Vipassana Day 3: The Wild vs Tame Elephant (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)
The goals I have for this retreat (meditated on this in the AM):
1. Root cause of my anxiety
2. Root cause of my IBS
3. Root cause of my Tinnitus
4. Root cause of recent lump in my throat
5. Figuring out what I truly want in my life (work, relationship[s], family)
6. Root reason of why I am always searching for something better
7. Root cause of my impulsiveness
8. Root cause of feeling guilty
9. Root cause of feeling shameful around having money
I woke up at 6 AM, to my own alarm. I clearly didn’t hear this morning’s gong. Oh well. I am extremely tired and dry, inside and out. I am hoping to manifest some rain, or at least humidity. Breakfast was breakfast, and I got a prime seat in front of the window, where I watched the sunrise over the mountains. The manager asked for the tea bags she gave me back, because they apparently belonged to one of the servers. I happily returned them, unsteeped. I accidentally put Tahiti sauce on my rice cakes, which I recommend never doing. FYI, S.N. Goenka says the reason why we skip dinner during retreats is because you apparently meditate better on an empty stomach. Interesting. After breakfast I did my usual walk, four rounds total, or one mile. This takes me around 20 minutes, depending on how slow I walk and also includes me stopping to stretch.
Luckily, S.N. Goenka gave us further instruction on how to focus on our breath for hours. Tomorrow will apparently be the last day of Anapana Meditation. I keep fantasizing about texting my parents and partner. I am luckily feeling better thanks to the Vitamin C, cranberry supplement and over 100 oz of lemon water. Lunch was f*ing amazing. Split pea soup with carrots and herb roasted potatoes (fries) and salad. I never know how much to eat at lunch, considering we don’t get dinner, and I had barely eaten breakfast. Does meditation burn calories?
After lunch, I went on my nature walk. The usual suspects were there. Some mindfully walk, while others borderline jog. It was so hot, and I decided to only walk two laps and get my stretch on. It’s interesting to see the men on their own nature path down aways. We are so separated from them, left with only glimpses of their silhouettes, except during meditation, where we are in the same hall, but still physically separated. They actually put a wall in between us while we eat. I sat down with the teacher and brought up my UTI and asked if that might be some of my ‘gunk’ coming to the surface. She said maybe, or maybe not. She asked for me to take it seriously, and to take care of myself. If this turns into a kidney infection, I will have to see a doctor, and leave the property and won’t be allowed back into dhammaland. My heart sank at the thought of leaving. I then asked if I will know when I’ve encountered the root of my suffering and pain. She said, it isn’t necessarily a moment of figuring it out. It may be emotions and physical sensations that come up over the course of the retreat. So much for an easy solution.
The afternoon meditation was a lot easier. After going on my walk, I realized that the grass may be greener on the other side. The men appear to have a better view of the southern mountain range, bordering Joshua Tree National Park. Whatever, I’ll just breathe through my saltiness.
Evening meditation was ok. I kept thinking about and literally salivating over the thought of lunch. Fruit is NOT dinner. Concentrating on the area around the nose is challenging, especially when you’re still hungry. In addition, it was louder inside than ever before. I ignored it as much as I could, but my older neighbors to the right are aggressively loud. They are constantly clearing their throats, yawning, adjusting, sighing, coughing. The men’s side was also loud. I will have to talk to the teacher about this tomorrow. I kept wanting to stand up and yell STFU, but that wouldn’t have been very Vipassana-like of me. Tonight’s discourse was awesome, though pretty long. S.N. Goenka was the only one in the frame this time. He spoke of wild elephants, and how a tame elephant/mind can be extremely helpful, and the most unhelpful, when it’s wild. He spoke of how when we feel or think negatively, we are punished by nature. For example, if you are agitated about something, you’re the only one left feeling crappy (ahem… my loud neighbors). In addition, living a ‘noble’ lifestyle means not intentionally doing anything to harm something living. The last meditation of the day was short and sweet. I got to shower and do a conditioning hair mask before heading to bed.