(Vipassana meditation retreat)
I am now back from my second meditation retreat. I woke up at 4am yesterday then spend 10 hours travelling on various buses and trains from Hereford, and was rather exhausted when I arrived home at 8pm. But the landlord/flatmate told me I looked good and thinner. Thinner is no wonder as all I ate was breakfast at 6.30am and lunch at 11am for 10 days.
But the food was marvellousely, gorgeously and yummily wholesome, packed with health, energy and goodness, and I was never hungry until 9.15pm bedtime.
I have probably experienced the most intense and difficult time of my life these 10 days. But the most incredible, rewarding, beneficial one, too. I feel blessed and content, happy and joyful. These ten days, I have patiently watched very intense emotions coming out of my lower back, with my concentrated mind piercingly hammering through that moving, concrete-like block of gross, heated and suffocated sensations in my lower back. Day after day, hour after hour, moment after moment, for 10 hours a day. I cried every single day from the fourth day until the very last one. It was so hard, yet so fascinating and so rewarding. I had known from my heart before going that something good would come out of this retreat. Now that I knew what was going on, it was obvious: I could from day one identify what work I was going through - I was continuing the work on my lower back I had started during my Alexander Technique sessions with Robert. I was getting rid of that bad habit of sitting too much forward on my buttock bones, by bringing it into awareness dislocating that habit that had made me have to release my lower back after every yoga session for so long. I was strengthening my back for it to help me carry the violin. Knowing this made me so happy in my turmoil, and inspired me to keep on working and working... until the sensations finally dissolved on the very last day, to my amazement, relief and massive feeling of accomplishment. Today my lower back feels broader, and on my way home I started noticing how much lighter my rucksack felt on my back!
You never know how you are going to react to a situation until the situation happens. Even more than before I cannot say "If this and that happened to me I would react like this or that" or "I wish this and that had happened". Life is in the moment, everything else is illusion. Last year after Noble Silence ended I was so happy and laughed for hours. This time it was completely different. After the end of the last meditation I was very emotional and the "Be happy" words of the teachers when they left the meditation hall made me burst out in tears. When I left the hall, a woman asked me "So how was it?" to which I said, in tears "Oh it was so bloody hard!". She replied, "Yes, I know, I tried to send you some metta (loving kindness)." I burst out once more, touched to the heart again by those amazing words. I had to spend some time in my meditating cell letting the tears run down, focusing on my breath until I could face talking to the others. Once that stage had passed though, it was even more beautiful and joyful to speak to my fellow meditators, than it had been last year. Such wonderful and mindful people, from the year-long travelling woman from Colorado who had stopped by between Egypt and Marocco, the young Belgian guy who was sitting his sixth retreat in the last year and who was on his way to sit another one in India, from the ever so inspiring young Australian lady whom I've met and who lives in... Edinburgh!
This meditation retreat was such a deep lesson for me. It has very much deepened my understanding and love for Dhamma, the Law of Nature. Maybe I could even call it God now, but then I am still not quite sure. I will forever surrender in Dhamma, however creepy it may sound for many people who will (or not) read this text. Again, and perhaps even more than ever before, everything falls into place. I am on the right path; it is so obvious to me, I am where I am meant to be in my Life. I couldn't even be envious of the travelling American woman because really, my place here and now is in Edinburgh with my job ith people with learning difficulties. And my yoga, my singing, and my violin.
I felt amazing "byproducts" of the meditation too, of my increased awareness. How strongly I felt my emotions in my tummy, especially on the most difficult two days. Ayurveda tells me I have a Kapha/Pitta (earth+eather/fire) constitution, and I feel it in my body. My sleep was so deep that one time I woke up thinking I had slept one hour when I had slept just 10 minutes. The dreams were numerous and fast; my defunct brother kept visiting me in those dreams. But most interesting of all, I was so aware on the last two days, that I could feel myself gradually falling asleep. I wasn't sure on two occasions if I had slept, because it sort of felt like I was aware of sleeping...
The body is such an adaptable tool; if we could live inside rather than outside it, without interfering with it all the time, we would realise how reliable and wonderful a guide it is to us. The mind is such an amazing thing, yet we are so afraid of looking because we are scared of the madness within. But the madness within is a part of mind, a healthy and universal part of it. If we could just look with equanimity and acceptance that this is us, we would be so much more complete, sane and happy... Really, we don't realise how much there is to the mind until we accept to look at it. There is so, so much more than our gross senses allow us to see... Life is wonderful infinity.
May you all be happy...
A note on my three blogs
A note on my blogs
(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...
(2) sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!
(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.