Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Patiently and Persistently

Sarah we miss you!

Well, I have just started talking again after a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation sit in Merritt, BC. It has been two full days so now I feel like things are back to normal but a little further away from the reality I was experiencing.
There were 25 women and 25 men, segregated at the Dhamma Surabhi Centre. On the evening we got there a gong rung and from that moment until the 11th morning we were to abstain from stealing, harming, taking any intoxicants, speech, eye contact, eating more than fruit after 11 am, physical touch and reading and writing. The schedule started at 4 in the morning to 10 pm at night, lights out. 10 solid hours of seated meditation a day. I never really understood how deafening silence could be until I was at about day 3. Every sound seemed to reverberate through my skull and sternum.
Everything began to amplify.
While laying on my back in the grass during break periods I would just listen and watch as I allowed the spell of the senses to envelop me. There seemed to be a silence underneath all the sounds. A silence that I could actually feel and hear that was in between the sounds. An undercurrent or base level of energy. Paralelled in my meditation practice there seemed to be the same awareness in me that there was a base level of quiet. In between the thoughts, flash backs, memories and emotions. A deep subtle level as I passed through the more gross aspects of my mental process. A silence.
It was so silent that sometimes I just had to look at the people walking around me with their hoods up to see if they were alive or just in between somewhere. Just to see that I wasn't the only one REALLY there. And then we would all go back to work, patiently and persistently trying to quiet and observe our minds and body sensations.
When the gong rung to signify that the silence was to be broken I walked right back into the meditation hall, sat in my spot and closed my eyes. I could hear chatter and introductions through the walls into the courtyard. I wasn't ready yet and didn't want to come out of myself yet. Noticing my attachment to the silence and my aversion to the sound ( Craving and Aversion, the two things in Vipassana meditation that you are advised to let go of and remain equanimous to) I slowly made my way into the sound and the warm eyes. As soon as I started I noticed what a release it is to speak, communicate and relate to people.
I also noticed how valuable a stay of 20 days would be... as 10 days just wasn't long enough.
It seemed like I just broke myself in to the pain of sitting and the difficulty of the amazing aloneness. However, I really missed everything about Sonnie and was almost in tears of gratitude for him when he came to pick me up. I had so much love in me.
I look forward to the next one.
An amazing thing about the yoga practice is that the older I get the more I get excited about getting older. This practice just keeps on opening me up and opening up to me. If one 10 day meditation course feels so illuminating and the confines of my mind and body so fascinating, how incredible will it feel after 10 more years? 10 more years of experience with myself and experience with the world around me.
Sonnie and I were sitting on the balcony last night looking at the majestic Chief and he was commenting on how this life is just a little snapshot of the world through our eyes. Just a blink in the colossal wheel of time.
I feel like it is a pretty good one. With long exposure and natural light.


trispi3 said...

Start again...

Lydia said...

With a calm and quiet mind...