Today was a good day, but also a difficult one. My time at the monastery ends today. I wasn't sure how long I'd stay and originally I planned to go after breakfast. But at breakfast, Chris wasn't there. He ended up staying to meditate through breakfast and the time we had after to digest before meditation 2. I walked up to the hall to take my name off the seating chart (there is a grid system so you know where your place is, the monastery is more orderly then you'd think it would be.) as well as get a few pictures. I saw chris was up there and I thought to myself, "do I disturb him to say goodbye or do I leave a note?" I thought a note would be too impersonal so I walked over and lightly brushed his knee and also whispered his name. But there was no movement so I got up to walk and leave. As I left the monastery, the wooden block sounded to notify us of 15minutes till the next sitting. I said to myself, "go and do it." I figured I owed it to myself as well as to pay homage to the monastery for all it had done for me. So I sat for the 90minutes. It was tough since I knew I was leaving and joining "the real world" again, my mind was a flutter. This to do and that to do. Last minute presents to get… oh… and I'd be seeing my family soon. Lot's going on in my mind. But I had some good realizations and calming moment. After the session Chris and I walked down to talk to the teacher, as supposedly he was finally here today. He was. So glad to get advice on my last stay. But actually, I was. He provided some very helpful and insightful tips and places where to begin. And let's face it… I'm really just beginning at this. And that's ok.
After, was lunch and then I finished packing and walked to the road. Chris and this korean guy from the room next to mine, walked me to the gate and sent me off. When I reached the main road there was a group of young girls hanging around and as I got there they giggled at me and boarded a pickup truck (with benches). Thinking it was heading to town, I asked if the driver was heading to town. He said no (well he said something in Burmese but shook his head no) but then shortly later he said something to the girls, again more giggling, and then it was ok for me to board. They asked where I was going and we were off. When I arrived at the guesthouse and asked how much, they said no charge as it was a school bus. So that's why he didn't want to take me to town. Thanks to the will of those girls, or maybe my good karma I got a free ride into town. I should probably also mention that it had been raining off and on all day after continuous rainy days. When I planned to leave it was raining so Chris and I talked more and finally I said. "Enough, i will get wet no matter what so why put it off." As we left the rain almost all stopped with just a few misty drops catching the wind. As I got to the road the mist had started again and after I boarded the truck it came down more. I would get soaked a little later in the day, but my leaving the monastery was almost all but perfect timing. Again, karma!
After getting back to town I'd hop on email to see what was up, but the incredibly bogged down network was so slow that it took me 2 hours to read maybe 15 emails. And those with pictures or links were inaccessible. So it was helpful but not so helpful. I'd come back to the guesthouse and talk with the owner (a regular visitor to the monastery) about my stay there and he showed me the room I could use here at the guesthouse. He then gave me back the book I was reading last time here for me to continue. It's a really enjoyable and easy to read book about insight meditation.
I'd use the room for meditation a little later, and with the points from the teacher, had a shorter than the past few days session, but very calming. most importantly I was able to sit for 30minutes without moving my legs, something I hadn't been able to do by half in the past. I get really tight and sore quick but with the teachers help I think I've been able to move past this a bit. I was very excited… well excited in a calm way.
Karma would visit me again in the evening. When walking back to the guesthouse later in the evening a man offered me a massage (for money.) I told him, "massage, sure!" and proceeded to have me work on his back, shoulders and neck for a while. I then cracked his back. He was so surprised (don't think this had happened to him before) that he then had me sit and did some work on my back, something I needed from carrying my backpack from the temple to the road today. Karma is your friend.
Tomorrow I head off to see this famous golden rock!
The picture below are from my walk to and from the monastery hall everyday. The forest top one is looking out from the second floor of the hall to the Gulf of Mottama (it's hard to see the water). And the last picture is of my roommate and severely grateful for mentor, Chris.