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Laos: Temple of Silence

the session started with 4 monks. 2 locals were present. 1 Italian girl who was dressed in a full robe and 2 french women who were passerbys that chose to attend.

the chants reminded me of school. right away I lost my place in the book. the syllables as read in English don’t match the way it’s said in Laotian. I was doomed from the start.

I read the English translation instead. I tried to find my groove. there were brief moments when I was in the moment. the awkwardness and feelings of being out of place were powerful . I was a foreigner wearing the wrong clothes with a temple filled with orange robed monks.

once the chanting ended there was a long period of silence. for how long I could not say possibly 30 minutes to 1 hour. for the first stretch I was in the zone. then in the middle my mind started to wander hard. a dozen different life scenarios played through my mind. my focus was lost. when it came back it was only half strength constantly finding reasons to no be in the moment.

when the long silence ended the 4 monks at the front facing forward turned around and faced directly at us. it was a intimidating as I did not understand the culture.

by the end of the chanting the 2 french passerbys snuck out. at the end of the long silence the 2 locals bowed respectfully and left. it was just me and the Italian with 4 monks.

the Italian girl gave her offerings of soy milk to the monks and shared some of her concerns. they said a prayer together. the head monk turned to me and asked where I was from.

we talked briefly. it was quite the initiation via silence. Laos is not atop most travelers lists, when I first arrived I felt the calm and almost not enough to do vibe.

after today I got my first sense that this is a strong dose of exactly what I need for my own personal development. this is the perfect place for cultivate my patience, bring my mind to the present, and chill the fuck out.

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