Expectations for Chom Tong retreat
I arrived in Thailand two days ago. I am now sitting in a cafe in Chiang Mai, and in within the hour I am going to taken a public taxi to Wat Chom Tong to begin a 21 day retreat.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the retreat is uncertainty. In the weeks leading up to now, I have thought about what to do at the retreat to make it go well. For example, even though I believe they say reading is not allowed, I considered bringing printed Thanissaro Bhikku talks in case I found the teachings uninspiring or needed some encouragement. But those thoughts did not lead me to a clear path for making the retreat go well, so now I feel I am facing the unknown. I really don’t know how it will go. It is uncomfortable, but now that I am acknowledging the uncertainty here, I hope it will be easier to have an open mind at the retreat and recognize that it is a chance for growth, which is not always smooth.
I’m also concerned about dealing with mosquitoes. I’m not sure whether to apply mosquito repellant on my clothes, and I don’t know how often to apply the repellant. I wonder if this will be a burden on my mind during the retreat.
Though I have these concerns, I have the idea that the retreat will be pleasant and will bring me cool experiences. The technique seems to be Mahasi noting, and when I have done Shinzen Young’s labeling technique I found it brought me into a very concentrated state. In addition, because there seems to be quite a bit of walking meditation at first, I am not expecting as much physical pain as in other retreats. Finally, the housing seems quite comfortable, with private bathrooms.
I don’t know what the instruction will be like. I hope it will be good — from what I read it seemed to have more personal attention from good English speakers than similar places such as Wat Ram Poeng and Wat Doi Suthep.
To wrap things up, I’ll note that on the retreat, I’m planning to use Douglas Tartaryn’s 9 Core Feelings (including “helpless,” “alone”) in times of distress.
After the retreat, I hope to look back on these thoughts and see how they relate to how things actually turn out.