HelluvaGirl

This is not a diary any more

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. 

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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

Eurovision 2016 Favourites. Ukraine

Saw Jamala first on the semi-final and was shocked how it wasn’t a performance at all. I mean the woman has profound vocal abilities and the song is great.

Yet it was like having a skull brought in during one of Trimalchio’s feasts.

She wasn’t putting up a show – she was bringing a message, a stinging reminder to everyone of us sitting comfy with our bling and first world problems. I am glad Ukraine used this opportunity to speak of serious shit without saying a word. It’s still there, people.

Eurovision 2016 Favourites. Sweden

Let me just tell you this, Frans. If you walked a thousand miles to tell me you were sorry, I’d let you in, give you food and forgive you everything.

Seriously though, simplicity at its best.

Eurovision 2016 Favourites. Israel

Amazing melody (is it just me, or does it have a bit of that Slavic melancholy in it?), beautiful yet not overwhelming stage effects, strong voice and well, he’s a Jew. Much love.

Eurovision 2016 Favourites. Lithuania

What’s the best thing about a song? It presses certain emotional buttons, triggers associations and generally stimulates one’s imagination.

When I hear this song, I’m suddenly a teenager in love, with the whole world a promise, and the fact that Donny Montell has his looks makes my mind go this exciting path like it’s a walk in the park.

However, another remarkable thing is the official video of this hit and the choice of the female character. You look into her face – a party girl with the touch of femme fatale. Ok. Then the camera slides down and you’re like, wow what? She is sooo not a Barbie doll! Those are expected but never imprint for a long time in your memory. This one is not perfect – and just perfect that way. I believe this choice of cast was a very well-calculated move of Donny’s production and PR teams, and it’s a winning one. In the world of enforcing hardly-attainable body-image time and again – though hypocritically preaching against unrealistic standards – this girl tells us great nights happen even if you are plus size. And it’s not even a lie.

Let me just feel proud once again to witness Donny’s talent – he surely owns it!

The Sound of Silence