Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Chiang Mai 2

I'm in a waking dream. I am back in Calgary and I remember that I have left something at the Condo where I lived the last three years with my ex-fiancee Kahlin. I double back to get it and it's 5pm Calgary time. I see her heading to the back door to the Condo but I notice that instead of it being a sliding patio door it is a dingy white door with a lock set. The Condo next door also has the same exact door. I am about to call her name when she suddenly stops at the place next door to her condo and enters it as her new home. I suddenly realize that she is in another world in another house and is a different person that the woman I knew. I never even see her face as she disappears, but I'm glad she hasn't seen me because I realize this is not my world.
I wake up in a Jungle hut surrounded by 14 strangers in Chiang Mai. Now the question is: which is the Dream and which is the reality?

Our guide is 'Kam', a 37 year old Thai, born in Chiang Mai Province. Kan (pronounced 'Cahm', was a Buddhist Monk for 17 years, teaching meditation. He came to a point in his life when he he needed to leave that life. We got talking and he said he would like to start his own Tour Guide business. I suggested he try combining his training in Buddhism with his knowledge of herbs, Temples and geography to create a unique spiritual experience for western travellers who want to know the Thai way of life at a deeper level. Kam is very interested in feedback on this idea.

We climbed a long Serpent trail to The Temple of Gold. It was built a thousand years ago by a single Monk who, after living a life as a wealthy man with a family, was called to leave that life behind and build this Temple all by himself.

This is the depiction of that night when he left his family. To me, it seems like a man who has left his physical body to Dream Travel in the inner planes.
As I walked up the thousand steps to the top, I observed the stone of the mountain carved into thousands of figures and faces. Once at the top I walked inside the open air Temple itself.

It is preserved by just one Monk even today. I sat near the Altar for a few minutes and enjoyed the electric feeling within.

I am including this picture of the same Altar without me in it. How does it strike you this second time?

When I left the Temple I went to put my knapsack back on when I found that it was full of water. My water bottle had emptied itself into the sack, soaking the Guestbook from Nepal that Vivyan gave me just before I left Canada. It has many email addresses in it so if you've written yours in there, my dear friends, please email me so that I can be in touch with you.

The strange thing about this incident was that the water bottle was in a separate zipped outer part of the knapsack and I can't see how it could have spilled into the closed bag. I found myself thinking of what this monk would say about the incident. Instead of viewing this as a sad accident I try to see it as a part of my journey. Perhaps you have an insight on it you would like to share with me.


~~ Melissa said...

Sorry to hear about the water on the book but good thing you have this blog so the friends you have met can still track you down.

I love the carved faces and the dragon stairway.

The idea regarding Kam sounds very good.

Anonymous said...

there are no accidents Steve...

but you always know where I am :)

and those pictures are wonderful


Anonymous said...

Dear Steve:

I don't know about water on your book? Sorry though. I lost your blog address so I couldn't track you down. You look quite a home with the Buddha shrine behind and the people. The mystical pool of water is absolutely intreguing and I would be in there like a dirty shirt. You look well and the carvings etc. are beautiful. So glad you made to Thailand and I'm sure you are having wonderful experiences.
my e-mail diana_rainbow@yahoo.com

You don't have to send me a postcard though. But Thankyou for this blog, so I can keep up with you so to speak.
Much love and good wishes
Take much care
Love Deeds even forgot my blog address password etc.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that's neet about some of the terrain being similar. Yeah that was a hoot taking turns riding on the top of the truck in Elkwater.
And good idea not to dangle your feet in the water. Tell me, is the river filled with crocodiles, sharks and other nasties? Did they warn you. I couldn't help thinking about the backside you showed of those magnificent elephants. Well, let's just put it this way - I hope they didn't have gas.

Stay safe.
Love Deeds