This is just a quick note, to say I’m okay and finally back home in Bloomington after two months in Southeast Asia, following an 11:19 p.m. flight to Indianapolis from Seattle last night.
Much to share; much to chew on; much to integrate.
I realize now that, at this point in my life, I could easily live on the road. Next time will take the blog with me.
The blog will change. Not so many stories. Perhaps a compilation of stories each day (the “pointings” I sometimes do), plus my own stories.
It was easy, EASY, letting go of the internet and the cell phone and anything electronic. It was hard coming back. I had to do it V-E-R-Y gradually. And it all looks different now . . .
In its place, vipassana meditation, the kind practiced at the Chom Tong Meditation Center: it starts with slow prostration, then one sesssion walking, one session sitting. Walking and sitting of equal length. More on that later. An internal technology, I call it, and powerful.
So, a new resolve to let go of the internet on weekends, to take weekend vipassana retreats on a monthly (or at least quarterly) basis, and to add this kind of meditation to my daily practices which, up until this point, have all been moving meditations (yoga, chi kung, tai chi, walking), rather than sitting still, appearing to do nothing, when actually, inside a very dynamic process is unfolding . . .
Here’s me, resting after one of my meditation rounds. I never knew meditation could be so intense that I’d have to counteract it afterwards!
That’s my meditation pillow to the left. And my little meditation timer, at the front of the hard core “beds” we slept on. I usually meditated alone, in my room at the retreat. At least half the two-month trip was centered on meditation. That, plus a three-week pilgrimage through India and Nepal to visit where the Buddha was born (Lumbini, Nepal), where he got enlightened (Bodhgaya, India), where he taught his first disciples (Sarnath, India), and where he died (Kushinagar, India).
Afterwards, I visited my family, in Seattle, and had an Easter feast with them. Here’s a photo of the unveiling of the “Kreilkamp Thangka” of the Medicine Buddha that I brought back. I see it as moving from house to house, sibling to sibling, over time. It will begin at John and Mary’s home, where our feast was held.
Here’s sister Kristin, her son-in-law Mark and our 94-year-old Mom, looking on.
And here’s a slightly better photo of the thangka, though off-center . . .
BTW: Mom, who has dementia, told me yesterday that she feels she’s “a mess.” I told her that when the caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it must first go through the chrysalis stage, where it actually turns to mush.
“You’re not a mess, Mom, you’re mush!” She liked that.
Finally, while floating on the Mekong River in the Golden Triangle, where Burma and Laos meet Thailand, I took this photo of a large gold Buddha statue sitting on the Thailand shore. Burma and Laos both have casinos on their shores. I prefer the Buddha. So does Thailand. The very word “thai” means “free.”