For the last 2 days we have been resting in Mae Moei, the border town next to Myawaddy. The people here are absolutely marvellous and the atmosphere is mindblowingly relaxed. There is nothing here except a few street food stalls, a few street restaurants, and antiques, lots of them. There is nothing to do, except to be.
It seems that the bazaar here is full of ancient relics and remade ancient relics, as well as spiritual statues, charms, amulets and stones. We have been rummaging through the history and been amazed time after time. Swords from WWII, Japanese katanas, Burmese dhas, Chinese artefacts, American military axes and many, many British paraphernalia. This place shows the cultural diversity that has surrounded Myanmar for centuries, and the amount of war… Everyone has wanted a piece of it.
No wonder the Burmese wanted to keep their country closed. It is a jewel of this world that they have not wanted to be ruined by the western influence. They still have beautiful untouched lands, islands, and spirituality that has not been destroyed by the greed of money. I completely understand them, and I give them my full support. I have so much to learn from them.
We’ve been staying in a guesthouse hotel right next to the border, and they were out of non-air-conditioned rooms, so we got an air-conditioned room. It even has a water heater that actually works and the water pressure is potent. This feels like luxury.
We are cold during the night if the air-con is on, and during the day we take a cold shower, so the luxury seems a little un-needed, but every now and again, it’s nice to have it.
This is a step up from the luxury we had in Mae Sot for the one night we were there. There we had no air-con, but we had hot water without water pressure. While I was taking a shower in the warm drizzle of our Mae Sot shower, I started thinking. For me it was already luxury, but I don’t think it truly counts as luxury. Then I realised that luxury is relative, just like everything else.
When I have nothing, everything extra feels like luxury. When I get used to that extra, it stops being luxury, because it becomes normal. Then if I crave for luxury, I must get more, until that becomes normal. This is maybe why so many people keep wanting more and more and more.
In the end I realised that if I define my self worth through luxury, through the things that money can buy, I close myself from so much of the world. If I live in luxury, it becomes normal, and the rest of the world is closed off, because it is for the poor. I cannot go in the other direction because then my self worth would collapse.
If on the other hand I am poor, the world is open for me. Every step is towards more self worth. Having nothing, gives the potential for everything, and that is a luxury that money cannot buy.
To tell you the truth my favorite luxury has been swimming under the bridge in the mountain stream and sleeping in the hammock. The fresh air, true nature, and cooking on our tuk tuk is the best that money can’t buy. We’ve even been sleeping on the hard floor even though there has been a bed next to us. It just makes us feel better.
Don’t get me wrong, a little luxury now and then is of course good, it’s just a matter of perspective, and realising that everything is relative. When things become normal, they are no better or worse, so that is something I should not relate my self worth to, because it is not stable.
Juho just came back to the room. He had gone to find some food while I had fallen asleep, but ended up playing Sepak Takraw with the local police and motorbike taxi drivers in front of the police box. I told him I feel so serene after sleeping that I feel like crying. To which he replied, that the sunset this evening was more beautiful than any he has ever seen. It coloured the sky with every shade of blue going into violet, and the clouds burned so red, that he too, wanted to cry. I think today we have let go of something, again.
“I should not define myself by what befalls on my path, but what reaction I take on it.”- Juho Sarno