13 Sep June 2019 newsletter
Reflections from my Vipassana retreat…
During this past month I attended and participated in a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat held in Woori Yallock, Victoria.
While I did not know the specifics of what I had signed up for, one thing I absolutely knew, both cognitively and in my awareness, was my willingness to step into the unknown, and my choice to surrender fully to a process whose purpose is to transition beyond the sensations of the body.
I chose to be dropped off and, as requested, had no books, pens, paper or phone with me. I had no direct means of contacting “the outside world”.
Yes, my ego/mind, upon arriving at the retreat, had already segregated and separated this environment as foreign and a threat to me, and “the outside world” was my safety and my foundation. My ego/mind had already begun fretting and grappling for safety. Boy, that took a matter of seconds!!
Having to maintain silence helped alot and came with ease. I not only didn’t have to interact and function beyond myself, it greatly enhanced my capacity to observe and remain Present.
I was blessed to have maintained a level of Presence throughout the experience, even at the early stage. While I found it so interesting and yet predictable that my ego/mind reacted in defense so quickly, I did not lose consciousness and continued to watch what else my ego/mind could come up with in its efforts to return me to safety.
I noticed that my choice to surrender fully amplified the reaction from my ego/mind. To bring balance, I began nurturing and reassuring myself (ego/mind) and continued to bring my awareness to the moment as even the ego/mind could always survive the moment. As and in being, the moment was and is all that is.
While I relished moments in meditation during the first 4 days, I continued to experience an ego/mind taking my attention away from the moment and wanting to run away. Yet, in the silence of my own realities, I was able to maintain my observation of the battle my ego/mind continued to create.
Progressively over the first 4 days, without judgement or conclusion, the fretting lessened. I was enjoying the observation and continued to be in allowance of what is.
I was also very surprised in my capacity to sit for long periods of time (total meditation for a day was 10 ½ hours plus a 1 ½ hour discourse), noticing also that this was also because there was nothing else to “do” after the meditation.
When in “the outside world”, it was the ego/mind rush to get to something else that often frustrated attempts to meditate for a prolonged period. I had never allowed myself to be free from “the next thing to do”. Here, there was no next thing, this was it. When in the moment, sitting was with great ease, enjoyment and bliss. At other times (literally), when distracted away from the moment, my ego/mind reacted and looked for the “exit”. “There, there ego/mind, let’s give this a go and come back to the centre”. By day 5 it was a quick check-in to come back to centre, without fretting or much resistance.
The teaching centred around the acceptance of what is as experienced by the physical sensations in the body.
The awareness of allowance of what is that had pervaded my awareness for the last few months, was in alignment with what was being taught during the retreat.
Day 5 was also the beginning of the teaching of the Vipassana technique. The four days prior was the practicing of breathing techniques to sharpen our mind’s capacity to focus on a particular point on the body and experience the sensations on that specific point.
The Vipassana technique brings conscious awareness systematically to all points in the body in order to experience the sensation arising, knowing that this too shall pass. The objective is to observe and experience the sensation until it passes or changes thus releasing the imbalance on that point. The target is to remove the imbalance in all sensations as they come and then go until there is balance. That is, until there is no charge – what I call the true flat-lining of the charge on the content of the ego/mind.
My knowing recognised the technique as simple, pure and very effective. My ego/mind enjoyed the doingness of the process and the framework within which I would systematically move to all points on the body.
I am very grateful to have learnt the technique, and will continue to utilise it as a tool to remove charge on the content of my ego/mind. As I established the practice in the last five days of the retreat, I noticed the discharging of significance on content and the bubbling up of even more sensations on the physical body, ready to also be discharged. I acknowledged my willingness to surrender and let go.
What felt to the ego/mind like a prison and major surgery of the ego/mind, particularly in the first four days, was actually a gift of more conscious awareness in my body. This has been a target of mine in recent years.
I left the retreat with a capacity to bring my attention to even a minute area of the body and perceive and receive the information present from the actual physical sensations experienced. I left with an even greater allowance of what is, nurturing myself rather than judging or “wanting” what is to be different.
While those teaching the technique limited the capacity to perceive and receive awareness solely while utilising the Vipassana technique, I know, as Infinite Beings, our capacities to know truth is beyond one tool and is only limited by our own ego/minds creating a prison or confinement to the scope of that infinity.
Allowance of “what is” naturally invites the perceiving and receiving of awareness from Our Being that will inform our choices.
Read on: Enrica Mallard June 2019 Newsletter