From my last post you might be forgiven for thinking that life on Lanta is a never-ending party. Well I guess you wouldn’t be entirely wrong; there is always a party to go to with fantastic people if and when you’re in the mood. However, my most profound and rewarding moments on this beautiful island have come when I have withdrawn from the crowd to sit with my Self and embrace the serenity of solitude.
You might have noticed that all has been quiet on the Happy Chanter front for the last couple of weeks. My excuse for that comes in the form of my lovely friend Emily who came to visit for the holiday season, kicked up a party storm on the island, and left a series of hangovers in her wake. To be fair, I welcomed the opportunity to consciously step back from anything resembling work and have a bit of a holiday myself. Days, evenings and nights spent on the beach, basking, swimming, singing, eating, drinking, dancing… It was an absolute blast, and I wouldn’t change any of it. Well, except maybe that last SangSom bucket on Saturday night… That was the final straw as my body finally gave up, said NO, and the 6 day party binge left me suffering from vertigo and fatigue for 4 days in the run up to New Year’s Eve. That part wasn’t quite so much fun.
Since I set out on this journey, launching this blog and telling more and more people about nam myoho renge kyo, people have often asked me how exactly this chanting practice has impacted upon my life? How does it work? What exactly does it do for you? There is no easy answer to the bigger questions; in fact, my attempts to understand the cosmic mechanisms at play will make up the main focus of this blog. But for now I’d like to answer the first question at least, by telling you the story of the very first change that manifested in my life, and in myself, after I started chanting. There are two threads to this story which will come together, so bear with me…
It has officially been one month since I arrived on Ko Lanta. I know, I can’t believe it either! Time really does fly…
Apart from finally managing to get my Abu Dhabi trip all written up and posted, it might seem to you that I’ve been sitting back, taking it easy, and not getting much in the way of “work” done. Well, you’re not entirely wrong. But you know what? I’m not beating myself up about it. Not any more anyway.
See, during my year of intense student life, every single minute spent doing anything other than burying my nose in a book was riddled with guilt. There was always that feeling of “I should be doing <something>”, no matter how much I’d already done that day or week. That kind of guilty auto-response is probably familiar to a lot of people, whether you’re a student or a worker or a parent or just a person. And this is exactly the kind of automatic response-to-self that I am trying to escape, and that I have realised is unnecessary, pointless and even harmful. Harmful to your own sense of happiness and well-being. Why is it that we condition ourselves to berate ourselves far easier than patting ourselves on the back – or even simply giving ourselves a break?
I am weary.
My head hurts.
My shoulders are stiff.
My back is aching.
My hands are dry and shredded.
I have bags under my eyes.
…I can’t stop smiling 🙂
In the midst of the dissertation storm, with only snippets written and a mountainous 15000-word cohesive whole yet to be created, maybe now is a good time to tell you just how wonderful I’m feeling about it all! After all, the focus of this blog is to teach you about and perhaps even encourage you to try the practice of chanting nam myoho renge kyo. What better way to do that than to share real stories about how it affects my life?
So today marks 3 months exactly until the big departure – flights are officially booked so it’s really happening!
The last couple of weeks have also served as a glorious preview of life in the tropics. With the sun beating down and London temperatures reaching a whopping 36 degrees, I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time outdoors to soak it up. I have plenty of reading to do for my Masters dissertation, and where better to do that than spread out on a picnic blanket under a tree in the park? The sticky heat combined with the solitude of study felt to me like a sneak peek of what my life might be like in Thailand. Surrounded by beauty, the sounds of nature, lots of people around to watch and wonder about, but not so many that it felt crowded. What a way to spark the sensation of anticipation for this life I’m setting out on!
Okay so today people…
New Moon, expect lots of travel madness, cancelled meetings, teariness, perhaps even a little distress. This isn’t you, it’s the pull of the water.
My suggestion? Laugh a lot. Enjoy a salt bath. Enjoy the ride and see where the day takes you xxx
I must admit, I don’t know very much about the moon and stars and all that, it’s one of the aspects of spiritual living that has never really resonated too deeply with me, so I pretty much dismissed this one off hand and kept scrolling.
And then everything turned upside down.