After about 4 days in a silent retreat with 10-11 hours of meditation per day the mind really does not stop thinking, it just gets a little less interesting to involve yourself in your many thoughts. If you are lucky to develop the body-mind to realize that the bad feelings and anger don’t feel so good, you stop going there. Not that you can really control what you spin on, but that is what we work on. Then, in time, everything that composes your “real” life slowly becomes foggy and less substantial. You have no net, phone, or speech and immersed in silence and darkness of the cells or even a quiet hall of other long-term meditators with eyes closed…..what confirms your existence? There is, of course, no eye contact in breaks, and everyone there knows nothing of your life or of you. It is not really disturbing, and it is actually sublime living without all connections to your past. It is all stories anyway, and when we die those particulars of your life disappear with you. No matter how close people are to you they will never be able together all the pieces that are your life and idiosyncrasies, no matter how significant they feel at this time. And what does it mean? Why should we put so much importance on the small stuff or even the hard stuff we encounter in life? No one else does it for us. When I talked to Jac O’Keeffe in April, she told me what I went through has no significance at all and to drop it. “It was your body, and not you that it happened to, anyway.” It may sound callous, but it was said with clarity and love.
By day 7, everything I hold dear, like my partner(sorry, Tee Rak) and my family become only ideas that I can pull up and experience solely based on feelings or perceived needs. They seem to be like the same feelings one tries to let go of. Ah, which to keep and discard? The juggling act we think we can do so well. This judgmental mind has often lead us astray. So, I would try to feel them to feel like I exist. It was never done in a panic because existence is always really foggy, only while in silence it is more pronounced absence of ties to what we think is reality. My mind had let go of the stranglehold I had on people and things while meditating, but then my dreams at night spoke of the fears of non-existence. I would try to solve things and conjure importance for being. A few dreams I would wake up with I thought was an epiphany as a clear idea of how to solve my problems or others. Fat chance, as they were usually based out of the ego, that was struggling to exist in the face of close observation of it's weak soapbox. There is no reason why we are here, so perhaps I made this all up to prove I do exist.