Todays world seems to move at an extraordinarily fast pace. People rushing around, stress from work, deadlines. Sometimes you just need to get away from it all and relax and be on your own. More and more people these days are quitting their 9 to 5 jobs and heading off to farther fields. There is a big world out there apparently! Many are choosing to do this on their own because they simply just want to get away from people and you can see the appeal. Plan for yourself, stay where you want, go to bed when you want and more importantly, wake up when you want – unless you have a bus to catch or something. Have you ever considered this though for a perfect getaway from it all – a meditation break – because some holidays are just for single travellers.
Meditation itself is not a new thing. Some people generally associate it with Buddhism but this is a (popular) misconception as it has been traced back to Vedantism, a Hindu tradition, some 1500 years before the Christian era. It is believed that the concept of Buddhist meditation was actually taught to the Buddha at a meditative school by Hindu scholars Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta and later developed into todays traditional Buddhist meditative method. Many people believe that meditation has a number of benefits such as relieving stress, improving their concentration and even as far as slowing down the process of ageing.
A place becoming increasingly popular with travellers wishing to take a break from it all is the central Southeast Asian country of Cambodia. Providing easy visa regulations, excellent value for money, safety and a warm and friendly welcome by locals, it is fast becoming Southeast Asia’s destination for single travellers. A somewhat checkered history – most people associate it with the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970’s – it has however some amazing Angkor architecture, most famously Angkor Wat which was rediscovered in 1860 by French naturalist Henri Mahout, although there are reports of missionaries visiting Angkor five years previously.
There are of course many commercial meditation retreats in Cambodia, but if you really want an authentic experience it is possible to walk into any pagoda, or Wat, in Cambodia and the monks will welcome you in and let you stay and learn from them completely free of charge. That’s the nature of Cambodia and unquestionably the nature of Buddhism.