Four days ago, I had never meditated for a minute in my life. To be honest, I thought meditation was just a fancy word for sitting and thinking. Didn't I do enough of that already? In the past six months I've spent so much time on buses, trains and planes sitting alone and thinking that I probably could have written an Academy Award-worthy screenplay. Too bad I spent most of my thinking time pondering things like how to catch a baby koala and what life would be like if I had Cheetos for toes, instead of putting my mental effort towards a productive cause. 

The fact of the matter is that I wanted to meet a monk. So I put my college degree-worthy research skills to use and started googling. Where do monks hang out? The temple. What do monks do? Meditate. Do monks talk to women? Rarely. Would a monk talk to me if I meditated? Maybe.Thus, I vowed to enter the world of meditation in hopes of meeting a somewhat westernized monk who might be willing to tell me a little bit about monk life and Buddhism. 

Return to google: meditation retreat in Thailand with monks. Hmmm, all that seemed to pop up were ten day silent meditation retreats. Eight to ten hours a day of sitting on a hard floor, no eating past noon, no talking, daily chores, no eye contact, no running water, ten days. *gasp* 

Returning to my habit of brainless decision making, I thought, "I could do that. Even though I've never meditated a day in my life and really believe its only for yogis, psychics and earth muffins (and I don't consider myself any of the above), it will be a good personal challenge and educational experience." 

I had myself half convinced and was contemplating whether I should email the temple to register. I soon realized that there was a logistical issue with the dates of the retreat and the length of my Thai visa, so I wouldn't be able to attend. After a few more clicks on google, I found a fellow travel blog commenting on a four day meditation retreat she had attended in the north of Thailand. Perfect! I was headed north, the dates fit well with my visa and it seemed a little more realistic than ten days of silence. 

Little did I know at the time, I would look back on the experience eternally grateful for my visa stars and ten day retreat stars not aligning. I was about to begin the longest four days of my life...the quest to tame what my monk instructor would later call the monkey mind.  

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