thailand. It's two in the morning, I'm hungry, tired, and in a lot of pain. This is either really cool or really stupid.
3:03 a.m. - I notice that my new "floating" technique comes in handy during Determination, since I don't have a lot of energy to move my legs. Sweet!
4:00 a.m. - Doing walking meditation in the garden, I hear a monk's alarm clock go off. He hits the snooze button three times. How funny is that?
4:17 a.m. - I'm going back to my room now. It's still dark and all the sticks lying around are starting to look like snakes to me.
6:30 a.m. - Just had my meeting with Teacher. Today's exercise is "Arising and Ceasing," designed to bring about extreme relaxation
7:11 a.m. - Feeling good now that I've had breakfast and the sun is up. Determined to have a good day today.
10:23 a.m. - My back is killing me. I realize that it's because I walk slightly hunched forward. Silently, I curse my parents for not treating my childhood scoliosis.
11:20 a.m. - I had pineapple with my lunch. In an inspired flash of brilliance, I construct a birthday shrine out of a Buddha candle and a discarded toilet paper roll. I sing to myself in my head and make a birthday wish - to have more lovingkindness and compassion for myself and all sentient beings.
9:36 p.m. - I realize that floating doesn't work well when I'm really tired, because my legs move without telling the rest of my body. I've almost fallen over three times already. Note to self: stop doing walking meditation near the edge of the mountain.
11:44 p.m. - I feel my powers growing stronger every day. Foolish monks....they do not know of my fiendish plan to use their teachings for evil. Their skill of living in the present moment is most impressive, indeed. Soon, if I continue to master their technique, I shall be able to travel back in time, acquiring the power I truly deserve and making all mortals bow down to me as the god I am. Mwa-ha-ha-ha. MWAH-hah-hah-hah! MWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!!!
11:48 p.m. - OK, I'm better now.
1:40 a.m. - I experience my first hallucination. Sitting in the meditation garden, I see a leaf that looks exactly like Buddha, staring at the full moon. I take that as a sign and stare at the moon for fifteen minutes. Then I realize that it's just a fucking leaf.
6:00 a.m.- My daily meeting with Teacher. Today, I will strive to reach the state of "Meditation Without Consciousness of Outside Phenomena"
6:30 a.m. - Breakfast in my room. Four slices of toast and some jam. I haven't eaten in nineteen hours. Are you friggin' kidding me??
7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Meditation, interrupted frequently by sexual fantasy. At least it's keeping me awake.
5:15 p.m. - I experience a surge of energy and hopefulness.
5:23 p.m. - No, that was a phase. I'm hungry and I'm tired and my back hurts. This sucks
8:14 p.m. - The cats in the meditation room come to keep me company. One of them curls up and sleeps in my lap. Nice kitty.
8:33 p.m. - Damn it, I have cat hair in my eye and I can't flush it out. Damn it, kitty, that's a bad kitty!! Why aren't there any mirrors here? I think my cornea is scratched, but I haven't slept for a couple days, so I'm probably making it sound worse than it is. But what if I have to go to the hospital and I can't speak to anyone to tell them what the problem is? How the fuck am I going to manage the rest of the night with one fucking eye?!?!?
1:52 a.m. - I'm like Michael Douglas in "Running", staggering toward the finish line (how's that for an obscure movie reference?!). I can barely manage walking meditation. My legs are shaking and I topple over frequently. Thank god no one else is around, because this is downright embarrassing. I can't even sleep during sitting meditation, because I'm too wired in an uber-exhausted kind of way.
2:34 a.m. - I am meditating in the garden but am interrupted by a voice in the distance saying, over and over again, "Finland...Finland...Finland...". I track down the sound, and it's not a voice at all. It's just the clicking of the waterwheel. My mind is playing tricks on me. Damn you, waterwheel!!!!
3:01 a.m. - I feel peacefulness and clarity of mind. I think I'm going to make it.
4:30 a.m. - One hour to go.
6:00 a.m.- I just completed my closing ceremony. It was nothing like the one they do in the Olympics, by the way. Teacher was very proud, noting that most do not finish the introductory course. He gives me my instructions for practicimitation for when I leave the center.
6:30 a.m. - I eat my breakfast and nap for three hours
Note: All of the above actually happened to me during Determination, with the exception, of course, of singing with the monks on the roof. We actually sang "Yellow Submarine".
Coming Soon- Part XIV: Leaving the Mountaintop