“Crrak!” My bones and joints were protesting with creaks and groans. Every move that I made was giving away my actions but I could not help fidgeting. The shoulders made a grinding sound each time I flexed and rotated it. I wondered fleetingly if that’s how old people feel. Even a twitch on the toe gave an embarrassing crackling sound in the half-filled hall before dawn!
After three days of observing respiration, we were told to move our attention through the body in an order, either from head to toes or the other way round. This means to observe the sensations; it could be superficial such as the breeze on one’s exposed skin or deeper bodily sensations. The idea was to keep observing and moving the attention as soon as one feels something. If no sensations were felt, stay for a minute to observe before moving on. We were reminded to stay calm and composed at all times, regardless of whether the sensations were pleasant or unpleasant.
As I began to ‘scan’ south from the top of the head, I felt aware of my body, some parts demanding more attention than others. Throbbings on the right forehead, a whispery tickle on the side of my cheek, a dull pain on the left shoulder and lower back, intense pressure on the right knee. “Focus, Kaz”, I told myself and shifted my attention in the prescribed order. “Patience, patience (breathe in, breathe out) we will get to that part in a while.” Around me, I could hear shuffling and I guessed the other meditators were trying to find a comfortable sitting position. I tried to keep my eyes shut and remain still. I started feeling tiny pulses on my arms and hands. 😮
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
― Daniel J. Boorstin
It was said, “when one is ignorant, sensations are a means to multiply one’s misery, because one reacts blindly to the sensations with craving or aversion.” Nevertheless, there are two sides to every coin. If one is aware of the sensations and comes out of the habit of blind reaction, then one can bid misery goodbye.
Does the truth matters to you?
Reflecting on knowledge, I found myself accepting the concept of Vipassana. I have always asked friends, “Given the chance in any situation, would you rather know the truth or be ignorant? What of white lies and hidden truths?”
I am the type of person that wants to know the truth, even if the truth is painful. There are people that subscribe to the thinking that it is better not to know the truth because 1) one cannot handle the truth or 2) knowing the truth does not change matters. All of these are debatable. With no disrespect or judgement, here’s what I think: Knowing the truth may not change matters in the external environment or on the surface, but with knowledge, a person can be changed within. If you are determined, you will ultimately be a stronger person and be more capable of dealing with whatever situations you find yourself in. Changes begin from within, and each cause yields an effect. Would that not mean your situation or the external environment will be changed in time to come?
Do not let fear of the unknown stop you from progressing. Just try.
The day before, the pretty girl staying next door has left; her sudden absence accentuated with the removed plates at the dining spot next to mine. Her departure brought food for thought, “Why am I here? It would be so easy to leave”. But departure was not an option for me. Before we started this 10-day Vipassana meditation course, we were told explicitly of the potential difficulties and asked to consider carefully. It would be a painful process but should we decide to proceed, we must do our best to persevere till the end.
Many years back, a painful but enriching experience has imparted much knowledge, and influenced the person I am today. Keeping to one’s word is very important to me, and I do not want to go back on my word. If you have set your sights or mind on something, give your best. Don’t give up easily. Keep in mind: no pain, no gain.
Guess what? The mind is really resilient and flexible, often
sneakily finding ways to comfort; the emerging sun after a heavy downpour held promises of rainbow … look at the birds playfully dipping their wings! That greedy squirrel with bushy tail held on tight to its prized lunch and scurried up the young papaya tree bearing four fruits. Hello there! Huge banana leaves waved from a distance, as if beckoning me to approach. Enveloped in the simple comforts of nurturing nature, I continued my walk while reflecting on the past few days. As I went down the usual path behind my unit for the third time, a song came into mind.
Walk hard, hard
Down life’s rocky road
Walk bold, hard
That’s my creed, my code
I’ve been scorned and slandered and ridiculed too
Had to struggle everyday my whole life through
Seen my share of the worst that this world can give
But I still got a dream and a burning rage to live
Walk hard, hard
Though they say, “You’re all done”
Walk bold, hard
Though they say, “You’re not the one”
Even if you’ve been told time and time again
That you’re always gonna lose and you’re never gonna win
Gotta keep that vision in your mind’s eye
When you’re standing on top of a mountain high
You know when I was a boy, folks used to say to me
“Slow down Dewey, don’t walk so hard”
And I used to tell them, “Life’s a race and I’m in it to win it
And I’ll walk as damn hard as I please
How do I walk boys?”
When I meet my maker on my dying day
Gonna look him in the eye, by God I’ll say
“I gave my word and my word was good
I took it in the face and I walked as hard as I could”
[To be continued]
If you have enjoyed the above article, please stay tuned for more as I will be sharing a series of my daily thoughts on the 10-day Vipassana meditation at Dhamma Malaya Center along with some useful tips to know before going. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment. Peace, harmony and happiness to all!
- 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Review: Experience, Musings and Insights
- Vipassana Experience Day 1: Addiction and Breathing
- Vipassana Experience Day 2: Living in the Moment
- Vipassana Experience Day 3: Pain and Beauty
- Vipassana Experience Day 5: Vibrations and Meeting the Teacher
- Vipassana Experience Day 6: Strong Determination
- Vipassana Experience Day 7: How many colours are there in the clouds?
- Vipassana Experience Day 8: Law of Nature
- Vipassana Experience Day 9: True Love
- Vipassana Experience Day 10: Gifts, Mindfulness & Metta