This trip gets crazier by the minute. Two of Trevor’s academic peers and fellow PIs on this trip, Gord Binsted and Olav Krigolson, had arranged a fascinating study looking into the effects meditation on cognitive function. And who are people that are good at meditation? Monks. And where do lots of monks hang out? Well on Friday, pretty much all the monks in the Khumbu were chilling at Namche Bazaar, 6 kilometres away. Did Kait and I want to join them to film it all? Yes. Yes indeed. So we rolled out of bed at 5 am once again to do our daily measures (lung function, blood oxygen saturation etc), get an early breakfast and hoof it up the valley to Namche by ten o’clock. This part of the trip was killer. The first 2.7 kilometres were quite flat but the second bit shot 600 metres up the side on the hill. At around 3500 metres it was quite a slog for this seasider. David – it was just like Brewster, only with check-posts and guys with guns! Gord tells me it’s going to be even harder than that tomorrow. Yay!
When we arrived in Namche we were met by a gent called Ulco. Danish by decent but now living in Colorado, he has ties to the Dalai Lama and the local monk establishment and was able to help facilitate the study by pulling some serious strings. So we rocked on up to the monastery and were greeted with biscuits and tea, then lead through to a meditation room where the team set up. Then some senior monks came in, sat down, were hooked up and with the help on an interpreter, proceeded to meditate and play games on a MacBook all while having their brainwaves recorded. Things snowballed and wave after wave of monks came through, right through to a bunch of little monks (maybe ten years old or so) who, while not able to meditate, ran through the protocol regardless. The guys gathered a tonne of data; the session couldn’t have gone any better. I was able to grab some great footage too. All up, the day was incredible. I think Kait will describe it in more detail; right I am still trying to process it. 🙂