15. Vipassana. Beardman

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 approach him as he watches the serene sunset. There’s a girl lying curled up on the grass nearby.

I smoothly smile him into a small talk. I’ve learned those things pretty well. I can approach people in the right way – if I’m willing, that is. Otherwise – well, most of the time – I am perceived as #thecoldbitch

We share our impressions. Talk about takeaways. He sounds so normal – in a good way. And before we know it, the small talk turns into quite a deep conversation.

He tells me that the Vipassana approach really makes sense to him and that he would try to continue on the meditation track when he’s back.

I tell him that, surprisingly and thankfully, I have been able to experience the here and now concept in a practical way, which I only had as a mental perception before. That there truly seems no point now in swinging between the future and the past as the technique beautifully pins you to the present moment by employing the one factually perceivable tool – bodily senses. I didn’t expect there was an effective method to do it, and moreover, that I could begin to actually feel it work in as few as several days. I also confess:

I just don’t get how we are supposed to integrate the absence of any emotional attachment – be it passion or aversion – in the daily life? Like, how are we supposed to meet people, fall in love, have relationships, live in families – if the purpose is basically staying indifferent all the time?

He responds in a way that makes me worried he may be a mind-reader:

I don’t think the point is to be indifferent. Just that if you’re standing with him watching the sunset, don’t begin to pick out the wedding dress, buy houses and have children in your mind during those first 15 minutes you’ve met. Don’t jump into things, don’t have it all arranged in your mind, let life happen on its own.

Oh boy, I think to myself, smiling like a doll, I’m just so lucky you don’t know what I’m thinking right now…

Or does he?

In any case, I nod in agreement while being served an epiphany: this is it. He’s just perfectly summed up what I do: I keep diving fast-forward into my own fantasy and then get offended when the reality doesn’t match up. I tear my heartbreaks out of thin air. Life doesn’t owe me a thing.

Hours pass and before we know it, we discuss relationships and human nature, and the post-post-modern loneliness, and there’s a bit of chemistry going on.

I can’t help thinking we’ve met before…

Could be. Where do you work?

And then it appears that we had to come to the middle of Lithuania to realise we actually work in the same building, one floor apart!

It was the elevator!

I am relieved to have remembered. Yes, it was a minute in the elevator. He was impeccably dressed, even dandy-like in his smart blazer, and beard, and the piercing look.

So he’s older than me. Handsome. Very level-minded. A grown-up, generally.

Just as the conversation gets a slightly more personal touch, one of the guys who’s been serving on the retreat approaches and very politely reminds us it’s time to return to our cells. It’s 10 pm.

We walk together for a short while before it’s time to part, and bid good-night.

Don’t think about tomorrow, just don’t think about what’s next, I tell myself. Stop trying them on like clothes…

As I turn around at the doorstep, there are still groups of people sitting on the meadow in soft clouds of incense, not ready to obey the rules and cut the conversation.

I show lake-shore photos to my cell-mate.

Oh, yours are from up close and better than mine! Maybe because I didn’t wander off to spend so much time in the male area…

We laugh and say good-night for the first time. I really like her.

The chit-chat upstairs goes on until 1 am.

It just feels so good.