This post is a summary of the first 3 days. What is to come in the following posts would be based on my OWN PERSONAL experiences. Filled with humorous and not so humorous incidents. Some parts may seem weird or far fetched but there were my experiences and were very real. Do bear with me as I relate to you my experiences. I have tried to put it down in an organized manner so as to make it easy for you to follow.
Day 1 began by getting acquainted with my surroundings, observing the routine and trying to get used to my hard bed (it took me 2 night). I was a bit apprehensive about this silence retreat that I had begun and was trying to find a stable or happy line between being silent and remaining silent
My emotions were indifferent for the first day and my mind was skeptical about everything. I was filled with many questions but none that could be answered immediately. I faced my sleeping quarter with raised eyebrows and a feeling of being imprisoned.
As night began to fall so did the temperature. It dipped quite low which was unusual for that place and time. I crawled into bed hoping this cold phase would pass quickly (in my dreams!) As my head hit the hard pillow and after much tossing and turning I eventually fell asleep.
For the next 2 days I fought with myself. A part of me just did not want to be there and resisted to any form of surrendering totally and fully to the course. To see this side of myself was quite shocking.
The introduction to our meditation routine was something I was looking forward to. I will be honest in saying that my meditation has never been my strongest point. I could barley survive a 10 minute seating before I would begin to fidget. As for my mind well lets just say that it was still untamed!
If you have seen the movie Eat Pray Love, the scene where Julia Roberts sits down to meditate but her gaze constantly moves towards the clock. Well, that was me! The seconds turned to minutes and the minutes to hours and the hours well you catch my drift! I would bang my head against my knees and my body was all over the place. My mind wandered towards some place warm and relaxing.
By the end of the 3rd day I was sitting still and focused on my breath for 30 minutes before I would change my position ( My butt was sore from sitting on those hard meditation cushions). This mile stone sparked a light within me and encouraged me to continue working. I found myself slowly surrendering to the practice and an inner calmness swept over me.
Breakfast and tea time were the two meals I would not look forward to. When one is being served a concoction that looked like thick porridge or in my terms 'glop' 2 times a day, going hungry was not difficult. Lunch was the only meal I would look forward to and relished it.
Relaxing or taking a snooze in the sun after lunch was something all of us did. Each one of us would find a spot outside our rooms to just sit, sleep or day dream. Some would walk to relieve their tensions or stiffness. The peacocks/peahens would come out at this time and play. The sweet sounds of the birds were music to my ears.
The evenings from 7:00 pm until about 8:30 pm was when we would move to the Dhamma Hall #2 to listen to the discourses. As mentioned in my introduction post all chants, directions and discourses were pre recorded. It is here where Goenka would explain the technique and its benefits to us the students.
Buddha's enlightenment was through this practice. A path that is universal and acceptable to all cultures, race, background and people from all walks of life. It is a journey of going inwards and seeking deep within one's many layers.
Our day would end at 9:00 pm and after being up at 4:00 am that cold room and hard bed seemed like a blessing!
You are the source
Of all purity and impurity.
No one purifies another.