Monday, March 29, 2010

The Work in Thailand Plus

The Work in Thailand

The Shan counselors’ dedication and willingness to work hard encourages me in my responsibilities. Without their eagerness to serve and to learn I would not be able to do my work. The constant need to choose ways of teaching that challenges them to become self-directed learners challenges me. This goal is accomplished only to the degree that I allow them to teach me. The two sessions I conducted on story and mental health and one on stress that I assisted taught me about many of the subtle differences between our cultures. One of the major differences is the reluctance to challenge an authority figure and another is the difficulty in self-disclosure. However I must say for many of us counselors, self-disclosure and transparency is not always one of our fortes. In the next two weeks the Fortune counselors will be educating medics, herbal doctors, and local Shan communities about mental health. I am looking forward to experiencing them in action.

A Surprise: Teaching Meditation at a Buddhist Monastery

On Friday of this week (I am 12 hours ahead of you) I had the opportunity to teach meditation at the Wat Sri Boen Ruang Buddhist monastery. Now you may ask why am I –a Western good old catholic boy- teaching meditation at a Buddhist Monastery. Well I mentioned to some of the directors about teaching meditation and how the approach helps individuals to find their natural meditation method and to help those who struggle with meditation. Well it turns out that my approach was very helpful for several western individuals including staff members of the Blood Foundations. I was also given the opportunity to speak with the head Abbot Dr. Apisit. We are to speak again soon to continue the conversation. He is in the process of setting up an international meditation center and I am sure I can learn much.

One Day in Thailand

A wind chime pleasantly rings
a single cicada begins a song
joined by another and then another
I can distinguish each additional cicada
until overwhelmed, my ears
hear only a single blended chorus
an atonal cacophony of sound
tenaciously driven towards a smashing crescendo
and at the very moment that the sound overcomes
every voice stops.
and only a wind chime pleasantly rings.


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