We started our retreat on the 26 February at 8am. Approaching in a rickshaw the center we bumped outside the gate into the resident teacher Venerable Vivekananda. With a smile he welcomed us and informed that after settling down we will have to fill out some forms and listen to an instruction tape. Even here needed to be done all the worldly administration stuff.

That this would be for Jing and me our last shared activity for the coming month dawned inside of me. After being on the road for 8 month together 24/7 the sudden splitting from my knight Jing would be hard. The gate opened and we got separated. My place would be in a dormitory in the main building close to all necessary facilities and hers in a Triplet out in the garden along the walking meditation path.

Filling out a form and listening to the tape made me feel like I don’t know what I am doing here. Required is to keep 8 precepts and to restrict all my 6 senses including not to talk to Jing. The thought of I am not ready for this strict regime crossed my mind. It is like a first school day where you are not sure what will happen next to you and if you can catch up.

Vipassana is a concentration meditation where you observe the rising and falling of one’s abdomen or any other dominant object within. ‘Observation of my abdomen’…Mmmhhhh not much to see though but my legs get numb and my back is painful. So much to my first sitting meditation encounters.

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During the coming day’s and weeks many things happened to me. Thanks to the guidance of resident teacher Venerable Vivekananda I made it through. His daily interviews were a great encouragement and help me to understand my experiences. Everything is so personal, so depending on oneself that there is no right or wrong answer, everything is just experience. Mostly I realize how busy I can keep myself with thinking, dreaming and reflecting on unnecessary non related things. Especially noisy neighbour mediators made me going mad. Then there are hindrances that like insecurity, doubts, ill will and a lot of laziness wanted to disturb my precious concentration. A battlefield within me. The whole day can change from sunny to stormy like April weather or from up to down like a roller coaster.

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But thanks to all this and the Dhamma talks I gained a simple understanding of the teaching of the Buddha and the path. Something has changed during the 4 weeks for me. If I look from the outside everything is pretty much the same but deep deep inside is a different feeling. It is not easy to say what it is but something has changed.

Alex

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