Bangkok, Wat Phatum
“So, this was a hoax?” Ajaarn Anurak didn’t raise his voice, but the underlying anger was unmistakable and hit me like a punch in the gut. I almost fell backwards, my knees jerking out of my half-lotus position. I didn’t dare look at Ajaarn. Monks were supposed to be serene, not angry. Shivers of guilt rippled through my body. I had only myself to blame. And Luna, of course.
“No, no, Ajaarn kha! It really happened, I promise!” I bit my lips trying to come up with something else to say. If we were to need his help in the future, Luna and I had to convince him that our reason for being here was legit.
“You said you wanted to switch back, and you were ready for it. I know you both had an out-of-body experience; I sensed the change of vibration in the air,” Ajaarn Anurak insisted. “What happened? You mean to tell me you changed your mind?”
I glanced at Luna, silently begging her to help explain our conundrum.
A month earlier, she and I had taken meditation classes here at Wat Pathum Temple with Ajaarn Anurak to test our hare-brained theory of astral projection while pretending the sessions were for a school project. The principle seemed simple enough: if you can meditate to an out-of-body state, theoretically you should be able to switch bodies with someone who wants the same thing. I was keen to experience Luna’s unrestricted expat lifestyle, while she wanted to see what it was like living with my traditional family in a settled environment.
We weren’t one hundred percent convinced a mind swap was possible, but our experiment succeeded, mostly by accident. For two weeks, we had been living in each other’s body and with each other’s family. Each time I looked in the mirror, I saw Luna’s face, and she saw mine. Confusing? Definitely. Sustainable? Definitely not.
Our previous attempts at reversing the change had been unsuccessful, hence today’s session with Ajaarn Anurak, which allowed us to connect again in the astral space. We never predicted, though, that we would agree to postpone the swap back for a few extra days. Ajaarn Anurak’s anger with us was justified.
Luna cleared her throat a few times but her voice still sounded rusty. “You’re right Ajaarn. We had an out-of-body experience, and Nui and I linked up through the energy stream exactly as you explained, but we realized we need more time to resolve a few issues first.” She looked up at the Buddha behind Ajaarn. “Neither of us expected that; we only discovered this while we were connected. We honestly didn’t mean to deceive you, and we’re very sorry.” She wai’ed to Ajaarn in apology, then looked at me, eyebrows drawn together. “But what I don’t understand is why we can leave our bodies so easily when you lead the meditation, but not when we try it ourselves. Is there something you do differently, Ajaarn kha?”
I doubted Luna intended to flatter, but her apology and question worked. Ajaarn’s voice sounded more mellow again.
“No, there’s nothing I do differently. It’s all about your own expectations. You assume my voice is more powerful, therefore it is.” He continued, gravely. “So, we’re back at the beginning? You are asking me to accept that you switched bodies by mistake, but now you say you don’t want to switch back?” He rose from his lotus position, adjusted his orange robe and looked down at us, a deep frown line between his eyes. “I am disappointed you are treating meditation like a game. I suggest you figure out what you want. If you are not absolutely clear about that, don’t waste my time.” He shook his head, wai’ed to the Buddha, and walked away.