I’m Back!

10 Weeks flies past in no time!  My feet have firmly landed on Canadian soil having returned from Thailand.

Many requests have come in asking me to share a bit more about my Thai experiences so I thought I would write a few entries in the CLEARING Blog.

During the time away the main areas of personal and professional growth were centred around the study of yoga, vipasanna meditation, Buddhism and enjoyment the sunshine, gorgeous food and plenty of Thai massage!

The teachers of Vipasanna meditation were inspiring.  I studied under the guidance of Thai Buddhist monks at the International Buddhist Centre within Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.  This Wat (temple) located on the Doi Suthep mountain on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills.

Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.

This meditation retreat was carried out in complete silence.  I loved every minute of it.

A 5:00am start to the day beginning with a one hour dhamma talk to learn the Buddha’s teachings, then breakfast.  Several hours of meditation practice were followed by lunch at 11:00am, which was the last time of taking in solid foods for the day.  When staying at the International Buddhist Centre, you do as the monks do.  A 2:30pm review meeting with the mediation master and teacher was the only time during the day that you were engaged in conversation with another person.  Meditation practice all afternoon followed by a 6:00pm gathering in the chanting hall for an hour of chanting in sanskrit.  You guessed it, this was followed by further meditation practice and then lights out by 9:00pm.

The entire retreat experience is specifically designed to slow things down, frame by frame, and allow you to see and know the nature of your mind.  An experience that is not for the faint of heart.

My time at the temple was illuminating, demonstrating to me that after a decade of practicing many forms of meditation, leaving myself open to a deeper level of learning and growth was incredibly rewarding.

Enormous gratitude to goes out to the monks and the support staff of the temple and the International Buddhist Centre.  To date they have hosted thousands of people from over 66 countries around the world.  Their work is constant and dedicated, allowing many to experience themselves in a new light.

If you would like to see some photos, check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/judibechard

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