Bon Voyage, Linden! Enter, Silent Solitude…

Greetings, all!

Yes, yes… It has been quite some time since I have posted an update here. Having a partner-in-travel shifted my dynamic of time allotment.

My very good friend Linden, who spent a month traveling with me across Thailand, departed for home about a week ago. It was great having him as a companion—he will definitely be missed. It was great playing cards while waiting for meals, discussing the comparative merits of various Deftones albums, engaging in an ongoing dialectic about culture and politics, getting wrapped up in late night philosophical discussions, and all sorts of shenanigans… It’s good to have friends.

Now, just as it is time for me to get back in the swing of traveling solo, I am preparing to engage in 10 days of deep solitude. 

Tomorrow morning I will begin a 10-day Vippsassana meditation retreat at Wat Ram Poeng in Chiang Mai.

Just inside the gates at Wat Ram Poeng.

I will be waking up each day at 4am, dressed in all-white clothing, for two hours of meditation. Breakfast begins at 6am. Then four more hours of meditation. Lunch at 10:30am. Meditation will continue until reporting begins with the meditation instructor some time around 2pm. No sleeping until 10pm. Repeat. For 10 days.

Barely discernible, two visitors engage in walking meditation (very slowly) in the hallway.

No speaking (except with instructor during reporting).

No reading or writing.

Eye contact and engagement with others is to be avoided.

And of course—this all implies no phone use or internet access.

While I have held a modest mediation practice through intermittent periods of my life (usually just 30 minutes in the morning), I have never engaged meditative practice with this degree of intensity, nor following from this lineage.

I am sure it will be quite challenging. Perhaps it will be more than that. I do not know what to expect, but enter openly and with curiosity.

Monks casually engaged in construction.

I am, of course, quite backlogged with posts on my travels covering the interim since my last update.

Back to being solo now, I expect that I will more easily find time to carve out in devotion to writing out blog posts (following the retreat, of course.)

I have yet to make posts on:

1)Angkor Wat

2)South of Thailand—Krabi Town, Tonsai/Railay Beach, Ko Phi Phi

3)Chiang Mai

4)Pai

While in the south, I had an unfortunate mishap crossing back to Tonsai beach from neighboring Railay one night several weeks ago. A rogue wave caught me with phone in pocket, and my phone was destroyed along with a host of pictures. Luckily, I was able to find a fairly cheap phone replacement after arriving in Chiang Mai, and a good portion of photos had been backed up on my cloud (to my great relief.) I have also just received, from Linden, pictures of the areas that had been lost (thanks buddy!)

My time before beginning the retreat is quite limited, so my plan for now, following this update, is to get a post up on Angkor Wat before leaving for Wat Ram Poeng. Afterwards, I will retrace my steps and recapitulate the highlights leading up to the present.

Following the retreat I’ll be off to Chiang Rai for a few days. From there I will travel by slow boat across the border into Laos on my way to Luang Prabang. From there—who knows?

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One thought on “Bon Voyage, Linden! Enter, Silent Solitude…

  1. So glad to hear you and Linden had such a great time together. I’m looking forward to reading your next posts on your travels, whenever the time comes for you to write them. In the meantime, many blessings for your retreat—I can only imagine what such an extended period of meditation will do for you, and honor your courage and conviction going into such a practice and engaging with this particular religious lineage.

    Liked by 1 person

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