Bangkok is filled to spewing with smells, sounds, heat, motorcycles, and people, people, people. It’s overwhelming by 8am.
This morning, after the best coffee i’ve had in a long time, i set out walking what was supposed to be five minutes to the water taxi stop (A huge canal snakes through the old city), and got completely lost. Which was okay with me. I had a vague idea i was headed toward interesting stuff.
The first thing to present itself, after 4,000 street stalls selling flowers, fried things, noodley things, and apothecary-ish things, was an exhibit of modern sculpture. Two rooms, in the middle of nowhere. The sculptures, particularly one called Sorrow, made me feel at home for the first time in three or four days. Who knows what that says about me.
And then, lost again, overwhelmed again, i was wandering in some back alley, wondering whether i had enough steam to pursue the sights. A Buddhist nun passed me. She had extremely short hair and wore white robes. A few seconds later, I heard “hello” from behind me. It was the nun. I said “sawatdi,” which is supposed to be hello, though no one yet has understood my pronunciation.
“Meditate?” she asked.
“Yes. I do,” i answered.
She motioned me to follow her. I did, through alleys and more alleys. “Vipassana,” she said at some point, over her shoulder. (Vipassana is one form of meditation.)
We arrived at a doorway with 10 or 12 pairs of shoes arranged on mats. She pointed at mine. I took them off.
“You meditate before?” she said. At least i think that’s what she said.
She opened the door and pointed toward a second room. I followed her finger.
In the room were 20 or 30 people in white robes, sitting cross-legged on mats. The nun, behind me, pointed at a mat.
I meditated with them for maybe two hours.
It was heaven. They chanted for the last few minutes. When i opened my eyes, another white-robed nun was in front of me. She mimed eating and pointed to yet another doorway. So i joined them for lunch – the best meal i’ve had in Bangkok – and then for washing dishes. It was tough to leave.
There are two thoughts for me. One is that miracles happen everywhere you
look, or don’t look, as it turns out. Another is be grateful, Kristin, for the way things unfold. And those two thoughts are enough for today.
Thanks, thanks, to that nun for her generosity and clear sight.
And thank you for the conversation,