Have you ever noticed it is oftentimes the most simplest of things that carry the most depth? Like the feeling that comes from drinking a cold glass of water when you are dehydrated and thirsty? Pure and simple water quenches my thirst like nothing else and during those times when I’m really thirsty I’m always amazed at how good the water tastes, how rich and fulfilling it is. Sometimes I ask myself,

                                         ‘Why doesn’t it taste this good all the time?’  
                                                         And then I  think…or does it…
…and perhaps I’m just not as aware when I’m not so focused on satiating an arid thirst.

I traveled to Thailand recently and had the pleasure and privilege to become immersed in a culture that in a lot of ways reminded me of the same feeling I have when I experience something so simple, yet so rich, like the glass of water when I am thirsty. There is a simplicity that emanates from the people I met who carried with them a richness that was palpable; an intellectual simplicity that was refreshing.

That experience gifted me a new knowledge…a new understanding of a way to be in our world…a way to interact and a way to live by connecting with people and thinking of others before we think of ourselves. These weren’t conscious choices on their part it was how they live each day. By far, they were the richest people I have ever met. They were not materialistically rich with cars, houses, clothing and all the things our culture can fall prey to believing we need; these people were rich with the understanding that they didn’t need any of those things to feel whole, happy or worthy. They’re already whole, happy and worthy. On the surface I suspect they could come across as simple but with just a token effort it was easy to see that they had something figured out that perhaps many of us are searching for.

There is a lot of media attention these days about the idea of living an authentic life. My sense is that
                                  it’s easy to lose the truth in the search for authenticity.

The Thai people I got to know well, were rich and not deluded by attempts to be authentic, in fact, they weren’t searching or trying to be anything which was where their richness was founded. They know who they are, what they believe, how they feel and are excited to share themselves when interest is expressed. I loved that they didn’t define themselves by their work or life circumstances; those are things they do or that have happened, it isn’t who they are or how they define themselves. 

                    Do you know who you are? Do we? Do we really know who we are?   
                  Not what we do, not who we raise, not where we live…but who we are?

In Thailand, Ghing told me when I feel stress to put it in my pocket…it’s not worth feeling something that isn’t worthy and if it’s that important it will be there tomorrow and it might look a lot different after being wadded up in my pocket. Things look different with a fresh perspective and a little less ego involvement. As we walked along the riverbank and stopped for mango with sticky rice, Tam  compared the feelings of love and gratitude toward others as a gift that we hold. She asked why anyone would hold onto a gift like that without sharing it; she said if we are lucky enough to have that gift that it needs to be shared so it will grow and be shared again. And finally Chia gave me a beautiful protection amulet as I was setting off to continue my journey and said to me,don’t take fear with you on this trip or in your life, it is not a worthy companion, only be afraid of not seeking what’s around the bend”.

The Thai people taught me and I enjoyed experiences, sights, food and even elephant rides that I could never have imagined but ultimately I left Thailand a richer person for having spent time with the people. To have the awareness to enjoy whatever is in front of me (a glass of water perhaps), to allow my heart to share with others how I feel and to think of others by putting my own concerns in my pocket and consider what it might be like for someone else. These simple yet rich Thai jewels will show us how to connect with one another and that is what we need, those are things that are most important.

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven

 

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