Vipassana Day 8: Feliz Dia de Los Muertos aka Realizations (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)
I woke up at 4 AM this morning - woo! I then fell back asleep. Oops. It’s getting colder and colder outside. So glad I found this weird bleached jacked in the Extra Clothes closet. At breakfast, I ate my ‘popcorn’ and as I stared outside, I thought, has anyone studied Vipassana as a detox or rehab method for addiction? I know I am already feeling the benefits, and know it could surely work miracles on others. I walk my four rounds while admiring the fiery sunrise before morning meditation. Meditation is smooth for the most part, but some drama seems to happen when I hear one of the ladies in the back walking about. After about ten minutes, I hear the teacher telling the manager to check on her, and about another ten minutes later she brings her back in. The teachers are always taking notes as we meditate, and I can hear them whispering things to the managers. This makes me nervous, because I keep thinking it’s me that’s the problem. For example, I use peppermint essential oils to help my neck pain as I meditate and to keep me awake. I just assume they are going to call me out for being too strong smelling. Or perhaps, I am rocking again or being too loud. But so far, except for on Sunday (Day 4) they haven’t called me out for doing anything wrong. Then I imagine a Vipassana realty tv show lolz.
After meditation, we are asked to return back for further instruction. Goenka comes on speaker and speaks on comparison being a root of misery. When we compare ourselves to our fellow meditators, for example, or even ourselves in the past. I completely get this, and it’s the reason I have a slight aversion to social media. These recordings have all been recorded in 1991, by the way. I wonder what Goenka would think of society if he were alive right now, with all of us glued to our electronics.
While waiting for lunch, I notice the men across the way also waiting for the sound of the bell to enter. We are so far apart in everything we do, that I can’t help also making assumptions about them too. Apparently the pregnant women’s husband is also doing this, as well as some of the other women. I wonder if they try to look for each other. It would be hard to have my partner on the other side, without being able to communicate.
Lunch is good. Sweet potatoes with baked tofu (perfect with sriracha) which kind of tastes like chicken nuggets. As I am eating, I notice the writer I met on the first day, playing with something outside. I then see the desert squirrel. He/she is back! She is feeding the little bundle of joy seeds. Soon after, I follow suit and bring seeds and get close and personal with this bubble of fur. Others join in on the fun. One of them is the cute older Indian women who is here with her daughter. We are trying so hard not to crack up from the cuteness overload.
While meeting with the teacher, I asked what Goenka means about measuring our success via equanimity. She says our success is measured by how calm and balanced we remain inside and out of our practice. I ask if meditation gets any easier as time goes on, and she responds it gets different. But yes, an hour seems like no time at all after a while. I explain that I came here with certain intentions, but I am not finding the answers I need. She explained, that with further practice, I will gain more clarity. I then ask if any longitudinal studies have been conducted on Vipassana and substance dependence. She said it’s difficult, because those who are dependent generally don’t want to to stay clean long enough to complete this. I then think, maybe if they did this straight after rehab, for example, before or instead of going to a sober living home it could be plausible.