Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I felt my HeartShift from spectator to participant

Most celebrations in Thailand are associated with the lunar calendar.

So to see that The International 10,000 Monk Walk was on the same date last year and the year before, not only did I know that I was safe to plan my day around it, but I also knew it had to be a really important to the people here.  (This was good because it started at 6:00am on a Sunday morning…need I say more?)

The monks here in Thailand are all supported by charitable contributions called alms.  

This can be in the form of food, drink, flowers and sometimes, money. 

This however, is not charity in the usual sense as we know it in the West. Instead, it is given as an opportunity to connect as humans to the Spiritual realms. 

The monks perform daily rituals and prayers and teachings that service the Buddhist community which comprises approximately 90% of the population.

These alms are given without seeking anything in return.  

This is simply, a way to pay respect and to practice generosity. 

This collection of alms takes place a few times a week here in Thailand as the monks walk the streets collecting food and drinks from the local people as well as from the businesses and merchants.

This 'walk' was different…its purpose was to not only collect alms for the Thai monks, but also for the monks of Laos and Myanmar as well. (formally known as Burma) 

So I knew it would be huge, but I didn't realize just how huge this was…
About a mile long strip of road covered in cloth to create a sacred space…….thousands of people quietly, reverently, peacefully taking their places in the median created in that space, as well as lining the sidewalks many people deep. 

Hundreds of young monk and military cadets lining up, sitting in lotus position to create aisles for the monks walking.  

Still without the light of day, the chanting and teachings could be heard and felt reverberating through each of us in waves like blankets of sound as they were delivered over a loudspeaker. 

Even moments of silence, deafening with its quiet. 

There was a hush, and then it came.  The sun rose casting it's brilliance over the shadows of the buildings that gave form to the formless.  Taking it all in, I felt my HeartShift from spectator to partner, from receiving to giving.
Our hearts beating as one palpitating in anticipation, our minds focused as one thought, our intentions to BE one.  

We were all illuminated and bathed in the light of that special moment where friend and foreigner joined in prayer and welcomed the first line of senior monks in...

And then they all came...thousands of monks, young and old, big and small...all with their heads bowed in prayer and gratitude.

What I witnessed then was a heart filled giving of the likes I have never seen.

Each monk carrying a covered bowl at first, spreading their blessings and then, only after they had given what they had come to give, returning until their bowl was filled, emptied, and refilled many times over. 

They kept coming, and the alms did the same.

People giving their offerings and then without needing any explanations, simply retreated and opened up their space for another and another and another to come forward. 

No pushing, no shoving, no cross words or exchanges.  Simple, orderly, efficient shared purpose… all to give their thanks, to pay their respects, to share their love, to practice being generous and to guarantee their futures.

An abundant heart lives in abundance. 
Giving Alms

That's me giving alms, practicing generosity. I can see clearly now why Thailand is known as, "The Land of Smiles".  

I'm smiling now just thinking about it.  Are you smiling too? Feels great doesn't it?

In celebration of this New Year, how can you practice generosity? Where would your alms serve best?

Oh, I wish you were here. It's truly Heaven on Earth! 

With much love and heart filled gratitude,
Marcy, The HeartShift Coach