Waking Up in Thailand

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Today is the day. I'm excited and ready to go with my rucksack and notebook. I'm ready for a journey that will test my physical and mental limitations.

I've eaten once a day for the past week, restricting my caloric intake. The digestive system is slowing down. The body sends chemical signals to the brain, telling it to start metabolizing stored fat as energy. The first 24-hour is always the hardest. The mind craves for food. It can't resist the temptation. But I know the craving and the temptation is just a form of escape the mind creates.

I'm at the airport. I can't wait to see my friend in Thailand. He's a monk, and he will introduce me to one of the great meditation master.

The check-in line seems long. I have the patience. It's part of the process. Great! I got a window seat. I can't switch to an aisle because it's a full flight. I hate window seat.

It's 3:00AM in the morning. I got through security fairly quick. I haven't had any food for more than 24 hours. The craving kicks in again. I make distractions. I read. I take short walks. Then it's finally time to board. I'm on my way.

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This is it. I'm in Thailand. The flight was not bad. The bad breath snoring neighbor didn't bother me that much.

I'm waiting for my friend, M. Ding Cheng. I see him. It feels awkward bowing. I'm used to hugging friends. But monks are forbidden to have any physical contact.

The temple is an hour drive from the city. It is big. As a guest, I have to make an offering to the temple master with some rice, water, and three lotus flowers. Then the master gives me a room key. My room is simple. It's not your average 5-star hotel. It's not even a 3-star. I sleep on a hard futon. It's very different from Boston or Shanghai. It makes me appreciate the life I have. Anyway, it's late. Training starts early tomorrow. I'm ready to bring the right mental attitude and beginner's mind.

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