HelluvaGirl

This is not a diary any more

14. Vipassana. What Are You Doing Here?

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

I’ve noticed her on the first day and realised it was really her when we weren’t supposed to speak any more. She would sit right behind me in the Meditation Hall. The last person I could expect to meet here.

She excuses herself from a conversation and comes up to me. We laugh – without a reason, or just instead of saying hey, I’ve been trying to not look at you this whole time, how ridiculous that we meet here of all the places…

So tell me, what’s wrong with YOUR life that you are here?

Read the rest of this entry

13. Vipassana. When People Talk

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

On the last day they teach us metta bhavana. It appears to be a meditation I have been practicing for years without even knowing it had a name. I love it; it is truly my favourite part of Vipassana practice and gives meaning to it, connecting the individual path to enlightenment with the fact that we are all cells in one organism, and thus erasing the isolation aspect personal development kinda naturally entails.

When we finish our morning meditation, the Teachers announce the end of the Noble Silence.

I must tell you this: few times have I been as surprised throughout my entire life. Read the rest of this entry

12. Vipassana. Towards the End

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

As May unfolds, the sun begins to play around and I take my blanket out on the grass for a nap. All the other girls have been doing it for days now, but the weather is too cold for me, the ground is too hard and the air too noisy with all the flies. However, when it becomes warmer outside than in my cell, I give this nature thing a shot.  Read the rest of this entry

11. Vipassana. Habits

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

get up at 4 am

briskly throw on the clothes folded out the night before

wait for the two minutes to brush the teeth in the bathroom Read the rest of this entry

10. Vipassana. Mirror to the Soul

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

I wanna do something.

I wanna change things.

Like, myself.

I can feel the time sifting through me, and all that remains is someone I hardly identify with. It’s been forever like this.

You might think I levitate in our dim meditation hall, feeding off the spiritual energy of my fellow travellers, seeing otherworldly visions and chanting mantras? Well, a bit of that, too.

But what I in fact meticulously consider for no fewer than two whole days is which should I do first: Read the rest of this entry

9. Vipassana. Work vs. Family

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

For the past couple of years, I’ve been having an inner struggle coming to terms with what I do for a living. I use a very small part of my potential. For a long while I’ve been touching the ceiling of what is expected from/available for me. Whenever someone asks me what I do in life, I pause and think about the essence of the question, guessing if I should just tell the name of the company (sounds good), or explain what I’m good at.

After several days of silent contemplations I come to the point where all the bullshit dissipates and I realise I’m doing what I can before I can do what I want. And thinking towards that direction, I feel that work isn’t my primary concern at all.  Read the rest of this entry

8. Vipassana. The Man with the Beard

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

I notice him on the first day while waiting near the cabin to talk to the Teachers. He is walking across the meadow carrying a huge backpack. A woman is strolling to the opposite direction and, as they meet at the rope marking the end of the moving zone, she stops, ready to lift her leg and cross over. He bends forward and presses the rope to the ground, looking up at her in silence. She doesn’t notice for a second and then, looking down, says in a cheerful voice:

Oh, that’s how we do it.

It is almost a question, coming from someone living in the world where gallantry is not taken for granted any more. Read the rest of this entry

7. Vipassana. The Past < ? > the Future

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

As I sit in the meditation hall for hours and hours each day, I notice that the leg of the stool between my shoulder blades begins to feel different. The blunt pain inhabiting the depths inside my muscles surfaces on the skin and starts feeling like my back is seared with a lighter. This pain is on my outline, not at my core any more, and I can even find a certain pleasure in that physical sensation.

It is leaving me! Read the rest of this entry

6. Vipassana. Addhitana

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

On the fourth day, we begin to practice the real Vipassana. For two hours straight, we sit addhitana – a meditation of strong will, during which one is determined to not move, change position, open their eyes, arms and legs.

This is the time I scream fuck it, I’m outta here! in my mind, terrified of the intensity of sensations I am supposed to merely observe.  Read the rest of this entry

5. Vipassana. The Dreams

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

And then come the dreams.

There’s a whole world, and not just one.

I dream agoraphobic squares in strange cities where there is no sign of people. I dream backyards where the air whispers threatening promises. I dream piers in secluded townships. Wherever I go, there is always a thick sense of something watching me intently.

And I dream Pia. Read the rest of this entry

4. Vipassana. Together in Silence

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

Funny how many questions arise when you have to live with a person you’ve never met before, in a tiny room, without speaking.

Does she want me to leave the light? Do I turn off the heater now? And when am I supposed to shower? The bathroom shared by our whole floor is always busy.

Wonder who she is, though. Is her husband with the male group here? Must be like 7 months pregnant. Probably some vegan yoga teacher who will deliver her baby in a shrine with scented candles and mantras.  Read the rest of this entry

3. Vipassana. Pain

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

For the first three days, we just observe our breath. It is not required to sit in lotus posture, but important to keep the back straight.

Whatever posture I choose, it still hurts like hell. Feels like the leg of a stool is rammed in between my shoulder blades. Read the rest of this entry

2. Vipassana. Checking In

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

There’s a bunch of peculiar specimen at the registration tent. The types who cut their own hair, you know. Standing in the queue, I can sense some women wearing perfume, although it has been, among other things, specifically requested not to.

It annoys me a bit that we have to fill in the questionnaires once again, same ones we’ve completed online. I write half of the truth in the health section and get stuck at What’s your profession? After taking it too seriously for a while, my answer is WORDSRead the rest of this entry

1. Vipassana. A Curious Experiment

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 

***

I can clearly sense his disapproval from short texts which, in seconds of trying to “shut up”, become messages of open concern. I smile. He must have been my father in the past life.

Why so long? Why 10 days instead of 3, which would be way more reasonable, given the “brutal” conditions? It’s as if you start running a marathon without any preparation and experience of running, he says.

Friend knows my rough patches. Some of them vaguely, some of them – in quite a detail. He must think I am desperately seeking a hideout. An exotic shortcut to a new me. Read the rest of this entry

I’m Off

Minutes before I leave to Vipassana retreat, I take the food from the fridge and give away to neighbours (I just hate to throw it out).

Doing the dishes, I suddenly realise why I feel so calm and confident about the next 10 days of isolation and, as Friend put it today, sensorial deprivation. Read the rest of this entry