Posts tagged meditate
6 Things I learned as a Vipassana Server

I recently became ill (and am still recovering) while working abroad, and needed to center and heal ASAP. My brain automatically brought Vipassana to mind, because as a student, I experienced sheer peace and happiness from the practice. 🧘🏻‍♀️However, I wanted to be on the other side, I wanted to serve at a course this time. I happened to be en route to Dallas, TX, and was able to locate a center just 45 minutes outside of the city. I contacted them and applied to serve between the courses, as well as partly during a course.

I was so humbled when I was accepted to serve. 🙏🏽As a student, I didn’t realize how much work the servers had on their shoulders, and how happy they were to be serving (the courses are donation-based after all). I also didn’t understand how the center functioned behind boundary lines. As a server, you are there to offer your services, your time, energy and to send Metta (loving kindness) to all of the students sitting at the course, without expecting anything in return. You are there to ensure the students’ needs come first, and that they feel as comfortable as possible to have a successful sitting. I learned that everything in a Vipassana course is set up for a reason, and it made me appreciate the practice even more.

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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 10: Master of None (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I woke up at 4:30 AM today from another strange dream, where my mom told me Prince Charles was planning to propose to me. I guess we were all super close with the royals? IDK. I said there is no way because he is dating sexy hot Meghan Markle, and he is really not my type and plus I am in a relationship. It didn’t seem to matter. Finally Prince Charles proposed to me with a crazy set of rings, made of Princess Diana’s diamonds. He said he’s always been in love with me. I mention his hot GF… He says the family will never approve, if I know what he means. I then mention my partner, and he just walks away, as though I don’t have a choice. I tell my partner, and his friend gets involved and said he knew I would ultimately disappoint my partner. I have to start attending these nightly formal dinners like in Downton Abbey with itchy clothes and we have to be secretive about everything. Meanwhile, it’s clear neither of us are attracted to one another. I show up for dinner a couple weeks later, and he said that he has decided to get back together with Meghan. I am so confused and feel like crap because I now have to beg for my partner back. Strange (GUYS, HE GOT ENGAGED LIKE A WEEK AFTER THIS).

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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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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 at the trail today. I notice one of my hallmates wearing a Pilgrimage of the Heart 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. Forced mindful walking, I guess. 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.

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Vipassana Day 4: Impermanence (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

Today I woke up at 4:15 AM to wash out the conditioning mask from my hair. I tried to fall back asleep, but failed. Today’s breakfast was better than yesterday's because they had my favorite fall fruit, persimmons! Honestly, I wish they would just serve us lunch leftovers, because there is nothing savory for breakfast. Or at least offering eggs (everything is vegetarian at the center). I don’t think I have mentioned that I ran out of my oxygenated magnesium (my magic poop pills), which means I’ve barely gone to the bathroom. Even with eating vegan mush, and the copious amounts of water I’ve been drinking… Nada. My morning walk was beautiful, but there is this one woman who gives me the strangest look each time she walks by. This is the third day I’ve noticed. Maybe I stare strangely at the other gals? I think we are all losing it. Speaking of communal spaces, sometimes we will hold the door for each other, and we will use our eyes to say thank you or bow, or accidently mouth it or even say it. We aren’t supposed to gesture at each other, let alone break noble silence, but it happens. Habits are hard to break.

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Vipassana Day 2: Know Thyself (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

Well, I woke up multiple times throughout the night, and was officially wide awake at 3 AM. I never thought I would look forward to a 4 AM bell, but I really did. It was barely audible when it finally went off. If you didn’t read yesterday’s entry, this twin bed is anything but luxurious, and I would recommend bringing a mattress pad, if you ever attempt your own meditation retreat. The pillow I brought from parent’s home was shaped weird, totally wrong for me, and killed my neck. Since I was up super early, and wasn’t planning on going to the hall to meditate, I decided to use this Korean foot softener concoction that I would have to leave on for two hours while I ‘meditated’ before breakfast. While ‘meditating’, I fantasized about having to clean the communal bathrooms/showers on Day 6. At least I will have something to do, I thought. When I was finished meditating, I decided to re-organize everything I brought with me, because why not? As far as clothing is concerned, I definitely didn’t bring enough for the occasion. Typical me. I guess I will HAVE to hand wash my clothing at some point then. Bummer. As for spa products, I was excited to finally have time to use a deep conditioner in my hair, and take advantage of using face masks. I was also excited to find time to do my stretches and physical therapy exercises. Everyday, I plan to use all of the above, in addition to use a deep conditioner for my feet, oil pull (coconut oil? oops), cleanse and exfoliate my face, brush and floss my teeth multiple times a day, etc. Self care meets boredom FTW.

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Intro to Dhammaland - The Happiest Place on Earth: A 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience

For many years, I wanted to complete a 10-day Vipassana retreat. Why? Because I wanted to know myself in the truest sense. I spend so much time avoiding myself, and trying to fill up my time with every activity in the book so that I do not have to hang out alone. Despite this proclivity for self-avoidance, I truly wanted to find out the root of my anxiety, my chronic guilt, and to finally understand my impulsiveness, my indecisiveness, and my need to keep busy with a million things to feel happy, to feel ‘satisfied.’ I know I am literally the grandmaster at avoiding myself, which is why I thought a retreat, where just me, my ego, and potentially the dark night of my soul could get together for an overdue intervention. The thought of being alone for 10 days in silence simultaneously excited and scared the shit out of me. Hence I chickened out twice before, and gave up my spot to someone I thought would be a more worthy goer. Plus, I was not ready! I had to take the time off work, financially prepare myself, etc etc etc. Finally, I convinced myself that there was no more avoiding. I had to do it.

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