Exactly a year ago, I was in Merritt BC- on this exact same meditation cushion, in this exact same onesie - surrounded by 100 other beautiful souls, All Silent.
I was at my very first Vipassana.
Just as Goenka teaches, we aim for “No craving, no aversion.” Equanimity in all things.
However let me tell you my experience..
I went to the Vipassana because I craved silence and solitude. You can imagine my discomfort when I arrive to the hustle and bustle of 100 people AND sharing a room with three other women. Ok.... so not alone. No solitude whatsoever. Not even in the bathroom with our four shared stalls. Alright, fail #1.
That first day too, everyone wanted to talk to me (before the retreat really started). Who are you? Where are you from? Have you done one of these before? Are you nervous?
And in my typical Aquarius fashion - I mostly glared at people and gave very short and curt answers. (I was given the nickname Sassy at age 2 for a reason...) Why we were talking? I thought this was a silent retreat?
Thankfully, we had to give up our phones and paper and absolutely everything and anything we had - except for our clothes, toiletries and alarm clocks.
That first night we got ready for bed - in the collective washroom - and there were people with electric toothbrushes buzzing. What the heck!! I thought this was a silent retreat!!
So you can imagine I’m already a little in dismay about what’s going on here.
We were all assigned a place to sit in the temple for the next 10 days. We had to walk in order. No talking, no looking at anyone, it’s kind of like you’re meant to ignore that there are other people who exist (alright- this is already my normal, I’ve got this!) ha!
Day 1 was hard. Fu@k. We’re meditating from 4am until 9pm. I just want to sleep!
Day 2 - I start noticing people missing in their spots in the temple. It’s really hard to stay awake in the meditation hall.
Day 3 - okay this is still hard. And the teacher asked me into her chambers. Omg! Am I in trouble?! (Nope... just checking in because of my history of eating disorders and making sure I don’t fast).
But let me tell you- breakfast is delicious and served at 6am. Lunch is also delicious and served at noon. The dinner is actually... just fruit. And served at 4pm. And you don’t want to take much because EVERYONE needs some and they don’t put out much.
So I was starving.
Day 4- we switch gears and actually dive into the practice. I start excelling now. I’ve also started talking to the plants outside on my walks and I’m on my monthly bleed.
Day 5- I sleep as much as I’m allowed when I’m not in meditation hall. Fuck it. My womb is bleeding. I do what I want.
Day 6- my roommate is sick. Actually, half of the room seems to be sick. Also, there’s way less people actually in their spots. (I'm so curious and constantly looking around to see who has dropped out... like it's some sort of competition).
Day 7- I’m overcome with sexual energy. My whole body is one big orgasm. I blush at every moment... does anyone else know? Is anyone else experiencing this?! I’m clearly not taming my thoughts but my body is going wild!! This is some form of ecstasy.
Day 8- I’m still luxuriating in the sexual rush. My whole body is just like one big lightbulb. Maybe this is the kundalini awakening I was told about? Although- I’m pretty sure it’s just me using my energy with the practice and yeah... I'll speak to that another time.
Day 9- ok let’s be serious. Only two days left. Stop daydreaming.
Day 10- I’m finally meditating like all day and my body doesn’t hurt. I also had a moment laughing out loud at a chipmunk the other day and my roommate was there. We officially broke silence AND looked each other in the eye. I mean... come on. The chipmunk was hilarious!!
Day 11- it’s over! We break silence! The first thing I do is talk to my roommate about the chipmunk. It slips that I’m a Tantrika and that information spreads like wildfire across the women’s side. One of the other women comes up to me and gives me a witch bottle - because, witches! - and then we talk about Tantra and sexuality and how she also felt that sexual rush around the days I did.
There’s a lot of talking. I hide in my room mostly. The questions are all about how the experience was and my answer is a bit blasé. I mean, it was good, but not like earth shattering (like it seemed to be for most people). I still want solitude.
So this brings me to now - Oct 2020. A year later. The world literally shut down in March. We were all told to isolate. Great. I’m finally getting my dream to be alone!! Woo!! 6 months in, I have what my friend calls Cabin Fever: I’ve been alone too long now and I’m going slightly mad.
So despite the teachings a year ago (no craving, no aversion) - I craved solitude. And as I teach: be careful what you wish for - because now I’ve had A LOT of solitude. It’s funny too because after that Vipassana I ended up living with about 10 people in the same building - to aggravate my disposition further.
Now, I find myself craving connection again. Community. Not to be surrounded by 100 people, that’s for sure, but even just a handful of likeminded souls. Balance in all things is good.
I also crave that removal from technology and the outside world. I do feel like in the last 6 months of the Pandemic, I have had an overload of all things digital and access to all things over technology.
So here I am not living the teachings (again).
How can I come back to equanimity? How can I find contentment (Santosha) and peace with being in the now?
No craving, no aversion.
I love my life. I love that I have been afforded the stillness and solitude I asked for. I love that I have created a profitable online business and also am flexible within that.
I also love that I have these markers in time: This same cushion, this same onesie, this same body and breath and mind.
I’d love to hear your experience of your Vipassana! Or even the idea of where you were a year ago and where you are now?
Please share in the comments!
Lost of Love from me: Sassy ;)