Sitting still at the top of the world

Yesterday Hannah and I participated in one of the most random events of my time(s) in Jordan- a meditation session hosted by the Royal Thai Embassy, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan Meditation Club, and the Jordanian-Thai Center for Meditation, Self-Development, and Cultural Promotion (JTMC).

I have done yoga for a bit of time now but am still not super good at the whole ‘sit still and be quiet in your head and body’ thing, so I thought this would be a good experience for me in addition to being located at my absolute favorite spot in Amman. I find the mental practice of meditation appealing as I know I have a tendency to run at full speed in my head until I burn out, and simply growing the ability to create a calm space within myself is a skill I’d like to be better at.

The Citadel is located on a hill in Amman with gorgeous views of the surrounding city. Ruins that are thousands of years old are layered upon each other here, remnants of the Umayyad, Byzantine, and Roman empires. The meditation took place in the old courtyard of the Temple of Hercules (epic).

The Temple of Hercules

The Temple of Hercules

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The full moon coming up

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All around us you could see kites flying in the wind, a popular pastime for kids. The kites flew over the face of the moon as it rose and the different colors popped against the brown of the buildings surrounding us.

Rugs were spread out on the ground and many people had brought their own mats or pillows to sit on. There were so many kinds of people there- everyone from expats to hijabi women, kids and teenagers wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the names of heavy metal rock bands. The sun slowly began to set over the hills and it got a bit chilly, but I was excited to get going.

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From atop The Citadel you can hear the call to prayer as it begins from mosques around the city. I was here on my first full day in Amman listening to that sound and thinking, ‘I’m going to like it here.’ Watching the sun set and seeing Amman transition between day and night is truly an experience.

The full moon rose over another hill and we settled in for the meditation. Although the announcer’s voice and the shuffling of people around me was distracting I felt myself very much relaxing into the wind, the sound, the silence that was there. Being among such a large, diverse group of people in this stunning place was extraordinary.

Hannah and I walked around the complex a bit after we were done and then meandered our way down the hill to grab some dinner. While we were walking we looked back and noticed that people had made paper lanterns that were drifted slowly up out of The Citadel, past the full moon which had risen over Amman.

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You can see a few of the laterns

You can see a few of the lanterns

It was beautiful until some of the paper lanterns caught fire and fell out of the sky (kind of like my dreams) and dinner at Hashem’s was the cherry on top of a memorable evening!

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Temple of Hercules at night

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The Roman Amphitheater downtown

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Old Umayyed-era mosque

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And the sunset this evening. Gorgeous!

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