Living and meditating at Wat Umong in a forest outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand has left a big impression on me.
Over the last 9 days I have essentially not spoken, written or read anything. For the 14hours of meditation practice every day, there was 5-10minutes of instruction from Dr. Narong. I now understand that retraining the mind takes a tremendous amount of focused repetition.
I can say the following with confidence: We meditate to train the mind to see the true nature of reality so that we may live happily; acting and speaking in ways that reduce suffering for ourselves and those around us.
This statement has both profound and practical implications for me that I did not comprehend 10 days ago. For now, meditation is an active work in progress. I woke up this morning and practiced for 2 hours on my balcony as the sun rose.
Here are a few more images from my stay at the temple
And finally, here are the guidelines for the meditation retreat and also the chant that we said together before every meal (I became very fond of this one).