There is a path up the small hill in the center of this photo — but a gate barrier kept us out and the attendant, who charges the entry fee, was not there. The hill has a path that leads to the Pha Poak Cave. There are a number of caves around the town of Vang Vieng.
This is a shrine outside of the Lusi Cave. Burning a candle or incense appeases the local spirits.
There is a climb to get to the cave entrance. Karen decides not to go — the climb requires both hands and she does not want to test her broken shoulder. The photo above shows the view into the cave.
This is what it looks like inside the cave. It cost 10,000 kips and for that you get a headlamp. A guide collects the money and went with me into the cave. He does not speak much English but he points out dangerous places inside the cave.
This is one of the formations inside the cave. The footing is difficult and treacherous, particularly at the beginning.
Some forms of shamanic meditation involve seeing yourself descending into a cave. You can imagine going down and relaxing more and more deeply as you go.
A rock formation inside the cave.
In reality, caving requires careful movement — in the shaman exercise, it is imagination. In the inner voyage, you can encounter spirits.
In the actual voyage, you encounter darkness and rocks.
I did not pay extra to go all the way to the deep water. This was not a difficult cave but the cave floor is uneven and slippery in places. The giude showed enthusiasm for the special rock formations.
Spirits can be dangerous — but actually you are encountering the rocky places inside your own mind. There are parts of your inner self that work against you — that can thwart your future success.
We reach a deep part of the cave — the turn-around point. I take a photo of the guide.
We exit the cave and climb down from the mouth. The guide and I celebrate my survival.
Karen and I walk back. I practice walking meditation. I flow through time and space. The air flows through me…in and out.
Breathing in…breathing out…listening to the bird.
I walk around town, breathing in and out. The bridge is at the heart of the tourist area.
I walk past a kayak rental shop with sign in Chinese. I avoid obstacles.
Here is another view from the bridge.
Notice the balloon at the beginning of the video — this is later in the afternoon and they have the music cranked up.
Most people do not believe in spirits these days. The inner world, the one you encounter when you go deep within, is populated with the phenomena that your mind creates.
In Laos, this world includes spirits. By living in harmony with your inner world, you can avoid obstacles and flow through it.