(Los Angeles, USA)
Soft Light on top of Wat Tham Seua
What I love the most about travel is that it gives me the feeling of closeness with my own self. Of coarse I also like to see exotic locations and spectacular landscapes, but that seem to be expected once I depart my home in the North America. Meaning of travel for me comes out on the level of feeling to care and be more like a friend to myself.
I had this experience very distinctly when I went diving in Krabi, Thailand. Nearby there is the Wat Tham Seua buddhist temple complex. It is famous for its meditation caverns, especially a Tiger Cave that supposedly was inhabited by a tiger at a time when a founding monk first came upon this mystical karst landscape to practice meditation.
There is a hilltop shrine at Wat Tham Seua and I wanted to check out the view of a surrounding landscape. I wanted to catch the setting sun over the landscape dotted with karst outcroppings. I started around 5:30 and by the time I stepped over 1237 steps of steep flights of stairs to the top it was past 6:15, the middle of a perfect sunset. It was unexpectedly quiet up on top as there was no one else there. The whole shrine was empty and quiet, only occasionally pierced by a cry of a bird flying by. I felt that I was literally up in heaven surrounded by meditating buddhas. The beauty of Thai countryside was spread below in total exposure marked by veins of local roads and occasional hamlets separating farm fields.
It felt wonderful, serene and spacious. A sense of profound peace was filling me up and somehow I felt loved completely...
The air was getting cooler and the sky a bit darker, there was no desire to leave, yet I had to go knowing that it would be wise to negotiate those 1237 steps down earlier. As I was going down, I didn't mind the soreness in my quads, something had changed inside. I didn't want to rush anywhere, I felt okay; so was the world, continued to appear in balance just like it did on top of Wat Tham Seua.
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