It’s decision time here in Thailand. The monastery with the best dates and a meditation program that best fit to my level of practice has now been affected by the flooding. The rain is supposed to start letting up tomorrow, but the question remains if I try to get down there and take my chances. Flights are cancelled, trains are cancelled, and now all that remain are buses.
I tried taking a sleeper train last night, but it was cancelled at the last moment. Apparently, other trains took off this morning, so I am not sure if my train was cancelled for purely weather-related reasons. Trains, now, however have all been cancelled today that originate in Bangkok and head southwards. Upon learning my train was cancelled last night at 11pm, I found some other people wearing over-sized backpacks looking as lost as I was, and we rallied to find a good hostel and spend the night in Bangkok. The Hostel we stayed at is called WE Bangkok and the people were very friendly and the accommodations very clean.
I have considered my other options, which if I am unable to attend this meditation retreat, will probably consist of going to northern Thailand and into Laos for a couple days. I have to make sure there are no travel visa issues. Both areas are supposed to be spectacular as I’ve heard from all the people I’ve run into during my trip.
My current plan is to try to get on an overnight bus tonight to the monastery. I already have my ticket, and I feel I am so close that it is worth a try because I do not know when else I might have the opportunity to take a 10-day mediation retreat. If the bus is cancelled, can’t make it to the monastery, or the retreat itself is cancelled, which is now also an option as indicated on their website, I will turn around, and do my plan B, which really doesn’t sound too bad. In the meantime, I would only burn about 24 hours on this adventure to see if I can get down to the Suan Mokkh Monastery before having to restart in Bangkok.
Today I spent playing in Bangkok. After meeting Joel from British Columbia on Khaosan Road, we shared stories, took a Long Tail Boat Ride through the canals of Bangkok, and later grabbed some delicious Thai food washed down by fresh Coconut water.
Planning spiritual retreats is hard work and there are challenges every time you think you have a handle on things. But it really doesn’t have to be that way. Choose the right facility. Find out from potential participants in the retreat what type of facilities that they are expecting. Plan a program that will hold everyone’s interest. Plan a program inclusive of entertainment, musicians, and speakers. Make sure what you are planning fills interests and wants of the people that will be in attendance. Make sure that you have a sound budget for all this before presenting it for approval. Spiritual retreat centers also have the provision of spiritual healing, this help in relaxation of the mind, body and soul.