« Meditation Retreat: Day 4 | Main | poem: on an odd note »

Meditation Retreat: Day 5

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

Where Am I Now?
The morning gong sounded off at 4am and I grabbed a quick shower before heading out to meditate. I didn't wash my hair that day because we had just hit a cold streak and I wasn't going to sit around all day with wet hair.

Though I couldn't communicate with my fellow meditators, I still thought about them. I had started naming them all Adrianne, after Adrianne Curry (the model who married Christopher Knight). I would think "hmm, looks like Adrianne is drinking hot water today" or "Maybe I should try that seated position Adrianne is using". In my more charitable moments, I thought of us all as sister nuns. "Sister Adrianne looks really peaceful by the stream today; Sister Adrianne is trying to exercise". In my bad moments, it was more like "arghh.. someone is neglecting to shower. I'm calling her the unwashed one".

So this is probably a good time for a reality check. It wasn't like we were living in the good part of "the sound of music" (a.k.a. before the nazis show up and take over austria). My meditation practice had been consistently challenging. As I would overcome one problem, another would show up. I had managed to deal with the physical pain, drowsiness, and urge to watch the clock. but now, I had started to briefly lose consciousness during meditation. It wasn't as bad as it sounds (i think), but it was hellacious to experience. One moment, I would be mindfully focused on my practice, then a split second distraction, a fleeting thought, and I would start pitching forward in some odd narcoleptic black out, only to snap back into consciousness before I fell over. It felt like this was happening several times a minute for hour-long stretches. After several hours, I concluded that my mind was making a last ditch attempt to avoid dealing with reality; I decided that I had to proceed anyway.

Compared to that, the nature of our surroundings really weren't hard to deal with, but I will include them for the sake of complete record. In the beginning, meditating in the hall was a little noisy. People were shifting around, trying to ease their legs and backs. but now, we had entered a period where we were encouraged not to move for hour long stretches. The noise level was reduced and now we could hear other things. Before and after lunch, it was like an orchestra of stomach rumblings. The rain had washed out a lot of the pollen, so the sneezing and sniffling had died down, which only emphasized the farting chorus. I really couldn't blame people. We were on a vegetarian diet which often included beans, and we were spending 10 hours a day together. Some social conventions were just not applicable.


TrackBack URL for this entry:


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 12, 2008 12:05 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Meditation Retreat: Day 4.

The next post in this blog is poem: on an odd note.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 5.2.6