I woke up at 3:45am, 15 minutes before the bell. I get out of bed, gather my clothes and make my way to the Lady's Room. I grab my container of toilettries and jump in the shower. By 4:20am, I had already done my bed, cleaned the shower (walls with Vinegar Solution and floor with Comet and a brush) and was ready for 2 hours of meditation.
I take a seat and look around. It's pretty amazing that we're all up and ready for meditation so early in the morning. I close my eyes and focus on breath. Is it deep? Is it shallow? Does it go in the right nostril? Left nostril, or both nostrils? Notice the outside of the nostrils, below the nostrils and upper lip. Like a good student I focus on the triangle area of my nose, like Goenka instructed. Breathe. Hmm.. my stomach's grumbling. What should I have for breakfast? That fruit stuff was pretty good. FOCUS! Breathe in, breathe out. It's recommended that we don't use mantras, focus on shapes, words, nothing. Just breath and what is. I focus on breath again. The air is going through both nostrils evenly. I wonder if the girl next to me is a right nostril, left nostril girl or both? Man, it's cold in here, I should have brought my blanket. I really like that blanket...LORENA, FOCUS DAMMIT!!! So that goes on for the whole 2 hours. Then the bell. Time for breakfast.
I grab a bowl and a spoon and get some cornflakes. Grab a banana, put the peel in the compost container, place my nanner on the cutting board and slice it thin. Put a spoonful of raisins and make my way towards the bread. There's a few of us waiting, so I grab 2 slices of bread and wait. One of the girls grabs her toast and I go through the traffic of women making their way around the buffet area. I stop as a woman wants to go around me, and take a step back. Since we couldn't communicate, that was our way of letting each other know who has the right-of-way. It was kind of like a dance - head all the way down, step back and they go on their merry way. I butter my bread and put a bit of jam. Man, that stuff was good. Add a spoonful of jam on my cereal, too. My mom used to put jelly on my cereal, so I think of her. I grab the rice milk and add a bit to my cereal. Hmm.. where to sit? I just sit anywhere. I looked around and everyone is eating their breakfast... slowly. Sit an enjoy. I look out the window and am in awe of the view. Gorgeous desert mountains. Man I miss those. Time for tea. I sit and sip my tea slowly and enjoy. I finish eating and grab a napkin, wet it and clean my area. I'm not a slob or anything, but if I can make someone else's job easier, 10 seconds of a quick wipe will make someone else's job a little easier.
I grab my water bottle and make my way to the Walking Trail. It's about 7:15 and it's warm already. Man, this trail has a bit of an incline. I make it to the top of the trail and there's a sitting area. I take a seat and take in the beautiful scenery in front of me. I'm there for about 5 minutes, get up and take another lap. Walk, don't run.
Fast forward to the meditation before the daily discourse. Same thing as earlier, I focus on breath and my mind goes all over the place. Dammit, I can't focus. It's frustrating. Meditation over and we take a quick break.
This discourse would prove helpful in my mediation journey. Goenka reassures us that even though our minds wander, we will conquer. Be patient. Patiently and persistently. He said something that completely blew my mind. "The breath that goes in is cooler than the breath that goes out." What??? My index finger goes immediately under my nostrils. Breathe in... yup cool. Breathe out... warm. WTF?! I BREATHE EVERY DAY, HOW DID I NOT NOTICE?! I guess I needed someone to point it out. He says there are biochemical reactions all over our body. A tingle, a tickle, a prickle, warmth, cold, pressure, so many sensations. Sensations where there's life. He says if we feel an itch, don't itch it. Just observe, do nothing. No itching is eternal. Observe without reacting. Discomfort is impermanent. He also said not to harm ourselves or others. If we harm others, we are actually harming ourselves. It's a very profound talk. At the end of the discource Goenka chants "Bhavatu Sabba Mangalam" (May all beings be happy). The old students chant back "Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu" (so be it, so be it, so be it). New students can, if they want to, but there's only a few who chant back. We take a short break.
I go outside and notice the amazingly gorgeous sunset. Hues of red and blue all up in the mountains. The sun starts hiding behind the mountains. Oh those desert sunsets, how I missed them.
Back to the Meditation Hall and I'm eager to meditate. Recorder plays and it's Goenka chanting. Chant over and I concentrate on breath. Breath in... cool. Breath out... warm. Yup. Do I have shallow breaths or deep breaths? Or are they just breaths? I breathe in and feel the air making it's way up my nose. Breathe out and it's warm. I feel it touching my nostrils. My upper lip now feels the warm air. I'm completely fascinated. No thoughts enter my mind. The half hour went really fast. This new knowledge is groundbreaking.
The picture below is the seating area I was known to take after every meal. It was almost a given - Beautiful sunsets, sunrises, me on this spot, and my trusty water bottle (bottom right).
#justobserve #patientlyandpersistently #pictureoftheday #bestseatinthehouse
I should note that the only time we could communicate was when we had questions for our teachers or resident manager. Otherwise... zip.
Day 2 discourse - 10 Day Vipassana Course - Day 2 (English) - YouTube