It’s been a long journey of integration since we returned from Vipassana, and I have not felt like writing much. I’ve enjoyed doing some drawing and often with my Beloved, so nice to share a flowing, creative and spontaneous process with each other. I had a day in the flow as I shopped online for a blender and handed out some flyers, and felt the butterflies in my belly as the first “Buddha Meets Your Body” class here in our home town is on tomorrow. Our Facebook event link is: https://www.facebook.com/events/676253365851284/ I went shopping for dinner and sent my hard working man off to his men’s group with a belly full of baked fish, potato and carrot mash, and a salad. Veggies all organic, feel very happy where I live, beautiful people in this community who are kind and who care and embody that quality in their lives. I felt as I ate dinner tonight as if I had truly arrived in this funky little space of ours, after a deep, deep voyage that it has taken some time to come back from.
My Beloved and I at the door to our little hobbit home! Photo by Ulli Hansen.
So I think I will try to publish a post a week but it will come when it comes, I need motivation to do things regularly and it doesn’t come from routine for me. For me creativity tends to flow with the sweet chaos of the feminine and I love to improvise and be in the moment, and in my body especially. I have been having a super interesting time watching my thoughts, I can see how there is a tendency for them to flow in a not so supportive way. The more formal practice is starting to come, the plan is to do 20 minutes a day as well as starting every morning with 5 minutes of focusing on the breath. It feels like I am developing the facility of being informed about great injustice in the current system without adding unnecessary mental anguish to the equation. Just as the mental attitude adds more pain to the experience of pain in the body, we can be in really intense emotional pain that is part circumstance or situation and part mental. What we think about our situation really has an impact on how we feel, observe the sensations and let go of the story, then see what is left. Doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do, it is not a recipe for being passive. It’s just up to you what you do, nobody can do everything.
At the moment it feels like I need to focus on “The Love Bubble Presents”, running classes with my Beloved is a lovely way to work in a group. I can do what I do well and leave a lot of the talking to him, I hold space and connect people to their bodies. The more we do the less nervous I may become but there is often an anticipation before stepping into a performance space which can help with the focus. And I really have had a lovely flowing day, the butterflies were simply a sensation I noted quite strongly earlier in the morning. There is a trace there now but it is just a sensation and it will pass, and that will leave the excitement at the unfolding of my Beloveds and my creative vision for a purposeful, prosperous life. The Facebook link for “The Love Bubble Presents” is:
This is me at Woodford on New Years Day 2016. Photo by the amazing Ulli Hansen.
The silence on this blog has stretched on for somewhat more than just ten days, perhaps it has provided a welcome relief to all the noble chatter that has gone on in the three years since inception.I say noble chatter with the greatest respect, it has been the most wonderful place to express my thoughts and feelings with honesty and being as open as I can be. And it will continue, this is not a preamble for a dissolution, but some things have been dissolved and so as I continue in all aspects of my life it will be interesting to see how that letting go has made a difference.
I have done long retreats but never one like this Vipassana and I am truly impressed with not only the process itself but also with the organisation that keeps it going in the world and that makes it available to all completely through donation. It does not matter how much money you have or how little, whether your status in the world is high or low. Are you prepared to renounce the life that you live for ten whole days and to live as a monk or nun might, hours of meditation and bells telling you where you are meant to be at certain times. I always felt a great attraction to this life and so when the opportunity presented itself I threw myself in at the deep end, by the time I got half way through I must have been doing between 6 and 8 hours of meditation every day.
It was not easy, especially on the physical side of things, sitting for many hours in stillness is not something my body is used to. And yet the pain was such an amazing teacher, even in the moments when I wanted to scream with the intensity of the sensation I felt gratitude to the experience. That has to be a sign of spiritual maturity surely! When you can be thankful in moments like that your eventual understanding is assured. Watching this pain over many hours I couldn’t help but notice that it wasn’t always the same, and the less importance I gave it the less intense it became. So when in the discourse the teacher spoke about adding our mental pain to the physical sensation I understood what he was saying with my body not just with my mind. When I simply observed without reacting the intensity of the sensation became so much less. I was observing the sensations in my body as they were in each moment, sounds like such a simple thing and yet it has had a profound effect upon my deeper self.
The process we went through was described to us as being like a surgeon operating very deeply into our minds, the part that is left untouched by the majority of people in this culture. So I am different as a result but what that will mean in my life is something that will unfold over the following months and even years. There will be another 10 day retreat in there at some point. and a regular sitting for my Beloved and I once a week for an hour. And the increased awareness that I now have of bodily sensations can be a part of every moment that I experience. There will be more reflection on all of this for sure but that will do for now, enough that I am happy and well and enjoying this wonderful life on Earth! Namaste.
As I searched for images for this post I found a hilarious account of a Vipassana experience, you will laugh even if you’ve never done it, if you have please check out this link, especially if you could do with a good belly laugh!