Heaven on Earth

Well the title certainly creates a feeling that this is going to be an all round rosy post but I wouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover and I suggest neither should you…

I will concede though (SPOILER ALERT) it does have a happy ending but come on, who doesn’t like a happy ending!

Because unless you’ve been living under a rock, Positive Psychology is here and it’s making a lot of headway with research, on just how focusing on what’s right rather than on what’s wrong is the best way to take us from Misery to Happiness.

This series of blogs though is about my experience of the 10 day course in Vipassana meditation, a cathartic experience both at the time and now through my writing.  I really didn’t know what to expect, sure you can read the website but I didn’t bother.  The most I knew about it was what Kerwin Rae had shared and how he’d done it 7 times, that it was an intense form of meditation that they taught to Monks and it was actually more like 11 days so he’d endured a total of 77 day’s.  Along with the fact that after the 10 days silence Kerwin disliked re-engaging with the other attendee’s of the course because of a perceived one up-man ship that he encountered with various stories of ‘my experience was better than you’re experience’.

The reason I went into the course with little to no expectation, other than I knew it would be a challenge was because, as I will share by the end of the series, my experience was different, as would each of yours be.  That’s the point isn’t it, we’re all so different and unique in our perception of reality… Yet at the core of it I find we’re all the same.  I’ve always held the belief since I was a child (god knows where it came from) that this place, our Earth held both Heaven and Hell – not that they were some other realm that happens after we die but that in our earthly life, us human’s can experience at times both of these states; or we can be born into them; or we end up there through life choices, kamma or circumstance.  Never has religion been on my radar, I could never comprehend how there were so many different dogma’s all professing to be the righteous path but none demonstrating the pure essence of their teachings… but that’s a whole nother blog!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Day 4 found me initially questioning my meditation practice, although my mojo was back and the MA15+ rated scene’s continued to flow through my mind; it was with clarity that I was starting to be fully aware of my craving for love throughout my life.  I wanted to pose these thoughts and questions to the teacher as I had the previous day.

Day 3’s questions though were the basic:

  • Can I move my position, or should I push through the pain and maintain my posture?
  • Why if universal law enables other beings to kill for food, do we humans need to be vegetarian?

At lunch though (just before we get the opportunity to speak to the teacher) I found myself pondering my life, sitting on a bench in the sun, enjoying the sounds and feel of nature and it dawned on me just how happy I was.  That I didn’t want to be anywhere else right at that moment, that I was exactly where I wanted to be, learning and experiencing Dhamma.  This was my ‘Heaven on Earth’ but it was more than just a Happy Place it was the happiness within me that was shining through and I couldn’t help but to cry tears of joy.

Time to choose your next adventure… The Pain Barrier or Missed the G Spot

If you’re not ready to take your next adventure now then you can always subscribe and come back later…

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Misery to Happiness

Arriving Day 0 I had no (real) idea what I was about to embark on, sure I’d read the website and the emails sent to me about the guidelines for the course but the reality of what I was doing would only become evident through the actual participation.  That’s how the course is designed and was what resonated with me from the first day – experiential learning, which in my opinion is the only way to truly learn and move from a knowing (or intellectual wisdom) to understanding (experiential wisdom).

The first couple of days were a blur… It was Day 3 that took me from misery to happiness but before we get into the nitty-gritty I want to set the picture for you.  The property that the course takes place at is 40km outside of Brookton on a beautiful piece of Western Australian countryside with granite outcrops and views over the valleys.

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What I was about to undertake was a 10 day course in the Vipassana meditation technique.  In short it involves no talking, no technology or contact with the outside world, meditation from 0430 – 2130 and two vegetarian meals daily… yep it was always going to be a challenge but that’s why I wanted to do it.  I enjoy a challenge and new experiences, my life has been enriched as a result of this philosophy and this Vipassana course was further evidence of that.

Having focused intently for two days already just on breathing and with no one to talk to but myself the morning of Day 3 I found myself crying with the pain and fear of loss. Loss of love, loved ones and being left alone.  My biggest fears rising to the surface overwhelmed me as I recalled memories of my Father not being affectionate, my Mother leaving when I was 2, my desperation and cling’iness to boyfriends, friends who dismissed me and the passing of my beloved family members.  More accurately though it wasn’t so much fear but a belief that I wasn’t worthy of love.

Given other work I’d done before on my personal development I knew it was okay to let these emotions rise and not suppress my need to cry as I was releasing it from my body and my mind, making space for the light and happiness to take its place.  Which is exactly what happened later that day and was further evidence of the Vipassana teaching and theory that we would hear each evening between 2000 and 2100 as the wise words of S N Goenka would guide us on our experiential learning path.  The mind is fickle and moves from one thing to the next, at times, without much rhyme or reason and when we engage with the thoughts we seem to embed them deeper into our sub-conscious.

What happened next I have to warn you would be classified MA 15+ (as it contains classifiable elements such as sex scenes)

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The meditation sessions for the remaining afternoon dragged up memories and images of my boyfriends, sexual partners and one night stands.  Now, I’m a very physical person and it’s certainly true that one of my primary love languages is physical touch but by the end of the diatribe my mind threw up and with the Day 3 discourse I was starting to get my first taste of experiential wisdom.  Having gone from the misery of feeling unloved, desperate for love even… my mind reminded me of all the times I had sought love; some genuine, others a glimpse of possibility or just the physical manifestation of lust.  Reminders all the same that this external validation of love that I was seeking was also impermanent. Continue reading “Misery to Happiness”