This blog post is part II of our blog series about the Healing Journey event we organized in October 2019. Do you want to know what this Healing Journey is about? Read part I of this series about Meditation as a Cure to Cancer here. 

Can we swim in here?

Arriving at the temple there is a very big lake. I have been in Thailand for about two weeks without having the opportunity to swim, so I am like: “Oh my god, can we swim in here?” To which Anja immediately replies: “Of course not, it’s part of a temple, you have to have your shoulders and knees covered at all times”.

A few hours later we are all walking together to the lake. Abbot Luang Ta, the founder of the temple, is holding hands with Swami Atma’s, our Indian yoga teacher. On the other hand his walking stick. Not so long ago Luang Ta was hit by a stroke, so his health is still a bit fragile. We all walk on a bridge leading towards the middle of the water. Thai people are following us and some are sitting there already, waiting for the evening ceremony to start. Swami Atma and Luang Ta sit down in front of us to lead the chanting. A beautiful golden buddha statue towers above them. The sky has a warm golden glow and the atmosphere is very peaceful and special.

Healing journey lake

The abbot is going for a swim

After the prayers, the abbot stands up and says he wants to go for a swim. A respected monk struggling with his fragile health going for a swim in a lake that might be full of dirt, diseases and who knows which other water animals? I don’t believe him. I also didn’t think monks are allowed to use swim shorts. And we were not allowed to swim here, right?

However, he starts to take off his hat and body warmer and walks slowly towards the lake, accompanied by someone holding his hand. It has gotten really dark by now. Some people are shining torches towards the water. Luang Ta first sits down with his ankles in the water. Then he stands up and the water is still on ankle level. “Ok, I understand”, I think, “they built a pathway in the lake and he’s going to walk on it”. But no, as Luang Ta continues, his monk ropes get more and more soaked in the river, until he lets go of the person holding his arm, puts his head underwater and gone, is he… Like a fish under the water. We are all like “Woaaoow”. Swami Atma soon follows, wearing a similar outfit to that of the monk. He probably isn’t wearing swimming shorts either, so he goes in fully dressed too.

Live in the now

Soon I understand that if we would follow, we would have to keep our clothes on as well. It is still a temple, Anja had not lied. The thought of not wanting to wet my clothes and the only white top that I have is passing through my head. The unspoken message of “live in the now, explore, life is meant to be fun”, is much stronger though.

Healing journey sunset lakeSuddenly we are swimming with cancer patients, caregivers, Thai university students and our entire group of people from all corners of the world. We are singing, dancing and holding the hands of each other. The experience is freeing and magical! The movement of the water is beneficial for pain relief for the patients. I feel so alive doing something so unexpected. We go out of the water and I still feel high on happiness hormone and connected to all the people around me. It feels like one of the most special moments in my life. I think this afternoon at the lake perfectly represents the mindset of this place.

Would you like to read more about the Healing Journey? Click here to read part III of this blog series!