Tag Archives: Thailand

Post card from An Urban Mystic in Chiang Mai

An Urban Mystic in Chiang Mai

© An Urban Mystic in Chiang Mai, at the foot of Doi Suthep.

This week’s post was originally supposed to have been called ” The Law of Attraction Part IV” , but I just had to take a moment to pause, reflect and put pen to paper ( or is it key to monitor?) my thoughts from over the last few weeks. Destiny sometimes takes you into the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times. And with good reason. Sometimes the perspectives of an entire lifetime can change in an instant. And so it was this time when I travelled to Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai, relatively lesser known than it’s more populous counterpart Bangkok, is the second largest city in Thailand. A calm and peaceful haven which appeals to both back packers and luxury tourists alike, Chiang Mai is fast becoming a must-do on the average tourist’s Thailand itinerary. Tourist attractions include site visits to historical places of interest, elephant farms, night markets, cooking classes, yoga, meditation and massage schools. However, the big highlight of the trip for me ( aside from learning how to cook pad thai :-)) was my morning alms giving to Buddhist monks and the site visit to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, more popularly known as Doi Suthep, a spectacular Buddhist temple which is visible from any vantage point within Chiang Mai.

Doi Suthep

© Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand

I was eager and excited about seeing Buddhist monks , having felt a closeness to Buddha ever since I was a child. And I was hoping in my own whimsical way that my tour guide would be someone who would make me comfortable with that whole experience of receiving blessings and visiting a highly revered Buddhist temple. As it turned out, Joy just happens to be a remarkable woman full of innate grace and compassion. 3 hours flew by like racing thunderbirds in her illumined presence and contained wisdom. “A lot of people are unhappy with their lives, wanting to end them and escape. Many talk of committing suicide even. But this life, it’s incredible. And they are many things that are beautiful and joyous in living. The important thing is to control your thoughts. Because it’s your thoughts that lead you down through that never ending spiral,” she said as she drove us both towards the foot of Doi Suthep. And she would know wouldn’t she?, having lost her husband, brother and son , all within the close space of 2 years.

Joy says she started to meditate in an attempt to control her thinking, especially after the many tragedies she encountered in her life. She found it difficult initially, but with consistent practice is now able to sit for periods of upto an hour daily in meditative silence.” When you meditate, let the thoughts surface and drift. Observe and consider. In your life too consider the things that happen around you without judgement. Reach a point where you are able to consider and not judge and question everything that occurs in your life.” I guess for many of us city dwellers and/or restless souls, that really is key. Being able to reach that stage in life where things don’t ruffle you, and you can see the events that go on in your life for what they really are,without struggle and strife.

Joy, my Tourguide from Blue Elephant Tours, Thailand

© Joy, my Tourguide from Blue Elephant Tours, Thailand

Joy also found a lot of other benefits in maintaining a regular and consistent meditation practice. She now has incredible focus and concentration, and finds that she is able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously without feeling overwhelmed. She also has increasing ability to stay in the present moment and have her mind focus on the person or task at hand. “Worrying about the future is fear based thinking. Your life is what goes on in the present moment. Don’t worry about the things yet to come and lose sight of what you have now.”

Joy taught me many things during the drive and her educational tour. A lot of things I already knew in a fuzzy sort of way, but somewhow hearing everything from her perspective, phrased in a different sort of turn, made everything start to make sense and fall into place.

When I eventually kneeled before my monk , having placed into his alms-bowl my small offerings of food , all my fears and worries had dissolved into a calm, clear pool of nothingness. I poured water from the jug onto the ornate silver plate asking for the blessings of my ancestors, forgiveness for any wrong doings and resolution from my accumulated karmas. The sound of the chants and their blessings exploded into my head in a rush of light and heat energy as I made my merit to the spirits of the past. My future is ahead of me and a treasure of immense value. It is worth holding onto and worth looking forward to.

Hopefully your moment of Nirvana doesn’t have to arrive miles away in Chiang Mai like it did for me. But I hope that when it does, you can recognise it and learn to apply it in a way that helps you see the true beauty and light that already exists in your life.


© Irene Lopez  and An Urban Mystic’s Blog, 2013


My Award Nominations

Award Nominations image credit www.avca.org

Award Nominations
image credit http://www.avca.org

I’ve been nominated for the following awards by my fellow bloggers in the wordpress community.

1)Liebster Blog Award by Miss Elaineous of http://mirage231.wordpress.com/ as well as sparkyleegeek of http://sparkyleegeek.wordpress.com/ and mirage231 of http://mirage231.wordpress.com/

2) First Cup Award by Naresh of http://dreamlenz.com/

3) Versatile Blogger Award by Salvatore of http://freedomoftheheart.com/ as well as nattietee of http://lovelightlearn.wordpress.com/

Thank you for the nomination my friends, and thank you for passing on the encouragement and the kind words 🙂

Since I’ve accumulated a few awards now , to simplify the process I’ve just followed the rules just for the one Liebster Blog Award which is given to new bloggers with less than 200 followers to recognise and promote them. The word ‘liebster’ is of German origin and means ‘beloved’ or ‘dearest’ . Each nominee in turn selects 11 other nominations to receive the awards. Read on to see the rules and also stay tuned to find out if you’ve been selected to be one of my chosen nominations! 🙂

The following are the rules of participation for the Liebster Award:

  • Post the Award on your blog
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you for this award and link them in your post.
  • Write 11 random facts about you.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked of you.
  • Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Recognize 11 other bloggers that you think deserve this award, and try to avoid nominating bloggers who already have a Liebster Award nomination. Notify them of your nomination and post your link.

Here are the 11 random facts about me:

  1. I’m a closet Mystic. I have a boring day time job in the meantime. My blog is as close as it gets to career satisfaction 🙂
  2. Good food brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my soul. It’s like having a blanket but it fills you inside too. Besides, I can do no work on an empty fuel tank. I like my regular 3-4 pit stops for grazing.
  3. I play music when I’m struggling with my blog writing. It’s my muse.  An aphrodisiac of sorts, but for writing.
  4. I cannot sleep in complete darkness . It always scares me. It’s getting better with time though.
  5. I was a vegetarian for a full year. I called it exploration.
  6. My secret fantasy( which is no longer a secret), is to shave off my hair and eyebrows and live in a Buddhist monastery for a year. And I get to keep the saffron robes as my souvenir.
  7. I worry at times I’ll run out of ideas for my blog. But I don’t think I’m alone in that, and that’s comforting.
  8. My favourite colors are purple , white and maroon and that’s mostly because people say I look pretty in them.
  9. I don’t think I’ll ever grow up.  And some day I’ll be 100% comfortable in my zone.
  10. My house is filled with so many books, I barely have space for myself. I’m in danger of being overthrown.
  11. I actually dislike talking about myself. 🙂

Here are my answers to the questions posted by Miss Elaineous:

Q1. Your favorite book:

Autobiography of a Yogi. I had seen this book many times before in book shops and never felt the urge to skim or purchase. It struck me as one of those books meant for yogis or fledgling mystics, going purely by the title. Let that be a lesson to literally never judge a book by it’s cover.  After stumbling across several raving reviews , my curiosity was piqued and I eventually picked up a copy to read. I was incredibly blown away by the contents. If you thought the life of an evolved yogi was dull , think again. It’s anything but.  Paramahansa Yogananda’s life story has magic, inspiration and love strewn across all it’s pages. Tis the stuff of candy-coated and multicoloured dreams.

Q2. The most memorable outing/expedition/trip/journey you’ve been to.

Chiang Mai in Thailand, last weekend. I got a blessing from a Buddhist monk, learnt how to cook Pad Thai, discovered the roots to my most deepest fears. My outlook on life has been turned 180 degrees on it’s head and I hope I never look back.

Q3. Your favorite place in the whole world.

I’m pretty partial to Thailand these days.

Q4. Would you rather undertake a journey by rail, car, air or sea and why?

I’ve travelled a lot by air and by car. Rail and/or Sea are next.

Q5. Tea or coffee?

Coffee hands down! 🙂 I love having a weekend morning cuppa at the local Indian joint called Saravana Bhavan. It’s a very special type of coffee called “filter coffee” unique to the Southern region of India. A perfect blend of sweetness and bitterness and packed with enough punch to kickstart sleepy nerve endings. I know there are a lot of Starbucks and Costa afficionados out there. No offence guys. Filter coffee holds pride of place in my heart. Nothing truly compares and to each his own.

Q6. Your favorite movie Or Three.

It’s tough picking one from so many of the great movies out there.

Q7. Cats or Dogs?

I once lived with an aunt who had a menagerie of cats, dogs, kittens, puppies and one squirrel. It’s like having a family with different personalities. It’s true that cats are not outwardly as affectionate as dogs are but they are incredibly fantastic listeners. And they listen with a certain detached poise and grace. But there’s nothing like dogs for loud , messy and exuberant loving.

Q8. Favorite superhero and why?

There was a cartoon that used to air on TV in the 80’s called Rainbow Brite featuring a little girl protagonist of the same name. According to the blurb , ” she is the main source of light and color of the planet earth, as it is her job to make everything beautiful”.  Pretty much sums it up I think.  I’m not sure if I’ve outgrown her now, but yeah it was magic for a while.

Q9. Favorite website.

When I find one I really like, I’ll post it on here for sure.

Q10. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to change the world for the better. An Urban Mystic’s blog is one small step hopefully in the right direction.

Q11. If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

Anything that caused large scale destruction to innocent people and life on planet earth.

And finally( drum rolls please)! Here are a few blogs that  I’m nominating for the Leibster Award. Stay tuned as remaining 7 spots to be filled very soon 🙂

1. http://bethanyelizabeth10.wordpress.com/

2. http://freddiewalton.wordpress.com/

3 .http://23seafield.wordpress.com/


These are the questions for my nominees:

  1. How would you describe your blog (in 50 words or less).
  2. What inspires you to keep writing.
  3. If you were marooned on an island for 10 days and had a choice of 1 person to be with, who would you pick and why?
  4. Your favourite book.
  5. What do you think really makes the world go round.
  6. Your opinion of my blog 🙂 ( had to sneak that in)
  7. Your idea of a great date.
  8. Do you get stressed ever and how do you work it out.
  9. What are your thoughts on reincarnation.
  10. What do you think is your best quality.
  11. And what do you think we can do more of to make the world a more beautiful place.

 Good luck, congratulations and have fun!