Well, folx, this is the third and last part of the Vipassana Diaries. Please enjoy 🙂
Sitting in the morning feels like having arrived. Like homecoming. This presence of mind! No more ‘kneedles’. It’s ‘bumfire’ now. Effortlessly aware for about 90 minutes: already it is a memory. Anicca. The continuation of the practice shows that the pain is manageable. After a while it’s the pleasant states that become a prob as I get easily attached to them.
Deep anāpānā – pain doesn’t concern me. Every action becomes so efficient, so precise. Eating out of a small bowl instead of a plate. Not hungry anymore. Peacefully abiding with the momentary change of different tastes while chewing. No thoughts. Quiet mind. The inner monologue/commentary has subsided into the background. Every now and then, a whisper, an insight, an idea, an image, a memory. But 9 out of 10 minutes: silence.
With some distance I get a clearer picture now. It’s not that ‘my mind is defiled’ or that ‘I am defiled’. Rather, there are defilements which everyone shares. Every woman and every man has a share in these defilements (kleshas) which are craving (lobha), aversion (dosa) and delusion (moha). And sankhārā, as I understand it, is not used in plural but in singular. In plural, it would imply that you have some stock of them somewhere which you need to clean out like Augias had to clean that mythological barn. Sankhāra (sing.), however, means nothing but the habit pattern of the mind to identify with the five aggregates (skandhas) and the resulting defilements. Once you watch them, they become weaker because the habit pattern gets weakened by depersonalizing, i.e. objectifying the experience of this present moment.
I feel a bit awkward today. As if nothing really matters. A bit mad. Crazy thoughts of fantastic skills, superman. At the same time: pulsating headache across left temple and eye. Anicca. Anicca. Anicca. Anicca.
The denial of how temporary life is and how ephemeral the things, places and persons are which we tend to get attached to is ridiculous. Well, it would be ridiculous if the level of our clinging wouldn’t have reached epidemic proportions. We have become addicted to craving. Addicted to craving. It’s not about the worldly objects anymore. It’s a sign of our endless search for pleasure. We are pleasure seekers who deny the fact of decay and death with cosmetics, operations, tricks and mindgames.
Taking good care of myself: Drinking enough water to keep the vessel going. Mettā-bhavana at the start and ending of a sitting to keep the attitude bright. Taking a shower when I need one, especially after sittings of strong determination. Walking in nature appreciating its lush beauty.
At least three things have become clear today:
1. Guard the sense doors
2. Transform craving into mettā
3. Observe pain only when you’re ready for it
1. Whenever I attend a meditation retreat again, I will guard my sense doors. Utmost priority will be: Not to look at the female group. There is always one who will look extremely skilled in practice, have a supermodel shape, and be equipped with mysterious tattoos w/ superb style. Dangerous! It ruins practice. So difficult to watch that objectively: blood, urine, pus, body hair, nails, teeth etc. of someone who I find extra hot 😉 Once you’re hoked you’re hooked and it’s all about the future: “How do I get in contact with her?”, “Where is she from?” etc etc. playing movies of how it would be. There is no end to it. Therefore, from beginning to end: Guard the sense doors!
2. To get a glimpse of dhamma is what ten day retreats are for. Practitioners get desperate and exchange gestures, glances, whispers. They don’t keep to themselves. It becomes obvious on day 9. People stuff themselves at lunch. That’s usually a sign of how their meditation is going. Also, on day 8 or 9 you might get really deep into the practice. You might be i spired to stay but alas, the course is over when you just start to see the results. And there you go: You want results. Being swept away by virtual romance, imagination, mindgames, and all of a sudden it dawns on me: I wanted results! As soon as I transformed craving into mettā by applying the technique, I was free from suffering. All this hoping and manoeuvering because of this lady. To find back to dhamma is so wonderful, so wonderful. So liberating. Like coming out of a hut in which the air is so thick it’s hard to breathe you walk out of it onto a field where there is a meadow, there are trees and you breathe in the fresh air and your lungs are frolicking!
3. You are not observing pain to lessen it or to make it go away or to extend the threshold of pain you can bear. You are here to observe it and learn a lesson.
This is somehow a very difficult day for me. At 10 a.m. the Noble Chattering starts. The mind jumps back into the same old habit of chitchat like a child runs back into the room in which its toys have been stowed away.
Oh how beneficial is silence. Silence is really golden!
What can we do? Something can be done: Love and compassion and equanimity regarding my situation in the midst of it all. Not deeming myself any better because I prefer to be still, silent.
A lot of rain is falling today. Rain rain rain rain, beautiful rain 😀 It reminds me of the acronym:
The last sitting from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Incredibley smooth. Flow from top to bottom, bottom to top. Pain starts, anāpānā comes almost automatically for help, cutting and piercing the stings away like swords of wisdom. Then, concluding mettā. I cry because… when will I be so intimate with my breath again, and because it’s Day 10 and all the misery in the world, and we’re all sitting here, and the whole scene is just so moving I am exhilarated to be a part of it, and so indescribably happy for the new students that they pulled through with it and stayed despite the difficulties, despite the ups and downs! I am so grateful to experience this! Je suis très joyeux, très heureux, très content!
Bowker, John: “Problems of Suffering in Religions of the World”