10 June, 2014

The Quiet Will Fix Me

Having just completed my 10th Vipassana of 10 days, focusing on lifting any expectations and any residual deep-seated problems that could get in the way with my upcoming marriage to my partner. The issues that could come up are more based on my brain injury trauma, and my own unique way of dealing with life in the past, combined with it. Between my partner and I, there is little difficulty with our long history providing I don’t add my daily frustrations of dealing with this disability. We have clear intention not to hurt the other and a natural love that is mature after 13 years.

So, I found another person to join me on the ride there and back and we both were excited about sitting again, talking all the way there. Feeling that we both needed it for our own separate reasons... it all seemed natural. We flowed into the course and moving into silence and the first day I was given my meditation cell number as old student. So I know that it is best for me to work hard and sit in the hall during the mandatory sits and the rest of the time in the cell never returning to my room with the distractions of door closings and the tempting way naps spring up on you. Of course, by Day 2 morning sit, where I tried to make it to the cushion at 4:10 am, I had hit my first hurdle. “Why am I here torturing myself, again,” given that my last course was in October 2013. I worked through that one by the time breakfast bell rang and subsequent sits were moving into settling down into routine by fine-tuning the mind with anapana. 

Resistance is with us even when we have a taste of wisdom with our natural laziness of not wanting to accept any change. It is a scary realization that even doing something we intend to do, we want no doubts to ever show up because they were not invited. So doubts are always present at least for me because I don’t know about you. Onward to day 3 which began to show the knee pain slight bit amplified with the mind do it’s natural jumping around, but day 4 which is Vipassana day was probably the easiest one I have ever experienced, which is not really easy to sit for two hours as you move into body scanning. It is more the mental energy change that bring up your first insight into the deep stuff that is hidden in your subconscious. Day 5 brought me some craving when one is really settled into routine. I like the early wake-up and the walk to the pagoda with the big dipper laid out in my path. I had brought some yerbe matte tea to have and look at the stars just before I walk inside, hoping for the great shooting star I had seen my first 10 day sit there in 2554(2011). When a few of us saw it the same 4th day, and remarked later on the 10th day when we could talk. My craving brought up some sex and closeness I wanted, but my body sensation that day in the 2:30-3:30 sit in the hall showed a relaxation and painless natural flow. I almost felt cocky as my body cracked with ease during what I call the “pee” break.

Day 6 night dreams were interesting as I was knee deep in clear ocean with manta rays coming up from the sand around me, allowing me to grab on to one huge one as he leapt from the bottom out of the water up to the sky to save me from sharks coming near. But then we crashed through the windows in my bedroom at home landing on that bed. That was interesting and because it seemed to have happened just before waking to go for my 4 a.m. meditation.
I could write a lot more about how once you are settled into routine, that one perceives the sound of silence constantly, and even one often hears two pitches of the vibration of the universe. My craving would be shown when I would hear the gong sound not when it was sounded, because the body would want to hear it above the sound of silence. The gong would sound during breaks and meals, so it was hard not to crave it, it was beautiful and a “reward” making one feel much like Pavlov's dog.

But if you all know Vipassana, it all changes and it can be as fast as a heart beat, so then I became more aware of the man directly behind me in he hall who had a frequent habit of swallowing and clearing his throat in a voiced way. He became a constant reminder of what I have to work on, the inability to control others. With my brain injury, I do have an enhanced link to any one’s felt nervousness that my body automatically picks up. That is why I can’t get in line to order like in a coffee shop, because when it comes to speaking with people waiting behind me it makes me lose the balance of the mind leaving me speechless or full of errors. I usually let people pass me until there is a break. It is just one of the few frustrations I encounter every day with this injury. 

Just yesterday an older friend over coffee was trying to coach me how to speak. I showed her how tapping helps slow down my speech, affected by the inability to control air flow. She said that was clear! But I said it only works while tapping right hand in left, and it destroys all thought, so spontaneous speech is out, plus who has two hands free? And if that does not get some weird looks that actually distract from any point I am trying to get across especially in public. Which comes down to carrying a pad and pen all the time, which I don’t do because it makes any speech practice less and less, and any ability to improve with rewiring.This leads me into day 7 morning sit in my cell, almost bouncing off the walls in total frustration. This was when my heartbeat becomes too prominent a focus to scan or pierce and leads me to use it as a metronome. Moving to new spot with each beat.  It annoys me, and the teacher said to avoid the heart area and center of your body when that happens. I have to relax back in anapana while trying to quiet the mind down. My frustrations came out which is good and the reason I was there, but it was no fun. Subsequent sits were easier and with more wisdom, just with more body pain.

Meanwhile, the 7th and 8th day night dreams were of gasping for air relating to my anoxia in the hospital years ago, as it pulled up from my subconscious. I can imagine I have more with intubation to come. By day 8, I was having more parts of my body in flow showing me the vibration of atoms that we really are composed of. I was still making into my cell by 4:10 by waking at 3:45 for tea and a quick wash of my face with cold water. But then anger came out that morning, and seeing the need to fix others because I can’t possibly fix me. A insightful look at where my anger leads to, and again it was resolved by the time breakfast bell rang with tears of appreciation for my Mom and others. That was really a fast work through that would have taken several days in the past in Vipassana sits. Although one is never totally fixed as you delve deeper into the hidden treasures of the subconscious each time you do one of these. And in the hall sits my neighbor who sat behind me was amping up his noise and anxiousness with each sit, almost wanting me to discuss with the management, but I never did knowing it was more my sankhara than his. 

By the 10th day when we spoke I quickly had an understanding with the his tremendous creative energy recounting his dreams and aspirations. He was quick to voice his appreciation for my firm sits that inspired him, and I often got through times when it seemed unbearable to me, by knowing that I could inspire him, by being a good example. So that turned out to be another touch of wisdom in this long path. Another more weighty gentleman talking to me afterward giving me several suggestions like more physical activity to help speech without asking me first what I have done. Again a clue as to what inspires my frustration when other assume my injury is my own health negligence and not a hospital error that I have slowly made significant gains way beyond what anyone imagined. A neurologist friend I have said that I am the most severe he has seem walking around and has used me as an example when he taught medical students about the human potential to heal as one can never assume outlook. My encounter with that fellow sitter leads me to understanding where my need to fix others root is based.

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