Being released back into crazy India after 10 days of peace and silence doing vipassana meditation, on the bus ride back to New Dehli one could only begin to imagine the steam of thoughts that was running through my mind about the past 10 days.
Vipassana meditation was without a doubt one of the most challenging experiences of my life.
After realising what I got myself into on the first day I cried to myself thinking that I would miss having Rich, or anybody around for the next 10 days.
10 days if silence, cut out from the outside world, no eye contact with anybody else, meditating 10 hours a day, 4am wake up call, only having 2 meals a day. It sunk into my mind the depth of the course and the situation I was in for the next 10 long days.
The first 3 days consisted of meditating the 'Annapanna' technique. This contained of meditating while only thinking of your breath. Breathe in and out. Don't think of anything else just concentrate and calm the mind. Sounds easy but proven otherwise. You realise how much of a monkey mind you have and his you can't concentrate on the breathe for more that a minute without wondering off to think about something else. Like a little monkey swinging from branch to branch, out of control! It was a frustrating task and you find yourself asking questions like: "what's wrong with me?" "Why can't I do something so simple"
You begin to realise that thoughts are either of the past, why think about the past? It's gone!! There's nothing you could ever do to get that time back. So why let things bother you that's past?
Along side thoughts of the future. Something that you can't live. Why think about that? Something that is totally out of your reach.
Just think about now. And all I was doing now was breathing.
But as the time went by I began to learn how to control the mind and concentrate on the breathe only.
We then needed to sharpen the mind ready to start vipassana so we began to concentrate on the area of the nose and try and feel sensations in that area. Sensations as in tingling, pulsing, heat, cold, pain anything on the skin.
On day 4 we then began vipassana which includes starting at the top of your head and working your way down to your feet, feeling the sensations. Some sensations where pleasurable, a soft tickle. While other times it was pain, a throbbing pain.. And all you had to do was stay calm and to remain equanitey. Don't bush away the pain and don't crave for the pleasurable sensations.
I'm sure your wondering what the theory behind this is and it's simple.
There are two reasons why we become miserable. The first one is craving. We crave for things we don't have. Such as money, love, success and when we think of the things we don't have we become miserable because we don't have it. The second is pain, things that have hurt you that we try to push away. This makes us miserable as we repeat situations that we don't like over in our head and relive the pain. Not good!
So by remaining calm with your sensations is changing the thinking pattern of your mind and being able to control cravings and control negative thoughts.
But as you do this meditations the negative reactions of the past rise to the surface in result of pain or tears. Day four is when I cried my eyes out after the session and for the rest of the day. When I confronted my teacher about the way I was being effected she told me that it is normal to be emotional and that all the anger, frustration of the past has risen and being realised in my tears.
Day 5 I felt a lot better, I felt lighter, like a weight lifted from my shoulders. For the rest of the five days we just kept working with the sensations an observing them without reacting.
At the end of every day we watched a video for an hour with an explanation on the day and how you feel and what is happening to your mind. It was always nice to watch the video and relate to what you were saying. He also slates religion which is quite entertaining. And emphasises on how it doesn't matter what religion u are anger is still anger and how this style of meditation is universal and open to all religions.
The video was also filled with metaphors and stories related to day to day life and how we react to certain things that make us miserable.
The days went slow to say the least and I personally began to count down the hours from day 2!!! 175 hours left until I can talk, and share my thoughts and experiences! To say I went a little bit crazy was to say the least.
There were days when I felt sad or frustrated but days when I felt total bliss. It's was such a love hate experience. But on day 5, my heart was full filled when I got back to my room and saw that rich had left a note in my shoe after watching the video in the same hall. I read it over and over again and couldn't stop smiling. I would kiss it in the morning and night just to feel that bit closer to him.
When day 10 came and we had the chance to share our experiences it was amazing to see how many people felt the same as you. Even when you felt alone, you were far from being alone with your feelings.
Leaving the ashram was a sad but happy experience. Even the we remained silent it's incredible how you can still build a sort of relationship with people And saying goodbyes never gets any easier.
But to say the least, after 10 days of silence I'm sure I will talk rich's ears off over the next few days ;-)
Speak soon xxxxxz