Writings

My first Vipassana-part 2


Continuing from yesterday...
My first Vipassana-part 2
My first Vipassana-part two

The retreat, had a very rigorous set up, meditation started at 4.30 am and ended at 9 pm, more than 10 hours a day spent on a cushion listening to your own internal radio station full of noise. There were only two real meals, as a new student you were allowed some fruit and tea but most of the time was spent, at least for me an oral monster, hungry. The mere thought that eating was out of my control made me hungry.
Then there was the silence, not a super big deal at first, I have always enjoyed being by myself, probably a side effect/blessing from my childhood, but after a couple of days without noise...I was at the time living in New York and had just spent the last few weeks travelling around in noisy India so the silence when sustained for more than an hour or so, felt shocking. It made all those internal noises louder, my stomach gurgling for potato chips, my mouth when I chewed, my footsteps and breath as I walked but above all my thoughts, for the first time completely unavoidable, screamed so loudly in my head that I thought I was going insane.

There was one person you could speak to, The Female Manager. She was responsible for the female meditators and took care of all practicalities around our stay. On the third day I had reached a breaking point and couldn't take it anymore. I went to her and rambled something like:

'I am so sorry but I am going to have to leave, I am hearing voices in my head and everything is so loud and I can't sit still and I feel so bad I think I'm going a bit crazy'

The female manager only shook her head in that typical lateral way that Indians do and replied calmly:

'That is not possible'

'But I am going crazy and it hurts and the thoughts and... well what I should have said here was 'and I'm dying for a cigarette', but felt that somehow my chances of getting out of there would be greater if I was a 'good girl', not one that smokes and travels alone, which in Indian culture is about as far away as you can get from being a 'good girl'

She told me calmly again that it was not possible and that was that. They had my passport and money safely stored and the only way I would get them back would be through some degree of violence and I didn't really feel like being that girl so I went back towards the meditation hall. Then she turned around and told me:

'If you still feel this bad on day 7, you come and talk to me again'.

And with that small sentence she had given me hope. Just three more days and then I had a chance to leave.

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