Life Lessons from a Monk.

by | Feb 1, 2013 | Reflections, Southeast Asia, Thailand | 1 comment

I went to a psychic for the first time when I was sixteen. At the end of the session she gave me her Mary Kay Cosmetics card and I couldn’t believe I had fallen for such a stupid idea. However, that didn’t stop me from going to another and another and to this day I still like going to talk to psychics. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of psychics. Are they real? Are they frauds? I believe some of them know what they’re talking about and I believe others are total scams. My dad thinks it’s all a load of B.S and a waste of money. I think it’s just kind of fun. I’ve had a psychic explain to me my entire family from their physical traits to personalities and it was all true. I’ve also had a psychic tell me some things that were bullshit, to be frank.

Some of us are fascinated with the idea that somebody you don’t know can tell you your future. We want them to guide us on the right path or at least hear that we’re doing something right. I kind of like the experimentation of it all, to see whether they will say something that resonates with me or not. Either way, I don’t hold onto it too much.

When I was in Bangkok I had heard that there was a monk in Wat Mathamat that could tell you your future. A girl I had met in the hostel and I woke up very early, after a long night of Khao San Road activities, in search of this temple and the monk. We found the temple easy enough but trying to explain our mission to the various Thai people there was a bit more difficult. None of them spoke much English and we spoke no Thai apart from a few helpful greetings. “Monk.. tells future..” was all we could come up with. After half an hour of this, we were taken to another building in the site.

This building was full of Thai locals and foreigners alike, quietly walking back and forth in a room filled with utter silence. I had no idea what they were doing. Seated at a table around the corner, we sat awkwardly, feeling foolish until an elderly monk came and sat across from us. He spoke English. We explained to him what we had heard, that there was a monk at this temple who could tell someone their future. His response was to shake his head and chuckle. His next words to us will never leave me:

“Nobody in this world knows the future. Instead, the key to finding peace, happiness and clarity in one’s life is simply to live and be thankful of the present moment, not to dwell on what may happen in the future, and to meditate.”

After our chat we decided to try out meditation, which was what all those people from earlier had been doing. At the time, I wasn’t feeling it. I had a terrible urge to vomit the entire time thanks to one too many buckets the previous night. Walking meditation? I didn’t like it. I felt like a robot. But seated meditation was something I thought I could handle and, someday, learn. Since then, I’ve really grown to love meditation. Even though I usually just do it on my own at home one of my goals for this year is to take an actual meditation class.

Although we hadn’t gotten what we were searching for, his advice has always stuck with me and I try to remember them when I’m getting too caught up in my plans for the future. What advice have you gotten that has helped you in your life?

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