Monday, April 17, 2017

Finding A Routine In Chiang Mai, Thailand

Dec. 31 New Years in Chiang Mai
In Thailand the Songkran water festival just ended over the weekend. It is an annual event to celebrate the Thai new year. For five days everyone out on the streets is having water fights and walking out your door means playing. It was delightful to see so many adults with big water canons and bigger grins aimed at every scooter and pedestrian in their path. A very fun atmosphere, but one that I was ready to be done with on about the second day.

I was ready to be done with it because I had just gotten into the groove for my new webucation (seriously, I just came up with that brilliant nugget. my genius knows no bounds!) site, Prepared Passing.

Let me go back a week.

Last Week

Songkran was beginning and many businesses shut down, including all the yoga studios. Daily yoga at $5/class is one of the benefits of living in Chiang Mai. Since I'd be taking a week off from yoga, I decided to do another 4- or 5-day fast (as I first chronicled here 6 months ago). For the first 3 days I was doing great. But by the afternoon of Day 4 I was feeling depressed, and this is not a normal feeling for me. I was tired of traveling. Homesick. Just wanted to move back to the States and settle down somewhere. Red flat alert! I was frustrated with this business idea and couldn't find any motivation for it. And I couldn't make heads or tails of this spiritual awakening that appears to be happening to me.

So I ate food. Crazy, I know. I made it 4 full days of fasting, noticed a successfully lowered blood pressure (because of feeling faint when I stood up, not because I actually had access to a cuff). I had dinner and a beer and a Snickers bar and went to bed.

The Next Morning

By morning I felt great. I found a place to hire a web developer for Prepared Passing and was shocked to get more than 80 job proposals. The thoughtful ideas coming in from seasoned programmers were just what I needed to light my fire around the website. Sparks were flying and it began to feel like it really might be a legitimate business model.

Finding a Routine

So now that the festival is over and I'm inspired to work, I've found myself a nice routine.
  • 7am Wakeup. Listen to the latest podcast of On Being or Tangentially Speaking or Buddha at the Gas Pump
  • 9am yoga ($5)
  • Healthy breakfast (omelette, salad, green smoothie, coffee for $8) and working for 90 minutes. That's where I am as I write this.
  • Noon meditation group (two 20-minute sittings for $1.50 donation)
  • Thai massage (60-minutes for $8)
  • Work a little more
  • Dinner. Chill out
  • Bedtime

Sorry, No Photos

I haven't really been taking any photos recently. After traveling for 17 months the picture taking gets a little old. Plus, my exploration has turned more internal in the past month. The warmth and energetic vibrations that I mentioned here are still with me. My latest theory is that maybe it's me being awakened to the sense of my chi (aka prana, spirit, life force). I don't really know yet, so I'm spending time every day exploring it further and continuing to learn and grow. 

Buried Lede

Perhaps I've buried the lede here, because this topic of energy and spirit is not one that many people are comfortable with. It's difficult for me to discuss, but I'm working on it. Western culture barely acknowledges its existence, even though Eastern cultures have had an understanding of it for 2500 years. If one of my friends had told me about their energy experience 5 years ago I would have been quite skeptical. In fact, I can think of a couple friends who may have tried to share something similar with me, only to be met by my predictable skepticism and ignorance. Heads up: I'm still not ready to hear about your crystals or magnets.

Example: Brilliant, smart, highly educated, American neuroscientists can now scan the brains of meditating monks with billion-dollar science machines! They discover that meditating monks show more in the awareness and happiness and peacefulness zones of the brain than normal Americans do. Shocker! 

Buddhist monks have known this for 2500 years. Just because we can't prove it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I don't think this has happened to me because I was looking for it (though I've certainly been growing more open to possibility in the past 5 years since I started listening to a shitload of podcasts). I think it happened because I simply shed all the bullshit in my life, walked away from it and began living the life I always wanted to live. My mind is able to be free. And when I challenged it by feeding it the words and experiences of many wise people, it was finally able to blossom.

That's my current theory, anyways. I'm still a Western skeptic and still looking for better explanations. And I do still understand that I am a very fortunate person in so many ways. I don't know if that's because of karma from past lives or not. Haven't started believing in that yet. But why else should I be fortunate enough to explore any path that interests me while billions of people are stuck fighting for food and water? Pure luck? I dunno.

Time for meditation. Smell ya later.

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