I find I have a bit of cultural arrogance. I am not of Thai descent. And I have only been here in Thailand for 3 months. Still, I guess because I am having such a wonderful time here, and the people for the most part have a beautiful spirit and have embraced me as one of their own, I feel, much like America is my home, and England is my home, Thailand is my home. After three days in Laos, when I did finally return and cross the border, and all the papers had been checked, and there were no more men in uniforms stamping documents, and I could get into a Thai taxi and go to the airport, I said to my travel companion, doesn’t this feel good? Thailand opens my heart.
I arrived in Laos, and assumed that everyone there spoke Thai. Since I have learned a bit of Thai, I was sharing my Thai speak with quite a few Laotians. Finally one of them, a woman running a BBQ salted fish stand, told me that there are differences. Kob Kuhn Krab, which means thank you in Thailand, does not mean the same thing in Laos. She seemed a bit irritated that I had made such an arrogant assumption. She taught me the Laotian version of thank you, which sounds like Kob Jay.
While this might seems like a little thing, it got me to thinking about how much I think I know, and because of that arrogance, I miss much of what is really going on. I have a challenging time remaining in what Zen books refer to as beginner’s mind. There is an openness and receptivity that maximizes my life experience. When I stop thinking I know everything about everything, life works much better. When I can see each person, and each experience, as a teacher, life starts to flow, and magic returns to my life.
The flip side of this is that when I think I know all, life becomes predictable, life lacks spontaneity, and magic disappears. I see people who are smug, who have seen quite a bit of life, been there and done that, and they are not people I want to be around. They like to speak, and not to listen. They speak with self-proclaimed authority rather than with generosity and magnanimity. Their life appears to be a clenched fist rather than an open hand. Going to Laos reminded me I don’t want to be that guy. Thank you Laotian BBQ salted fish lady for reminding me that I can still be an arrogant American jerk from time to time.
About the Author
Jay Cradeur is an author, blogger, internet marketer, world traveler, and coach. Jay has helped thousands to achieve their dreams of financial independence. As an internet marketing coach with a focus on personal development, Jay may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. You can work with Jay for a 100% refundable fee of $49 by clicking on this link and committing to your future. Work with Coach Jay.