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.
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)
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”