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Meditation Retreat: Day 6

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

The Apple Crisp Test
The morning gong sounded off at 4am but I barely heard it. I felt like ass. I was tired, my body was tired, my head was tired. There wasn't much of a decision to make. I stayed in bed and skipped the two hour pre-dawn mediation session.

When the breakfast gong went off, I crawled down from the bunk bed. I felt a little better and noted that there seemed to be a few other people in my cabin who had decided to sleep in as well. These were the same people that I noticed missing from group meditations the past few days. So now I knew what was up. I got dressed and headed for breakfast.

I thought that sleeping in would have made the day better, but it didn't. Instead, everything felt off. Normally by breakfast, I had this good feeling that I had started the day well and things would continue. But today, today just felt weird.. like I had dragged myself out of bed and was sitting down to yet another meal of oatmeal, granola, and tea. Since the weather had turned so cold, we had also been given some apple cider. I took a small serving and decided I didn't like it. Instead of pouring it out, I decided to add hot water and make tea in the same cup. When I tried it, it tasted awful. I made an angry face at my cup. Then I realized that I was getting mad at my cup, which was ridiculous. So I started laughing and smiled at the cup. Then I realized I was acting crazy so I abandoned the cup and left the food hall.

After breakfast, I contemplated my attitude. Which was a little odd, since I didn't really have much of an attitude to think of. I wasn't interacting with others. I didn't have much to think about others. I wasn't reliving my past, I wasn't replaying movies in my head. There wasn't much "me" going on. So I headed into the next meditation block, assuming that would get me back on track.

Again, lunch was the best part of the day. And today's menu consisted of lentil soup and the ever-present salad. A bonus for today: apple crisp with whipped cream for dessert. oooo! I grabbed my soup, salad, and water (I had started to add some variety to my beverage selection) and sat down to eat. And then it happened. I lost it.

As I was eating, I noticed one of my sisters (the unwashed one), serving herself some apple crisp. but not just one serving. several servings into a soup bowl, topped with about 8 tablespoons of whipped cream. My first (furious) thought was not the best one. If everyone served themselves the amount of food that the unwashed pig had taken, there wasn't going to be enough apple crisp for everyone to have.

My second thought (which I ignored) was that there had always been enough food for everyone and surely the staff would have enough apple crisp.

but, as I stated, I ignored my second reasonable thought and headed right off to scoop up some dessert before it was all gone. I took a single serving and sat back down at the table. I then proceeded to ignore the apple crisp. I tried the soup. It was good. I had some salad. Also, predictably good. Then I figured, I had gotten worked up about dessert, I tried a quick taste of the apple crisp.

it was not good. ??? How could it not be good! Everything was good here! And then I realized. I had ruined dessert for myself with my shitty thinking. ughhh... I thought about my previous actions. I took another look at the unwashed pig. She seemed to be ok. Maybe she was having a bad day too. Maybe she really needed extra dessert. Maybe I should stop calling her the unwashed pig. hmmm.. I tried another taste of the apple crisp. It tasted better this time, but not as good as the lentil soup. I ate the rest of my food and got a second serving of soup and some tea.

After lunch, I paced around the women's walking area and thought about my day. It was going pretty badly, in my estimation. I had skipped the first meditation session of the day, and then lost my temper at someone I didn't even know over something as petty as dessert. I felt like I had failed - I wasn't sure what I had failed at - but I had.

Oddly enough, acceptance of my failure lead to an incredibly good meditation practice for the rest of the afternoon and evening. As I went to bed, I resolved that I would not skip the morning session again.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 13, 2008 3:34 PM.

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