One year ago today began my journey back to the states. Not even 24 hours ago did I leave my first Vipassana meditation retreat and I was beyond high on life. The shock of being able to speak again, smile, listen to music, laugh, read, write, connect with other humans via touch and eye contact after 10 days of nothing but meditation (and I truly mean that!) was strange and wonderful. I was motivated to be the change I wanted to see in the world. Ready to write my story, deliver my message and move forward with my career path and relationships.
Participating in the Vipassana was the best experience thus far in my life. I became self actualized, I worked through many roots of my issues I'd used to define who I was and I was connected to nature like I couldn't believe. Time became this thing that I felt with the rising and setting sun and shadows from the trees and mountains. Food was this beautiful texture and warmth only when my body truly needed nourishment. Pain became something to manage and ask for help with (I did speak to the manager a few times about digestive issues, needing a blanket and on day 5, a back brace).
The entire point of this style of meditation is to find an equanimous mind. To scan your body repeatedly not attaching to any emotions, pain, soreness, good feelings, etc. But rather call these ailments 'sensations' and move on with your technique. The deeper you get into the Vipassana the more you learn about why this technique is successful and how our motivation for not speaking is in order to not lie. We eat light as to not be a distraction from the work we're doing. We wake at 4am to be disciplined and participate in hearing Goenka's gorgeous chanting. You live for the sunrise over the Blue Mountains while sipping tea and praying you get to the front of the line for half a banana!
Vipassana was my method to healing my life when I had no direction or idea how I was going to survive living in America again. I had no money, no desire to return to Milwaukee and no solid plan as to what would come next. What I left with was a confidence in myself. An understanding that it's okay that I was broken. The world is broken too. What we can do is believe in ourselves, find presence in our body and work very, very hard to keep good karma.
A day to day blog post on my Vipassana experience is in the works. I cried a lot. I laughed at myself a lot. I saw people do really weird things. Two men even ran off in the woods together on Day 9. Day 9!!!! I met a tribe of people that I hold so close to my heart, and we were only able to speak for about 12 hours. Those bonds are unbreakable. If this meditation experience calls to you, I strongly encourage you to read more about it, do your research and honor the calling.
As Goenkaji always, always said, "Be Happy!"