Vipassana Day 6: Objectivity (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I yet again woke up at 2 AM. I suppose my body doesn’t need as much sleep, since I am sitting all day. I force myself back to sleep and awoke with everyone else at 4 AM. My appetite is getting worse and worse. I barely had more than a few bites of my cereal. Note to self. I do not like rice milk. I figured I would make up for the missed calories at lunch. I make a few rounds on the trail today. I notice one of my dorm mates wearing a Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga (local yoga spot in San Diego) shirt, and realize, holy shit, I’ve taken her class before. Small world.  

I only brought sandals with me (grrrreat idea), and there were no shoes in my size to borrow from the communal closet. So I’m just being salty, because I can only go so fast before the sand buries my feet underneath like quicksand on the trail. Forced mindful walking, I suppose. The sunrise never gets old. There is a woman here who looks super unhappy, and I sometimes see her talking to herself. I know we aren’t supposed to smile at each other, but I tried when we both went for the sunflower seeds at the same time, and she wasn’t having it.

This morning’s meditation went smoothly except for my favorite neighbor, who wouldn’t stop thrashing in her chair or unzipping her fanny pack. Also, a pistachio nut she snuck in fell out off of her when she was getting up to leave yesterday. Naughty naughty, Lydia. We were asked to stay behind after, and the teacher called up our usual small group to ask how were were doing with the new Vipassana technique. Lydia said she will try to follow it. That’s because she is still in and out of sleeping, and thrashing around in her chair. I have been stretching and doing yoga poses more than ever before, and hope to continue when I get back home.

I didn’t have much of an appetite at lunch, and I wasn’t feeling the black bean chili they were serving. I maybe had two bites, and I got a few ‘how can she be throwing all of that food away!’ looks. I sadly wasn’t even feeling the salad. At least they compost here. I met the teacher after and expressed how weird it feels not to say ‘bless you’ when I hear someone sneeze. She said we will be able to do so in five days. I then expressed my guilt about not being able to help a woman in our group, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair. I see her struggle getting up the hill to the meditation hall, and other places. It hurts my heart to watch. I don’t know what to do, since we can’t communicate. But I’ve seen other participants help her. The teacher said this specific student is capable of transporting herself, however if I see she is having a hard time and struggling again, that I can push her without saying anything. I brought up my lack of appetite, and she said it’s normal. I brought up my guilt of being born into a privileged life, while others aren’t. And she said that is just the law of nature. She said all we can do is try our best to help. It’s their karma. I then brought up my facial hives which are much more pronounced on my face, and super itchy. She recommended that I take a Benadryl at night.

After speaking with her, I walked two laps and took a cool shower and washed my clothing. I had a feeling to then look into the ingredients of everything I was putting on my face, and found that one of the Korean face masks lists copper as an ingredient. Well, I am allergic to copper, so that’ll do it. Since I brought extra face masks, I decided to give them away. The first one went to my herbalist friend, and the other to my friend across the way who gave me the water bottles. Both have been so nice, and I can really feel their energy urging me to keep going. When I went to my assigned bucket in the bathroom, I saw that there were new earplugs in my bag! I knew it was my hallmate. She is so sweet.  I feel bad I can’t acknowledge her gift.

Afternoon meditation was ok. I tried to have compassion for Lydia, but failed. I had an urge to just get up to tell her to please stop. I will bring this up with the teacher tomorrow. Tomorrow is my cleaning day. Exciting! Anything to keep the mind distracted, right? We are officially halfway through. Five more full days to go! Tea break was disappointing. I had my Go Lightly tea and a banana. I’m 85 years old, guys. I noticed that some of the participants have lunch leftovers they are able to eat at dinner. I should’ve requested that ahead of time. My stomach is growling and I’ve maybe eaten around 200 calories today. Hopefully I will have more of an appetite tomorrow.

During rest, I collected my dry clothes and made two rounds on the trail, before heading to meditation. This evening’s meditation felt like forever for me. I must have done at least 10 full body scans before he started chanting. I could’ve sworn it was more than an hour, but I didn’t have a watch to sneak a peak, and it just could not have been more than an hour. Discourse was all about physical sensations. Be objective and taking notice, rather than create a craving or aversion for or towards them. Why? Because nothing last forever aka Anicca. I’m hoping these meditations get easier for me, but each time is different. Our last meditation of the evening was short, but also felt dragging. Another minute, and I was convinced I would pass out. I would’ve left the first chance I had, but my legs fell asleep and it took me a few minutes for the blood to rush to the appropriate quadrants of my body. As far as I am concerned, Smooth Move doesn’t move anything. I will return back to Fleet tomorrow.

 

Things I have noticed so far…

1.      No migraines since I have been here

2.     I drink around 120 oz water/day

3.     I eat between 200-1000 calories per day

4.     I walk 1-3 miles per day

5.     I am still pretty flexible

6.     I am able to get in all of my PT exercises, and then some

7.     The ringing in my ear (tinnitus) has transformed into what sounds like a faucet running from afar

8.     No itchy ears

9.     Feet are still dry, despite my daily care

10.   I can brush and floss my teeth 3-4 times a day

11.   Still constipated

12.   No lump in my throat! It went away. Psychosomatics ftw!

13.   Haven’t craved my e-cig

 

Side note: So much Sanskrit EVERYTHING… Like we get it, you went to India once.

 

Benadryl is making me sleepy…

 

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