Posts in Swell being
4 Ways to Acclimate Back to Normal Life After a 10-Day Silent Vipassana Retreat

I had a challenging time reacclimating back to normal life after my Vipassana meditation retreat. I transitioned from complete silence, without anything to worry about except sitting, back to my hectic work days and long hours. I went from 0-100 MPH/KM, so to speak. I wish someone had warned me of this challenge in advance, but after speaking with the teacher, she explained that everyone reacts differently, and so it is difficult to forewarn anyone. I decided to consult with my fellow Vipassana meditators to see what helped them during this transitional process from silence to the noise of life. Through their recommendations, as well as my own success and challenges, I came up with this list to help someone successfully acclimate back to the real world after a Vipassana sitting.

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Day 12: Sensory Overload! (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I woke up thinking it was all a dream. Being able to talk again, and leaving today. We had to be up at 4AM for our 4:45 final chanting. While getting ready in the bathroom, we kept celebrating that this was our last sitting together. When we got to the hall, it was pure silence for about 15-20 minutes before the chanting even began, which was another 15-20 minutes After that, we had our final video discourse. Goenka spoke of the importance of continuing and nurturing our practice. One hour in the morning and evening. Yeahhhno, sorry Goenka. He spoke of protecting the tree we’ve just begun to sprout, by putting a fence around it. Protect the mastery and purification of the mind, and nurture it with compassion. No one can harm your tree, because none of these beliefs can offend any person, religion or practice. When we were free to go, we spent time cleaning our rooms and I finally texted my parents and partner that I was excited to see them. Apparently, my partner woke up at 3:30 AM to take the train from San Diego to Orange County to drive my parents, since my car was at their place. Both my hallmate and I were late to get to breakfast, because we shared the same sentiments on the taste. When we finally showed up, I expressed my gratitude to the kitchen server, since she did so much and always with a smile on her face. I spoke with some of the students before it was time for us to clean the communal areas. I got to clean the meditation hall, which was maybe one of the easier jobs? I enjoyed it. After that, we took pictures of the center and of each other.

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Vipassana Day 11: She speaks! (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I woke up nervous about today being the day we would all finally get to speak to each other. I woke up at 4 AM, and ate a few bites at breakfast. Morning meditation was good and then we spent a second hour learning the art of Metta meditation. This is something you practice for about five or so minutes after meditation. It’s compassionate meditation, as you send love, guidance and compassion to all living beings. I absolutely love it.

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Vipassana Day 9: How to Decline Gifts (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I woke up around 5:30 AM from a very strange dream. I somehow escaped for the night with my partner, and all of the sudden we were making out in our apartment, but then it wasn’t our apartment. I explained that we shouldn’t be doing this, because it’s one of the rules. As I am trying to explain, he transformed into a previous partner, who wasn’t as compassionate or understanding.  I began freaking out because I was at least two hours from the course, and I would need to get back before anyone sees me (so, like 2 AM). Meanwhile, there is a cat in the apartment, who isn’t Banana, and who keeps hissing and posturing at me. I grab a nearby violin bow and point at it to exert myself as alpha, and end up poking it. It stops moving and when I take a look, I realize that I have badly punctured the poor creature, and it’s really hurt. I freak out even more, and think what kind of monster I am. I feel like complete crap and wake up. Luckily this was followed by a BM (toxins, am I right?).

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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.

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