In a world where we can’t escape the constant hum of technology, the inevitability of conflict and the loud, persistent voices that are always telling us how to behave and how we should look, finding peace (both inner and literal) is almost impossible. Regardless of how hard we try to escape the noise, its persistent and permanent presence has us caged in a box of discomfort and sometimes insanity. So where are we to seek peace of mind in order to stay mentally and emotionally stable? Some silence the noise with drink or drugs, some hit the gym and others immerse themselves in writing, listening to or playing music, drawing etc – the world of creative arts. But what about those that don’t have a particular hobby as an outlet? What about those that want or need a guide, a mentor, an advisor? What about those that want to be transported to another world or universe – one with no noise, one where they’re alone with their own thoughts?
Despite not being in the slightest bit religious, the strong pull of the spiritual world in Thailand has made me a much calmer, more relaxed person. I have never known a race to be so quiet and unintimidating in all my life. The people here are happy, friendly and couldn’t be more helpful. Even though I know from my own knowledge that they have been brought up being told that ‘aggression is never an option’, I believe that their calm nature is also down to their beliefs, their faith and their lifelong journey seeking tranquility through prayers and worship. Having visited several temples whilst I’ve been here, I can report that the atmosphere in all of them is something really quite hard to describe. There is silence, there is tranquility and there is a real sense of ease and inner peace. It’s astounding. Each time, I have bought offerings (usually flowers, candles, or incense sticks) and I have taken it upon myself to kneel in front of a giant golden Buddha and immerse myself in this other world. I have prayed and I have wished, I have thanked and been grateful. I have reflected.
Although I almost felt guilty and certainly disrespectful taking photos of the various religious sites I visited, I felt that I couldn’t go home without attempting to capture the beauty of them.
Outside one of the smaller places of worship, located near a local market in a small village on the outskirts of the jungle. This photo shows the attention to detail of religious infrastructure. Even if you had never seen a temple in your life, the beauty of the buildings and their decorations (due to the pride of the Thai citizens and the strength of their faith) make it impossible for you to miss.
Once inside, the visual displays are breathtaking. Due to the volume of visitors, candles and incense sticks are always burning, reminding you just how many people are helped by their faith in Buddha and all that he promises.
The flower, candle and incense sticks I took in with me as offerings – bought from a little stall outside. The price of these was entirely dependent on your willingness to give, as all proceeds went to the local town which needed partly rebuilding as there had recently been a fire that destroyed homes of the residents.
This tree trunk wrapped in colourful clothing is an offering to Mother Nature, thanking her for the beauty of the environment and also protecting her, encouraging the tourist industry to preserve the trees and wildlife as their belief is that every living organism on Earth has a spirit that has a right to be free from ownership or interference.
And finally, a piece of art for sale in the hotel I’m currently staying at (Centara Grand Beach Resort – check it out, it’s pretty fabulous!) which embodies the peace and tranquility of the Thai people.
Pretty special, right? I may have to make a trip to the nearest temple tomorrow and pray for good health, as I am currently in an unbearable amount of pain from what can only be a migraine. I’ve never experienced anything like it and the bright screen of my laptop glaring at me while I write this post is certainly not helping. Ill health on holiday is never welcome!
Hope you’re all enjoying the run up to Christmas and that you’re getting yourselves organised (if not, don’t panic – we’ve all been there).
Love, Beth xo.