At the heart of Kamalaya health retreat in Koh Samui is a sacred cave once used by Buddhist monks for meditation.

Buddhist monks have long favoured Koh Samui in Thailand as a sanctuary for spiritual retreat. The island, they say, has a special energy that enriches and enlightens their spiritual path. At the heart of Kamalaya health retreat on Koh Samui is a cave once inhabited and used by Buddhist monks as a place of meditation. This cave houses an amazing energy and has the ability to calm and relax. I felt incredible stillness in this cave and found it easy to melt into the tranquillity and love that filled the space. I sat with the intention of ‘listening’ to whatever it was I needed to hear and share with you.

One very profound message that came through was about the absolute need for gratitude. I have always considered myself to be a grateful person, but this energy wanted me to know that that is still not enough. I discovered that I spend too much time focusing on what I don’t have, what I am yet to achieve, and what I am lacking. The key to inner peace is to focus only on what you have and spend very little time focusing on what you still want. If you focus on what you have, and feel thankful, you begin to move into a vibration of gratitude. Gratitude needs to become your default position, rather than a state that you fluctuate in and out of.

Inner peace is found through gratitude for who you are, what you have, and continually feeling a simple appreciation for life. You may ask, "How do I find my inner peace without having to fly to Thailand and meditate in a cave?" I asked this same question when speaking with a master of ceremonies at Kamalaya. He educated me about meditation – Thai style. Firstly, you need a little statue of Buddha, a small water bowl and three incense sticks. The Buddha represents peace and all the beliefs that come through detachment from the ‘learning’ world. The water represents cleansing, purity, cool, and calm. The incense, I discovered, represents quite a lot.

Sacred incense

The first recorded use of incense was by Egyptians during the first dynasty. Incense holds an important role in East Asian Buddhist ceremonies and rites as well as Chinese Taoist and Japanese Shinto shrines. It is suggested to be a method of purifying the surroundings, bringing forth an assembly of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods, and demons. In Chinese Taoist and Buddhist temples, the inner spaces are scented with thick-coiled incense. Worshippers light and burn sticks of incense in bundles that they wave above their heads while bowing to the statues or plaques of a deity or an ancestor. Individual sticks are then vertically placed into individual censers located in front of the statues or plaques either singly or, as I was instructed, in groups of three.

Incense is used to burn a Buddhist monk or nun’s scalp during ordination and the burning usually lasts for five minutes. It produces six, nine, or twelve circular scars, called ‘jieba’ or ordination scars on the scalp after suffering great pain from the burning. Here are 14 scents that represent different healing qualities and abilities. Ideal meditation days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Place the Buddha in front of you, facing you, with the water bowl and the three incense sticks in front of Buddha. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, relax, and allow. Meditation is a time to listen to the Universe and hear the messages that are meant just for you.

Opium: For inspiration and uplifting. Stimulating aphrodisiac and arouses sexual desire.

Vanilla: Brings memories of childhood with everlasting moments of joy. Soothes and balances your mind and soul.

Citronella: Clears the head and refreshes the body. Also used as a mosquito and insect repellent.

Lavender: Balances the nervous and emotional systems. Helps with anxiety, grief, negative attitudes, depression, exhaustion, insomnia, moodiness, phobias, and hysteria.

Cinnamon: Used for removing nervous tension and memory loss. It is helpful in stimulating and balancing.

Green tea: Soothes the body, mind, and spirit. It creates a mood of oneness with nature and helps to bring you into a more balanced, harmonious state of consciousness.

Jasmine: Has the ability to provide confidence, creativity, happiness, reflection, and self-awareness. Highly recommended for meditation. It is also a mood enhancer, lifting anxiety and depression. It is excellent for restless sleepers.

Peppermint: Helps to relieve stress, depression, and mental exhaustion. It is good for headaches, anxiety, and restlessness.

Orange: Brings happy thoughts to the mind. Helps you to calm down after a hard day. Good for relieving inflammation. It is also an aphrodisiac helping with loss of interest in sex.

Orchid: Helps relieve headaches and fatigue.

Rose: Inspires emotional calm and stability. Boosts self-esteem, confidence, and increases mental strength. Fights depression and invokes romantic feelings.

Sandalwood: Useful for relaxing, enhancing sleep, clearing depression, anxiety and inflammation. It is also valuable in meditation and yoga practices. Centres and calms the mind.

Rosemary: Stimulates mental activity and is good for depression, headaches, mental fatigue, and forgetfulness. Helps with study, freshens the room, and repels insects.

Noni Boon is a wellbeing coach and has an on-line video course on BalanceByDeborahHutton. Noni helps women become physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit. Find out more at Learn more about Kamalaya at