It’s been a long while now since my last email. A lot of things have changed for me. I will try to explain what happened as succinctly as possible. You may remember that I was forced to disrobe by the monk in charge, because my Malaysian visa was running out and he didn’t want to allow me to go anywhere as a monk.
But before that, I did have some time to deepen my experience of meditation, which I am going to share since it has been requested. I experienced a state of mind where thoughts stop completely, a state of deep silence, extremely vivid. At one point, it felt like being in deep sleep, in touch with the backstage of my mind, yet I felt at the same time very much awake, as if parts of my mind that would only work when I am asleep were getting awakened and became part of my waking state. Several times, I felt showers of pleasures that are not from this world. I mean, I don’t know any situation of normal life, any object that can create such a type of incredibly blissful sensations. Overall, meditation gave me more control over my mind, as one Buddhist text says, I did « not think what [I did]n’t want to think ». I became able to control parts of my mind that have always worked automatically, unsupervised, and that we think can’t be controled, like the mood. Turns out, with meditation you can choose your mood. Which means you can choose to always feel happy, even when crappy stuff happens to you, because you control your mind. I also had the feeling that all this was just the beginning, that the deeper I would go, the more I would uncover.
So after disrobing I went to Thailand as planned, spent about a month there,
almost only in Bangkok.
First at a coushsurfing friend’s place,
then in a hostel.
My first idea was to become a monk again, but that was not possible immediately in Thailand because the vassa (mansoon retreat) was still going on. I came to realize that I was getting pain in my joints, especially when it rained, and that was getting steadily worse. I figured I had to sit back and see how my health evolved before I would become a monk again, because it had been quite difficult while in Malaysia to get my health concerns taken seriously while I was a monk. I met a number of people during that time, and one of them mentioned Amma’s ashram in Kerala (India) as a place where I could potentially stay. I eventually decided to try that and went to India.
I ended up staying only 10 days (I was hoping to stay longer), and here is why.
I had heard of Amma before, as she tours the world giving hugs to people. They literally line up to get a hug from her. And I did too. Twice. She is quite a character. A short woman who moves mountains. She chooses people to lead poverty relief programs, as well as schools, micro-lending services etc. She gets praise from everyone, from the corrupt officials currently in charge as well as the opposition communist party, and even the president of the country. But the ashram was still implementing covid-era rules and did not allow people to stay in shared rooms (which are almost 50% cheaper). So I figured I wouldn’t be able to stay there long term and decided to go see my friends in northern India. On the way, I visited a big hospital in Kochi (capital of Kerala) which is inspired by Amma’s teachings, where they took a sample of the staphylococcus infection and tested various antibiotics on it. It turns out this is a real die hard, which resists to all but the strongest antibiotics, the kind you get only in hospitals, intravenously.
So I went back to Bodhgaya and stayed there for about 10 days.
After that, I flew back to Bangkok. Seeing how my money supply was getting depleted much faster than I had hoped, I decided to start looking for a job so I could stick around and see how to continue. I searched for about 3 weeks and was unable to find anything, despite one of my friend telling me it was guaranteed I would find something. Since this was still costing me way too much, I eventually decided to go back to France.
I am now back in Avignon, planning the next stage. While I was a monk, I figured out the recipe for getting in the zone and I am now applying it while living at home, and it works pretty much the same. The difference is that I have slightly more things to think about now, but it still works pretty well and I am quite happy about it. Since I am getting what I wanted in my normal life, I now feel less incentive to try to become a monk again. It’s such a complicated process, and they don’t really make it much easier, quite the contrary. I’m not saying it won’t happen again, but it’s not in the plans any more for now. All I want is to continue the practice day by day and start a new career online, with hopes of eventually becoming a digital nomad, after which I would be able to chose where I live and work.
So this is the end of that experiment. It’s both a failure and a success for me and I am grateful for the time and opportunity that I had during these few months.
I wish every one of you the very best for the future.