8. Vipassana. The Man with the Beard

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. 


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.

It’s something I would’ve said, I think to myself.

He has this huge beard. Impeccably trimmed. His dark blonde hair has a touch of ash hue, like mine.

I hate beards. His, though, goes well with a rough look on his face with a set of impossibly deep blue eyes, emanating reclusive, borderline aggressive attitude. Still a damn hipster, I sneer.

His face reminds me of someone. Maybe Jake Gyllenhaal in one of his crime films.

I can’t help but think I have met him before, though my memory fails to ground it with specific circumstance.

Maybe it’s just that kind of face.

It is still the beginning of our 10-day practice that I notice him entering the meditation hall. As I am already sitting on my mat, I watch men and women slowly walk to their seats. I watch their feet. Different coloured socks. Some barefoot. And there he walks, with a huge hole in his black sock.

I am ready to be disgusted. I mean it’s one of the immediate deal-breakers for me… albeit there may be no potential deal whatsoever.

Next day, he is wearing the same socks because there is the same large hole on one of them! Seriously man? Wtf?

However, I’m not so much appalled, to my own surprise. Curious. What is he thinking?

The next time I see him wearing the same torn sock, I silently giggle.

On one of the days that follow – and he is wearing a new pair of socks – after one of the meditation sessions, I raise my eyes before standing up, and there he is, glancing at me as he passes by.

We both look away briskly.