Vipassana Day 7: Happy Halloween aka Glamorous (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I woke up at 1:30 AM this morning, despite taking Benadryl. Bumps and itchiness still present. Those pills have been in my purse for a while, and I can’t find an expiration date. This is the fourth morning I’ve had Fergie’s Glamorous stuck in my head. Great song, but not an appropriate setting. Where is impermanence when you need it? I force myself back to sleep.

For breakfast, I crush up rice cakes and throw on salt, nutritional yeast and olive oil. If you squint hard enough, it kind of tastes like buttery popcorn (created a recipe for it here). Finally, something savory. When I leave, a group of women are standing facing the sunrise, and are in awe as though watching a spectator’s sport. After I walk around the path a few times, I head in for morning meditation. For about 10+ minutes before we all enter the hall, most of us stretch. It’s amazing how limber a lot of these older women are. I feel like a robot in need of grease in comparison. The mediation goes well. Lydia is quiet, but the women in front of her clears her throat about every few minutes, and makes this gross swallowing sound when she does.

I eat lunch outside, because it’s slightly cool and beautiful. They serve red lentil soup with curried peas and cauliflower. It tastes ok. I stock up the salad and rice. As I am eating the manager heads outside holding a white bag and hands it to me. It reads ‘Please give to Christina, it is very important. Thanks, Mom.’ UMMMMM. My mom drove 2.5+ hours to drop off my oxy mag supplements. Who is even worthy of such treatment?! I start to cry... (silently) UGLY CRY. Later with the teacher, I bring this up, partly out of shock from the amount of unconditional love my parents have for me, and the sadness I have for not being able to communicate how grateful and appreciative I am for them. But I keep reminding myself that I will see them this weekend. With the teacher, I also bring up Goenka's accent, and how I can’t understand everything he says. Like ‘cross sensations.’ She says he is saying ‘gross sensations’ Ohhhh.. How about when he says ‘an abortion to these sensations.’ Apparently he is saying aversion. Well that makes a huge difference. Both his pronunciations and word choices are just silly to me. I then ask if the sensations we are feeling are old traumas or sakaras. And she said yes. Each time we feel aversion or craving, there is a physical sensation that pops up. That is what is bubbling up. Then for venting purposes, I bring up Lydia yesterday. She said she knows, and that each person is experiencing their own challenges here. After meeting with her, I clean the communal restrooms which wasn’t so bad and then shower and do some laundry. Afterwards, I walk two rounds and shower again (it’s hot). Really great use of my resting time, I think.

Afternoon meditation is good, except Lydia is playing with a cough drop in her mouth. She also takes forever to unwrap other cough drops. Why not just unwrap them before you enter the hall?! I keep thinking that I have four more days of this. Before walking in, I was stretching on a rock and saw the cutest little creature. I want to say it's a dessert squirrel (later confirmed as such), but this is the first time I’ve seen one in the flesh. It’s small, furry, and has the cutest curly tail. It has a cactus fruit dangling from its full cheeks, and I just wanted to capture and take it home. Law of nature (Dhamma), right?

At tea break, I have tea with a banana with salt and cinnamon sprinkled on top. I oil pull as I walk, and nearly choke. Won’t be doing that again.

 

Each time I am about to enter another meditation, I think to myself, how am I going to last another hour of this?! As I walk in, Lydia yawns and I get a good whiff of her dead tooth. Lovely. That’s what I’ve been smelling this entire time. Yuck. They really sat me in a crappy spot, or maybe this is part of the learning experience. If I can meditate next to her, I suppose I can meditate anywhere. Again, she is loudly sucking on a cough drop. I just can’t.

 

During discourse, Goenka discusses craving and addiction. If you learn the sensation you are craving, you won’t need the substance. The substance is never what you are actually going after. Frankly, I haven’t had any craving for my Juul (e-cig) since I’ve been here. So I guess something is working? He discussed how Vipassana has helped numerous people in the past. Like the president of Burma, who was an alcoholic. And after finally agreeing to stop alcohol to take the course, he realized he didn’t need it anymore. Then he said our five biggest enemies are craving, aversion, tiredness, agitation, and doubt. He explains we are coming out of the most intense part of the surgery. He then pats us on the back for not running away (I mentally do the same). As far as I can tell, all of us are still here. I've literally made up stories for each person, complete bios for where they are from, if they are in relationships, what they do for a living, the reason they are here. It will be weird to finally talk with them, and be proven right or wrong. Goenka then mentioned that Vipassana is a science, not a dogma. I can dig that. The last meditation is difficult. I don’t see why we can't just head to bed after the discourse. As I am meditating, I think of all of the people I know who this would greatly benefit.

 

FYI no one dressed up for Halloween. But as we left to our rooms from the meditation hall, it was cold and windy and a waxing almost-full moon lit the way. It’s as spooky as it can get at in Dhammaland. I think to myself, what would Goenka dress up as? Maybe a priest? Ha.

 

IMG_0448 2.jpg