Day 192 to 203 Review of Wat Kow Tahm

I know many of you have asked me to tell you a bit more about my experiences at the meditation retreat Wat Kow Tahm, so here comes a bit of a “review”. First of all I should mention that this was one of the tougher things that I have ever done… to get a feeling try standing up, close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 60 minutes without moving… you will probably realize quite soon that your mind starts to drift away… when it does just note this and go back to the breathing… after a few minutes you probably will feel some pain in your feet… just note this and focus on your breathing. If the pain gets worse (for me my feet usually go numb after about 25-35 minutes) just go into the pain and examine it… how big is it, how does it feel, where exactly is the centre etc. If you can’t stand it any more you could try focusing on your feelings around it… are you afraid that you are hurting yourself, feeling impatient? Well, give yourself some compassion and see if that helps etc.

Ok, so is the hour over now? Ok, well imagine that you do these kind of exercises for 12 hours a day (we started at 4 am in the morning and went to about 8.30 pm every day… with some brakes for food and chores in the middle). And then imagine that you do this for 10 days… yepp… then you get roughly an idea of what it was 🙂

To be honest… after 3-4 days it actually started to become a lot easier and you could actually focus more on the things you where there to learn. The first thing that came was patience… with yourself for loosing focus, with time going soooo slow, with everything from standing in queues to following the schedule or not understanding basically. After that came increase in concentration. To be able to stay focused for longer and longer of periods. Once these started to work better we came more into other types of meditation such as compassion loving-kindness (useful for increasing your love for everyone in the world and generally behave in a more pleasant way and have more understanding for others). We also came into other types of reflections, everything from death to what causes us pain in life. One of my favorites was the compassionate Joy meditations. (I had some difficulties at times with this one though). It is about being able to be happy for your own and others fortune in life… to be happy for others joy. Actually not as easy as it sounds at times.

We also learnt some cool “tricks” such as how to deal with pain. Or rather your emotions connected to them which can actually make the pain itself irrelevant so to speak. I mean… it is still there… you just don’t care…. it doesn’t affect you really. (Normally the emotions are much stronger than the pain… think of when you here the sound of a mosquito… I think most of us have a very strong emotional reaction to this… but when you think about it… the pain of when the mosquito bites is actually not that strong at all really…)

The head nun, Mae Chee Ahmon giving a final speech at Wat Kow Tahm

A view of a small shrine at a viewpoint at the monastery.

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This is the view from up there

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The people in the retreat In the front our teachers are sitting together with the head nun in the middle.

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