finding nirvana is like locating silence. 

       -Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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last minute thoughts before the silence.

For years I’ve been wanting to do a 10 day silent meditation retreat. Part of it terrifies me and part of it excites me. Now, everyone that knows me thinks this is hilarious and impossible. I guess I cannot tell you either way yet, part of me wants to laugh at myself and the other part thinks, “nah, I got this”. You can’t possible prepare for this. Every bit of advice I have received says to go into it without expectations. I cannot wait to see what I learn. 

The problem with many of these meditation/silence/yoga/detox retreats or any combination of the two is that they typically tend to be expensive. A few months ago I stumbled upon Wat Suan Mokkh in Chaiya, Thailand. It takes place on the 1st of every month and goes until the 11th. You must be there on the 31st and it operates on a first come, first serve basis. The accommodation is a cement slab with a straw mat and wood pillow. Now how uncomfortable does that sound? At least there’s a mosquito net over it! Sheesh, thank Buddha mozzies don’t typically like the taste of my skin! So yes, basic accommodation but for 12 days you pay 2,000 baht (roughly 60 dollars). Now you can’t beat that.

On day 1 you sign a waver saying you will not speak, make eye contact with anyone, exercise, or dance. You turn in all your electronics and vow no texting, reading, singing, or writing of any kind throughout the course of the program. You pledge 10 days of silence, with day 1 and day 11 being your only talking days besides a few private conversations about your progress on days 2-6 with the monks. If none of those things have made me walk away, I don’t know what will. 

A few months ago after finding out about another ACL surgery in my future and another season of diving taken away, I started planning for the future and trying to figure out how to use my time wisely. I can’t say that I’ve done the best job, but I did get out a pen a few months back and wrote down some short term goals for 2015. They included: 

10 DAY SILENT MEDITATION RETREAT (here we gooooo….)

getting off birth control, in an attempt to get more in touch with my body in a natural and feminine way (plan on having my current implant removed when I get back to the States in 2 months)

become a PADI IDC Staff Instructor for Scuba Diving (I start the program on March 6th)

quit smoking (it’s now been 26 days, minus the occasional cheeky cigarette after a few cocktails)

get my knee back on track (because let’s be real, i miss scuba diving and an active lifestyle, i’m sick of “recovering”)

As you can see, I’m giving these goals my best at the moment. With the constant anxiety of another up and coming knee surgery looming over my head, I needed something else to focus on. I wanted to give myself a chance to focus on the mind/spirit part of my mind/spirit/body trifecta before I went back to focusing on another ACL rehab. 

Now tomorrow I think will be one of the best/hardest things I’ve gone through in my life. But I also think it’ll change the way I view even the smallest of things. An attitude of gratitude is exactly what I need. Don’t we all? A little bit more clarity so that instead of sweating the small stuff we can move on and deal with whatever comes our way with grace and appreciation. 

I have a lot to learn this year, 2015 has been good to me so far. I cannot wait to see what this type of devotion to my spirituality has in store. I hope it becomes a lifetime of discovery. 

I know I’m going to have moments where I hate mosquitos, hate Prime Creator, hate sitting in the cross-legged position, long for a hot shower, air conditioning, maybe some fried chicken. But for all the terrible moments and thought patterns my brain gets stuck in, I hope to be able to come out of the retreat and experience the euphoria and clarity that comes with meditation. I want that reward. 

I’ll let you all know how it went on the 12th. But now it’s time to tune in and drop out. Bye reality!!!