And this is how we got here…
And this is how we got here…
In the middle of a Vipassana retreat, I think it was Day 5, I asked myself how Goenkaji could know that this particular technique as he taught it and as he so vehemently urged everyone to follow scrupulously without changing anything, that this very technique would lead to full liberation? I mean, he was not a Buddha, he said so himself – the assistance teacher from India pointed out this fact to me, adding that he is basically a Bodhisattva, filling up huge pots of paramis (i.e. faculties supporting one’s awakening/liberation) and building a big ship for many to sail across the ocean of samsara.
And now, in the middle of the retreat, an answer to that question emerges from the depths of stillness within. With certain sensations certain thoughts arise, certain emotions come with certain thoughts, and these in turn influence how the body feels. One of the memories that came up was this: when hiking in the mountains or on the Camino thru Austria and Switzerland I got landmarks and some instructions by people I met on the way which were reaffirmed. That way, I knew I was on the right track. Yes, it is just as I was told it would be. Confidence arose. There is a difference when it comes to insights arising from meditation, though. Yet the purpose was served: the question and with it, the doubts concerning the practice, dissolved.
Another thing I remember: at times when I was playing table tennis as a child… I trained twice a week, I won tournaments, went to training camps for weeks on end, then lost sometimes and learned to lose better, sometimes with the help of a close friend or a family member who reminded me where i am and what I’m here for! And what I was here for was to win or at least make it as hard as possible for the other to win against me. Me. ME. Ambition arose. Or as my liefie calls it: my kaprikorrrn turns loose. My Capricorn spirit manifested in my wanting to win something, be it a medal or a trophy or, extended to the personal realm, and always closely connected to it, to win a friend, to win over a girl, gain sympathy.
It became very clear. ‘My world’ as a child revolved around getting what I want. This is changing now. As I travel I keep on exploring both the inner and the outer world, and I see how they correlate. The tendency to give from a place of abundance becomes more and more predominant as clarity increases of what is essential in life & death. What stands out is what I already have got instead of what I think I need to get. This also applies to my attitude towards meditation. Instead of striving too hard and tiring myself in the process I start where I am at the moment and try to stay relaxed about any tension that arises. In order to do that, I have to be aware of it, of course.
Thus every day and every night I grow in gratitude for my family, friends, ancestors, community, for this body, voice, for this pliable mind, for the loving and compassionate heart, for all hospitality wherever I come, it is so incredibly easy to come around! Thank you thank you thank you!!
Like this I prepare for the final hour so that when it finally comes, and it is bound to come — every ‘birth’day is a reminder — I go in peace. And if rebirth turns out to be just another story to keep me in check and to teach me I-better-be-a-Goodman, then at least, if nothing else, I have led one happy life!
This day in my life started at 7 a.m. and ended at 7 a.m. I have been around for 24 hours and i am not tired. Energy is rushing through my body like i never imagined it to be possible. So how was my day today?
In the morning there are no plans. So I start with greeting the sun three times. I go down from ‘monkey pad’ at Chillout House on Ko Lanta. Sebastian is so kind to prepare a porridge with fruits for me. I rent a scooter and go to a place called tiger (or thaigirl?) cave. To walk uphill we go through thick jungle and at times very steep passages.
We are inside the cave for an hour.
We, this is a guide and 4 other people and humble me.
I take a dip in the swimming pool in that cave although the access ladder is broken. But that reaaally makes it interesting know what I am saying… i have to climb down and then up on the slippery slope with the help of a wet rope. Only possible in Thailand, this.
What’s best is there are neng mum spiders lurking in the dark.
Later I check out several beaches. Go swim. Go rest in the sea.
Just lying flat on the surface with the arms outstretched. Letting the sea carry me. I go further south the island to explore a trail and a waterfall. Wading along the gorge barefoot.
I stand under that waterfall. Feeling free. Content. Meeting up with people. Exchanging, laughing, hugging. Riding back with the scooter. Meeting a couple from Melbourne. Sharing some pineapple with them. They tell me that they booked a place in Old Town. They say i ought to see it before I leave Ko Lanta Yai. I decide to join them to Old Town right away. Old town is situated on the east coast of the island. It has the characteristics of an old fisher village. While the sky turns grey and streets go black I follow their red back light through the jungle to the east coast of Ko Lanta. They introduce me to The Old Times. Invite me to a mojito. I take a pictures of hilarrious pictures in the entrance hall. When I was in Australia the people just called something ‘Best of all lookout’ and that was that. Around here they have many original ideas and weird ones, too, everything goes to attract people and sell something. Well, to admit it, there is also sometimes art just for the sake of art. But it’s seldom.
Having a walk on the main street with Cam and George, a lovely vietnamese-indian couple living in Melbourne. While strolling along with them I see people praying at a chinese temple. Bow down towards them. They are so happy. Wai. ‘Sawat dii khaaaaap…’
I get the opportunity to cook my own pad thai jee. I guess this gotta be the sixth meal today. Please don’t ask me what time it is – i lost track of time a while ago. It goes w/out saying this was best pad thai I ever had. Cuz DIY. And ‘yeah, I gonna come tomorrow for a plate of delicious mango w/ sticky rice.’
Pit stop at chillout house where i am lucky enough to stay as a couchsurfer mouse and crash for free. Some small talk with some friends from South Africa. But this so-called chill out house, iz jus too bizzy for me taste yaknow. I mean, they have neither air-con nor fridge-on. (ok bad joke)
In the evening I dance and talk and sing and drink and take a shit. Then during night time i sit on the beach listening to wonderful tunes played by Mark from Colorado with fresh friends from all over the globe. Open-hearted friends rrady for big talk and sweet play. Maybe we’ll meet up again in Pai later on our trip. Who knows.
Late night. Starlight. Silence broken by words striking ever so softly. I am moved to tears because neglected wounds can heal. Wounds I haven’t even considered as being wounds. Maybe just soft spots. Touched by personal lyrics turning into poetry on a beach in the andaman sea.
I feel that sweaty sandy body. All that dancing dude. So I go swim again. Laughing. Watching the stars. This day feels like 3in1 and I haven’t had a single one of those today. While I am in the sea I see some guys twenty metres away. After getting out of the water and drying myself one of them comes over. Asks if someone has seen anyone because… all their stuff is gone!! Cameras, phones, purses. We were dumbstruck. In the middle of our having such a good time – the time of our lives, in fact – something like this happens nearby. It could have happened to me but I was staying with a group. They kept an eye on my valuables. I mean not those I always carry with me. For me that story shows again how close gain and loss can be. And a lesson: if there are 4 people then one should stay sober in case a driver is needed. Same applies to bathing in the sea. One stays and keeps an eye on personal belongings.
That evening had many special moments, for example when I talk to mood, a thai man, about the development of farang-thai relations during the last decade. There is a magic moment, too. That is when i am listening to Youri’s words. How grateful he is for what i have to share. That what I say cuts right through and goes straight to the heart man. Recognition. Respect. Appreciation. I say to him: ‘It takes a great man to know a great man, my friend.’ Our group just feels like welcoming and befriending each and everyone who comes by.
I can’t find my way home to the guesthouse. It’s still dark. All the restaurants and cafes at the beach look surprisingly similarly black and grey. Sunrise in half an hour or so. Kim helps me out and shows me the way. Thank you, Kim. Good night John, Mark, Youri, Alice, Travis, Alex, Davide, sleep well. I go to bed at sunrise. Three hours later I get up. It is around 10 a.m. The scooter, I gotta tell Rico that I need it for another day. So I go there. No prob. song roy baht. kawp kuun khap. What’s with this body, mate, it don’t need no sleep? Question arises and vanishes the next instant. I’ll just have a nice siesta at the beach on Ko Lanta Noi. So I have breakfast, saddle my horse and off I go to the ferry at Ban Saladin in the north of Ko Lanta Yai.
The tablet stays at the guesthouse so there are no pix of what I have seen. Not the kilometres of fine powder sand all for myself. Not a single person except me here. Crystal clear sea water. It tastes sweet-salty on my lips. Also no pix of the scenic tour of the island, the winding streets like they were made for motor cyclists, the children waving at me, the views of the sea and the surrounding mini islands I am going to visit tomorrow (4 island tour for 700 baht). So with all these events of yesterday night it is same same with the ones of this day: No pix to prevent your imagination.
Like everything, be it pleasurable or be it painful, this too has come to pass. And thus, I am sitting here reminiscing. Thank you for reading about what my Thursday and Friday was like. Thank you for taking the time. It is your precious lifetime on earth. So I highly appreciate it if you spend it with me in this way.
this evening I am going to leave vienna. be gone for a while. flying with an iron horse via moscow to bangkok. millions and millions of people. millions and millions of hopes, needs, wishes, desires. an incredible web of relationships. innumerable fates of innumerable beings, human and nonhuman. sometimes I find it tempting to call it a single fate or, for that matter, the never ending story of gaia. just to take out the blur and add some blue.
on the one hand, i am really looking forward to that trip. part of it is the freedom that i can actually leave just because I want to do so. that is indeed a privilege. part of my thrill of anticipation is inspired by the positive reactions i got when i said i am going to be there for a couple of months. no matter if they are family members, friends, colleagues: they all said ‘great idea! go for it!’ some were honest enough to admit their envy.
big shoutout to all of you!! you helped me realise something essential. you played socrates’ part in my story. you healed me from anamnesis by reminding me of something I had forgotten, i.e. when it comes to deep-felt wishes, when it’s about feelings and needs we are all the same.
we find different ways to fulfill these needs, though. that’s for sure. and how we like to satisfy our needs (and keep away from things we dislike) is probably what marks our personal identity. so the way i see it is that my likes and dislikes make up who i am as a person. persona is a latin word meaning ‘mask’. so what is masked by my idiosyncratic ideas of what is good (I like it) and bad (I don’t like it)?