Over 15 of us converged in Chiang Mai, Thailand in January 2011. The aim to meditate. Coming from Africa, specifically from Zimbabwe and to be more specific being Shona, meditation is not second nature.
Imagine my sheer delight when I discovered at the ripe age of 25 (read quarter life crisis) that I would be participating in a meditation retreat thanks to the World Peace Foundation and Peace revolution :). The trip presented lot of firsts.
First time in Asia(Add this destination to your bucket list.)
First time traveling solely alone( I encourage everyone to do this at least once.) Traveling solo takes you on an amazing journey of reflection
First time meditating 🙂
First time enjoying KFC (I am bit of a health nut, junk food is a no, but after Asian cuisine refuses you, you cant be picky).
First time meeting people who had never seen an African ( This was mind boggling, once or twice I understood how the Big Five in Kruger feel).
First time on an overnight train and bus in Thailand ( The train is not recommended especially if you intend on bathing. The over night bus was amazing, great way to take in the country, and dinner is served at 1:00am for all those who get midnight munchies).
First time meeting monks – this was so surreal, the selfless sacrifice these individuals make with nothing but their faith driving their beliefs. The one had been a national basketball player before!!
First time ‘touching’ rainbow trout. Yes, that’s right I touched those beauties 🙂
First time getting immersed in another religion other than Christianity, Buddhism.(You learn as you grow that the rules for most societies are the same we just have different ways of incubating them.)
First time going to a Bangkok night market (Your trip is not complete until you have walked for 2 hours straight and all you do is buy and buy, food clothes, jewelry artifacts everything under the sun.)
First time meditation. Now this was the main reason for the trip. Now I am a very open minded person I would like to believe, so I went in with a positive attitude and determined to conquer this meditating thing! Well, it conquered me. 6 hours were spent over a ten day period finding our centers and connecting to the stillness within.
Stillness, quiet is essential in this world where we are always on the go. More and more our waking hours are shortened, we need to exercise, we need to get to work, we need to study we need to be social, we need to update our social media, we need to travel, the list is endless. When do we stop, and just be still and replenish our souls and inner beings.
That has been meditation for me. Finding those few moments to just be still and connect with yourself. Connect and experience a more calm existence.