Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Thailand Memory (1994)

 I am sitting lotus-style on the bamboo floor of an acclaimed Buddhist monk’s bungalow in the middle of Thailand.  It’s 6:00AM and the air is already dank and oppressive.  My eyes are closed.  I’m supposed to be “meditating”.
 
Outside the sun is rising and warm beams of light push through the bamboo wall.  The light segments me, vertically, cutting me like a laser.  My knees hurt.  A mosquito hovers around my left ear—the shrill hum of its beating wings remind me of a dentist’s drill and I suppress my desire to smack it dead. 
 
“Focus on your breathing.” The monk kindly reminds his students.
 
In the distance I hear a baby crying, an old man sweeping dust off his stoop, and water-buffalo lumbering down the road. 
 
Sweat beads on my brow and upper lip, I fight the urge to wipe it away. 
 
“Focus on your breathing,” says the calm man in the saffron robe.
 
My feet have fallen asleep and I shift my ass, ever so slightly, allowing blood to flow back into my toes.  Ouch.  Millions of needles prick my feet, awakening the sleeping flesh.  I shift again and feel self-conscious (ironic—in Buddhism there is no self) knowing everyone can hear my awkward movements.
 
He must be looking at me.  I peak through my eye-lashes like a kid stealing a glance during a supper prayer.
 
The monk winks at me and smiles, “Fo…cus… on your… brea…thing.”
 
Blood rushes into my cheeks and I’m embarrassed for being caught open-eyed, but I can’t help but smile back at the monk.
 
It’s time to focus on my breathing—I close my eyes and take a deep breath…
 
…my lungs deflate…
 
Somewhere outside rice stalks bend in the wind.

3 Comments:

  • Hi son! Very interesting reading--I enjoy your retelling of your past experiences. All the postings have been fun to follow. This is a fun site! Love. ET

    By Blogger eileen, At 9:51 PM  

  • ...somewhere outside rice stalks bend in the wind...

    you write beautifully, you know. your voice is soft and thoughtful, tender, somehow peaceful. you sound vulnerable, with a watchful, observing eye that (to all appearances) has not been made cynical by the world's inconsistencies or difficulties. i appreciate that. i enjoy reading your thoughts.

    By Blogger lazare, At 11:47 AM  

  • Check out my blog if you get a chance. Alot is going on with Peace Corps Bills and Peace Corps Special Agents. There is also Uzbekistan, which may affect 'Kryg?'

    http://peace_corps_unitedstates_weblog.blogspot.com/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10:38 AM  

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