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Meditation Retreat: Day 2

Note*
This is part of a multi-part posting about the 10 day Meditation Retreat I participated in. The names of the people I met have been changed, but for the most part, this is all as true as my biased and faulty memory can recall. I will not be describing the actual teachings/technique, not because I'm not allowed, but because I can't do them and you justice. If you would like to learn more about, you can go to Vipassana Meditation website

Day of Pain
The morning gong sounded off at 4am.

We had all been sleeping with the doors open, so I could hear the gong very well. I got up, got dressed, and headed for the meditation hall. Morning meditation settled into this pattern. The first hour was fantastic. I wasn't quite awake, I would come in peaceful from watching the moon and stars, and I could just kind of zen through. But the second hour took some effort as my body realized I could be sleeping instead, and would try to do it again.

The first day had been novel, but now things really were setting in. The complete lack of communication was starting to hit. I realized that I was running a constant commentary in my head, and when I wasn't doing that, I was playing songs.. an amazing amount of music that I didn't know I knew. That day, I had Phantom of the Opera running through my head for quite a while.

I decided that I would take a shower that day, after breakfast. I didn't feel particularly dirty (you don't really sweat much when you spend all day seated) but I needed something to do. And this was the first time I broke Noble Silence. I headed into the bathroom and came upon a woman undressing. I was so surprised I just said "Sorry!" and then hauled into the shower. It was a little strange to have talked to someone but I figured since it was unintentional, it was ok.

The seated meditation was getting a bit tiresome. My back wasn't happy and I was starting to get an ache on the bones where my ankles would cross. And the time! Hours and hours of meditation. I had started to take some of the meditation hours in the cabin, where I could sneak peaks at an alarm clock. Half an hour started feeling like an eternity.

Lunch became the best part of the day. There would be something new and delicious to eat.. and I would try anything that they served because there wasn't much choice to be had. Steamed bok choy? I was all over it. The fact that there was no real dinner also made you appreciate lunch, and the idea of stuffing yourself was always something to ponder and decide against.

I decided to start napping during the post-lunch break. I had heard that meditating was supposed to give you energy, but I wasn't really feeling it. So I was settling down to nap, when I noticed that two new people had moved into our cabin. The first thing they did when they made their beds was to construct a privacy screen by hanging sheets from the top bunk to cover the bottom bunks. I couldn't figure this out. What would you need privacy for in a camp of 55 gender-segregated people all pretending that no one else existed?!

Whatever, I decided to save that one to ponder later, but that night when I was sleeping, I swore I heard someone eating crackers in their "privacy-bed". The idea was a little annoying. I was here to work on getting some peace in my life, and there was someone who was sneaking food into the camp. yargh... for that moment, I really started to have a problem with "Cracker-girl" because not only was she sneaking food on the sly, she was also a noisy sleeper. Every five minutes, she would perform some complete rotation on the bed. And our beds were made with those nasty plastic mattresses so there was a huge racket.

It took me a while to get to sleep that night, and I was wondering what I was doing at this place.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 7, 2008 10:07 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Meditation Retreat: Day 1.

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