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!