In the middle of a Vipassana retreat, I think it was Day 5, I asked myself how Goenkaji could know that this particular technique as he taught it and as he so vehemently urged everyone to follow scrupulously without changing anything, that this very technique would lead to full liberation? I mean, he was not a Buddha, he said so himself – the assistance teacher from India pointed out this fact to me, adding that he is basically a Bodhisattva, filling up huge pots of paramis (i.e. faculties supporting one’s awakening/liberation) and building a big ship for many to sail across the ocean of samsara.
And now, in the middle of the retreat, an answer to that question emerges from the depths of stillness within. With certain sensations certain thoughts arise, certain emotions come with certain thoughts, and these in turn influence how the body feels. One of the memories that came up was this: when hiking in the mountains or on the Camino thru Austria and Switzerland I got landmarks and some instructions by people I met on the way which were reaffirmed. That way, I knew I was on the right track. Yes, it is just as I was told it would be. Confidence arose. There is a difference when it comes to insights arising from meditation, though. Yet the purpose was served: the question and with it, the doubts concerning the practice, dissolved.
Another thing I remember: at times when I was playing table tennis as a child… I trained twice a week, I won tournaments, went to training camps for weeks on end, then lost sometimes and learned to lose better, sometimes with the help of a close friend or a family member who reminded me where i am and what I’m here for! And what I was here for was to win or at least make it as hard as possible for the other to win against me. Me. ME. Ambition arose. Or as my liefie calls it: my kaprikorrrn turns loose. My Capricorn spirit manifested in my wanting to win something, be it a medal or a trophy or, extended to the personal realm, and always closely connected to it, to win a friend, to win over a girl, gain sympathy.
It became very clear. ‘My world’ as a child revolved around getting what I want. This is changing now. As I travel I keep on exploring both the inner and the outer world, and I see how they correlate. The tendency to give from a place of abundance becomes more and more predominant as clarity increases of what is essential in life & death. What stands out is what I already have got instead of what I think I need to get. This also applies to my attitude towards meditation. Instead of striving too hard and tiring myself in the process I start where I am at the moment and try to stay relaxed about any tension that arises. In order to do that, I have to be aware of it, of course.
Thus every day and every night I grow in gratitude for my family, friends, ancestors, community, for this body, voice, for this pliable mind, for the loving and compassionate heart, for all hospitality wherever I come, it is so incredibly easy to come around! Thank you thank you thank you!!
Like this I prepare for the final hour so that when it finally comes, and it is bound to come — every ‘birth’day is a reminder — I go in peace. And if rebirth turns out to be just another story to keep me in check and to teach me I-better-be-a-Goodman, then at least, if nothing else, I have led one happy life!