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I got back on the road and headed to the mountain, about an hour from Sangkhlaburi. I was going to the Dhamma Kancana Centre to learn the Vipassana meditation technique: 10 days of meditation, 10 hours a day, in complete silence. That's why I had been relaxing for the past 10 days: I wanted to be well rested and grounded before going through this experience!

But on the night before I arrived at the centre, I was so nervous that I got sick and involuntarily went through a cleansing of the digestive system! Let's just say that when the course started, I was very tired and could barely stand on my feet!

For 10 days, in my little bungalow on stilts or in the meditation hall, I tried to meditate, sitting down on the ground, squirming with discomfort and sometimes pain. I crossed and uncrossed my legs, dozed off, stretched my spine, got agitated, frustrated and impatient, I cried and blew my nose… Until I finally let go and found, all of a sudden, almost miraculously (no joke), a stillness both inside and out. Then I started to feel more clearly the subtle sensations that we were told about for 3 days (and that I hadn't felt yet), to see and understand better... All that on Day 7 or 8!!!

Vipassana is serious stuff! Besides the inner turmoil, every day brings about 10 hours of practice, a 1-hour dhamma course, 2 incredible vegan meals (the best Thai food I've had so far, which was pretty much the highlight of the days, along with going to sleep!), an evening snack, followed by a short night starting at 10pm until 4am, when the gong announced the beginning of a new day...

Around Day 5, I realized how this technique is not only very strict but also very smart, and only on Day 7 or 8 did my body finally experience what my mind had understood several days before!

I'll stop for now, but I could write all night on the subject! Essentially, I'm leaving this place with a lot of feedback on myself and on my mental agitation, which takes A LOT of space (as it does for many, let's be honest!), often preventing me from being fully present. I've learned a technique to heal myself and to slowly awaken... As long as I use it and apply the teachings.

No matter how things unfold, this experience has made me more aware of dynamics, behaviours, habits, etc. As a result, I've grown and become more conscious. Then we were taught and reminded to practice inner smile instead of reacting and blaming ourselves! ;)

When the "noble silence" ended on the 10th day, participants started talking to each other. We realized with emotion that we had all been through something very powerful, hard and intense together. We became friends almost instantly! It was very touching!

It's now time for me to get back on the road, and head to Northern Thailand!


<< Read Part 2   Read Part 4 >>



Many of you have met Véronique Laplante during her 3 years and more as Lotus Palm administrator and massage therapist. She is a dear member of the Lotus Palm family and we follow her journey with great pride and love.

She has graciously agreed to share with us her thoughts, experiences and photos while she is traveling through Southeast Asia.

We will publish her story over the next few months. Follow the guide!