“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.”
-Dr. Amit Ray, meditation scholar
After chickening out of a 10-day silent meditation retreat, I decided to take some baby steps into the world of Vipassana meditation. This turned out to be an excellent decision, because it led to one of my favorite experiences in Bangkok. Meditation, particularly Vipassana, is truly beneficial for anyone—long as you have an open mind and respectful attitude. Personally, it was the best thing to happen to my mental health since Nutella.
The two hour English meditation class at Bangkok’s Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit (no, they don’t teach you how to pronounce it) provides an excellent and authentic opportunity to learn about basic Buddhist meditation techniques. It is held in Section 5 of the temple, in sort of an international education area that is very well-marked and easy to find when walking along Maharat Rd. Every day at either 7:00, 13:00, or 18:00 (you can check updated times here) you can show up and dip your toes into the ancient practice of Vipassana (“insight”) meditation practiced throughout Thailand.
What do you do in a meditation class?
This, according to our ever-smiling monk teacher, is the key to pure happiness. Otherwise known as nirvana. That’s the goal some people spend lifetimes, let alone two hours on a Wednesday afternoon, trying to achieve.
We practiced walking meditation for a half hour, then sitting meditation for another half hour. They each came with very different challenges, but with our teacher’s guidance we had some idea of how to best handle and learn from those challenges. If anything, the half hour of each seemed too short and left me wanting more!