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Christmas in Thailand

From left: Nina London, friend Guy Harriman and husband Bill Rosser at Lanna Yoga, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Photograph supplied)

Christmas Day in Thailand was unlike any Christmas I have ever experienced.

We could hear the faint sound of monks chanting in the nearby temple, and Bill and I looked at each other, smiling because there was nothing ‘Christmassy’ to do. Thailand is a Buddhist society and December 25 is just another day.

Nonetheless, we received an invitation to a Christmas light party hosted by our friend, Guy Harriman, and an invitation to anything from Guy is an event not to be missed.

We drove through the crumbling 12th century stone walls of the ancient capital of Chiang Mai, weaving through endless rice fields, where farmers dragged ploughs behind water buffaloes. We crept slowly into small villages crowded with street vendors hawking papayas, mangos, dragon fruit, coconuts, bananas, and chilli peppers alongside squids, shrimp, and strange fish on folding tables heaped with ice.

Guy has lived for many years at his remote Lana Yoga Center, an imposing octagonal pyramid, nearly impossible to find, even with google maps. It stands alone in a vast plain to the south of mountains where tigers still roam near the borders of Burma, Laos and Cambodia.

When we arrived, all was quiet except for the wind and the far away sound of small bells.

We opened the door into the huge room that is the heart of Lana Yoga Center and walked into a sacred space of wonders. On pedestals sat crystals the size of big watermelons, and they cast coloured fractals with the light pouring in from picture windows lining the walls.

I rang a huge emblazoned gong and listened to the vibrations shimmer away and back to me. Behind the gong was a long padded table with a golden light fixture suspended over the far end. This is the Ajna Light.

It is on this comfortable table that you lie with your eyes closed under the flickering Ajna Light and travel through time and space.

Guy Harriman was a chip designer and worked with Steve Jobs in the early days of Apple in Silicon Valley. He dropped out, moved to Thailand and became a monk.

In 2014, he had an epiphany, a realisation. In his higher state of awareness he built the first Ajna Light.

He insists: “It had nothing to do with me. I was just a conduit. The technical instructions just flowed through me.”

The result was a pure white LED light array controlled by a small computer. It flashes sequences that send you into a deep and colourful meditative state. The most advanced monks at Chiang Mai University said that it took them several hours of meditation to reach the deep level the Ajna Light produces in minutes.

Guy appeared in the far doorway. I had a brief thought of Mahatma Gandhi as he walked smiling towards us, a lean, bald figure with sparkling eyes. We had not seen each other in the almost two years since the Thai border closed.

“How are you?” I said eagerly.

Dispensing with small talk, he told us straight away.

“This has been the best two years of my life,” he said. “I stayed here and had few visitors. I have been alone with my practice and have gone to a far higher level.”

I know that Guy is an early riser and he does a minimum of five hours of yoga and Qigong, daily, without exception. He eats one simple meal.

One look at him confirmed his statement. He emanated calm energy. His voice was gentle and he moved with an inner poise and grace. After years of hard work, Guy had found his own inner light.

I will not try and recount all he told us that long, sunny afternoon. In our honour, he had made chocolate from cacao and spices, and it was indescribably delicious.

We sat in the rainbows from the crystals, and I thought here is a rare soul, who has seen the pandemic as a blessing, as he sees all things, and in my heart I felt the wonder of Christmas.

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Published December 30, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated December 30, 2021 at 7:44 am)

Christmas in Thailand

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