2. Vipassana. Checking In

by HelluvaGirl

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 WORDS

The manager lady collecting my gadgets has an amazingly sunny, melodious voice.

Is this your first time? Your face looks familiar, like we have met before!

Taking my shades off, I mumble:

It’s just that type of face, that’s all.

I can see thin ropes stretched out on the meadow around small cabins, separating male and female territories. I ask one of the managers at the registration table how do I access the lake. He tells me I can go wherever I want now but once the course starts, we are allowed to walk only within marked spaces.

Is this to keep us from drowning ourselves?

That, too.

My room has three beds. Amazing. An isolation in a packed cell.

I go outside to sit on a bench. There are some newbies and old students, one of them is sharing stories from previous courses. I am mostly silent, observing those people, measuring how different our lives must be, as the manager with the voice approaches me.

Come for a moment, please.

She invites three more girls and a guy. I don’t ask anything, just stand up and follow her. I mean I’m in for whatever, so.

We wait near one of the cabins. I hear my name and enter. There are two men inside and a stool in front of them. Assistant teachers. We greet each other. One of them is rather good looking. Raven hair, distinct features. The other one is elderly. Grey balding hair, kind eyes. They both wear neat clothes. When the elder begins to speak, I can’t help but notice how tender and calm his voice is. It feels like being massaged with sensual oils from the inside. How come I don’t meet those people anywhere? Oh, right. Because they don’t hang out in downtown bars. Yup.

I read your answers about health. Could you please tell me more?

Ha, so they read this stuff. I explain that it’s not new and that I have brought my meds.

Yes, but the thing is, we don’t serve dinner here. You would normally get some fruit at 5 pm. Given your situation, I would recommend you to have a proper dinner instead.

Oh no, I’m fine with whatever everyone’s having.

See, when you begin to meditate, certain things can resurface and you might experience compelling states… It could be good for you to eat. If you feel like you need it, talk to the managers anytime and they will arrange that for you.

I really don’t need special treatment, but thank you.

The younger teacher sits there in polite silence. I will later find out that the elder is for females and the younger one – for males. They don’t look like gurus or anything. I am curious.

As I turn to leave, I realise there are two pairs of shoes lined up at the door. They have taken their’s off and I trudged in with my sneakers. Feeling humbled all of a sudden, I freeze an apology and leave without a word.

That night I find out my room mate is a very pregnant woman. This place is full of crazy people.

Let’s roll, then!