How vast the sky can be out here in the West... I recently ended my 10 day Vipassana retreat in Kaufman, TX. And I'd like to share my experience with you. and how the Sun saved me.
Every morning I woke up at 4am. I meditated for 2 hours and I would emerge from this place of stillness, walk outside to the deeply dark sky with glimmering stars and constellations and the waning moon crescent to go eat breakfast (which was oatmeal and strewed prunes) in the dinning hall. As I would exit, I'd watch the golden sun rise up slowly and fill the dark sky with shades of tangerine. I kept thinking... "What and magical way to start the day?" and once the sun had fully brightened the world, I basked in this light to fill my soul with love and support. Vipassana was an amazing experience to have. It brought me to a place of stillness and spaciousness I haven't experienced before (at least in this lifetime). It asked me to deprive myself for 10 days of intimate human contact and self expression. There was Nobel Silence, meaning I couldn’t communicate with anyone verbally, physically, (not even hand gestures) and no looking people in the eye. No journaling or singing/humming/whistling... this experience asked me to give up a large amount of my day-to-day life. But I agreed to in order to see their perspective.
The amazing thing about silence and stillness is that you can find yourself in a place of openness. A place of observation, and in that place you understand you have the option, to choice how you are going to respond to any given sensation the body is presenting/experiencing. The goal of Vipassana is to become a neutral observer of your bodies sensations. To not identify yourself with pain of pleasure allows you to not become attached to these sensations. Not to be in a place of craving or aversion to certain sensations. You simply experience them and have no judgement. Oh how nice this sensation has arisen and now it has passed away. and no need to attach yourself to it because all sensations arise to pass away. For me it was harder with the painful experiences to be a neutral observer than not craving the pleasant sensations. For some reason, pain seems more personal and potent. Maybe because it feels like an attack.
Now I can sit for an hour of meditation without scratching an itch! I have started to re-pattern the habit-pattern of the mind, which is to REACT to stimuli, and now, instead of REACTING, I can sit in observation and choose how to respond. Which makes a huge difference when applied to relations with human beings, and your relationship with food, drugs, and alcohol to name a few things I see being abused and mis-used in todays society. When you change your unconscious habits of swatting mosquitos and scratching itches that are irritating, you actually can change the way you interact with people who seem irritating or triggering of emotional responses within you.
I have to say, though this taught me TONS about myself, and I'm grateful for the experience, I was so glad to get out and TALK and SING and interact with other human BEINGS! WOW it felt like a 10 thousand pound weight was lifted!
I spent a week in Dallas TX playing open mics, practicing getting my voice back to par awaiting a gig at the Opening Bell Coffee house. I had a friend that I made last year when i played, who let me stay at their house for the whole 5 days! It was amazing to have a home base for that time, where I could cook instead of eat out for every meal. Such a blessing!
Now I find myself in Taos, NM hanging with a friend and mentor. Exploring the landscape here... I am falling IN LOVE with this snow covered paradise <3
I'm about to go play and open mic and will update with more info later!
Lots of Love!