Adventures In Tackling My Greatest Fear: Vipassana

I recently faced an old fear of mine and completed a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. I always associated long, silent meditation retreats with that horror story back in Thailand, 1999. I was fresh out of university, first time abroad and I was up for EVERYTHING! Meditation: AWEsome! I envisioned myself having super cosmic, out of body, multidimensional experiences. I might even get enlightened! But when I got there, it was HOLY HARD. A tsunami erupted inside of my head. After a few days, I did what any normal 22 year old girl would do, or at least would want to do. I escaped to the arms of my newly acquired Thai boyfriend. Freedom was pure heaven, and yet in not finishing, deep inside I felt a sense of failure and an inability to cope with my untamably wild mind. I always knew that someday I’d go and conquer that “thing I couldn’t do.”

Fast forward to a Peruvian village a few weeks ago when I said to Simon, “I think I’d like to do vipassana.” As if my request was heard, I opened up my email 20 minutes later to discover that I’d been accepted to a course I’d gone on the wait list for 6 months ago starting in a week. I decided to follow the synchronicity and despite the fear I had about sitting and doing nothing for 12 hours a day without speaking, writing, reading or even looking at anyone, I made the 14 hour plane journey from Peru to La and a ten hour drive to Northern California. It was time to do that thing that I was scared to do.

Turns out that I love mediating 12 hours per day and not talking to anyone. I loved it so much that I even considered giving it all up and becoming a nun for a minute or 2 (it was a very short minute, but still.) I even loved the parts where I hadn’t moved in an hour and I had an itch on my shoulder that needed to be scratch NOW and every cell in my body was on fire wanting to move…because I could so clearly see that it was training for life. Vipassana is far more than meditation, it’s about connecting with the deep place inside that is always at peace no matter what is happening in our internal or external world. It’s breaking mind patterns that are so unconscious we don’t even know they’re there. For me vipassana was like a long hot shower… A biochemical reboot. And as I sat there for ten days not speaking to anyone, I could feel how amazing everyone around me was. Sure enough, when we could finally communicate again, it was like summer camp… We had so much fun And we literally COULD NOT STOP TALKING! MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY aND FREE and may I do my part to make that a reality!


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