Archive for October, 2007

What is this MIND that I am carrying?

Friday, October 19th, 2007

During the course of my retreat (see previous blog entries) I often found myself trying to catch a few zzzz’s before the next meditation session began. Sometimes I would hit the pillow and quickly fall asleep and at other times I found myself hovering in a place that seemed to be so conducive to what I guess could be best called daydreaming.

So, I’d like to describe a very interesting little daydream I had (slightly modified to be more coherent). The beginning seems to be loosely based on a classic Koan where the Pupil asks the Master to pacify his mind…

Scene: Monastary/Temple Hall with Master and Pupil (insert yourself)

Pupil: “Master what is this mind that i’m carrying?”

Master: “Throw it away!”

Pupil: “What about this one?”

Master raises his hand quickly and slaps the student in the face

Pupil: “How about this one?” (impersonating the tone and voice of the
Master)

Master attempts to strike at the pupil who does a back flip narrowly avoiding the next open handed strike

Pupil: “Now..what about this one?” (said in an aggressive tone and adopting a Karate Kid Crane Pose)

Master does not budge

Pupil: “Master, oh please Master..what about this one?” (on bended knees in a pleading for forgiveness tone)

Master does not budge

Pupil: “How about this one?” (starts smiling and dancing the Polka)

Master joins the student and starts dancing along smilingly

Master punches the pupil in the stomach

~

May all beings be free from suffering

Back from retreat…

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

So I returned from my meditation retreat this past Monday and am just easing my way back into society and adjusting to the fast paced lifestyle.

I have now sat a few of these courses and so I can say as I have before, the experience was profound, intense and so rewarding. 

It is impossible to really describe what takes place when looking inwards so deeply but if I had to summarize this retreat experience it would simply go as follows: 

it does NOT get any easier
there is suffering
Insight
Bliss
Doubt
Insight
Humbleness
Change
Compassion
it does NOT get any easier
it is a long path
I choose to walk to this path
 

May all beings be free from suffering

prophecies, choices and meditation..

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Hmm.. i just had a flashback…a long long time ago, in a high school far far away.. I had a entrepreneurial studies teacher that practiced palm reading. She took a liking to me and one day read my palm (free of charge).

At the time I was getting into the usual teenage trouble, smoking, drinking, etc. while already feeling the pangs of an existential angst. She foretold that sometime in my mid twenties, there would be a major turning point in my life. If I chose to go somewhere I would forge an entirely new path for myself, while the decision to not go would keep me stuck in a cycle of poor habits and negativity resulting in an early demise.

For some reason this stuck in my head. I’m sure she didn’t word it exactly like that, and I’m also sure that the same thing could have been “foretold” to just about anyone in that age group that had a pulse and a life line on their hand. Regardless, in a world that may indeed be meaningless, we must create meaning… and so what was the significance of this “prophecy”? Is it possible that after all these years I could look back and define the moment when this choice took place?

I believe I can…

About 6 years ago, while on a bus reading some book on Eastern Philosophy..maybe it was something about ZEN??.. I hit a brick wall of frustration. Up to that point I had inhaled what seemed to be about a million books on enlightenment/spirituality, desperate to find answers and find meaning. While my ego enjoyed a large portion of the material (which funnily enough was about often about extinguishing the ego), I didn’t feel any different. I didn’t feel more spiritual or more evolved..everything remained the same. Meanwhile the content of the books themselves kept contradicting themselves, although some noted that with meditation these contradictions ceased to be contradictions. However, that wasn’t my experience with the little bit of meditation that I had experimented with.

So, I just gave up on the book with the urge to just chuck it out the window, but that was the moment where the CHOICE was made…

I’m going to go on a vipassana meditation retreat.

A friend of mine at the time had been telling me about this retreat that her aunt has been going to for years that was like a bootcamp for meditators and that it completely changed her life and she goes back every year. So I read all the rules, did my homework and applied for the very next course I could.

I was accepted.

In a span of 10 days of looking inwards, I underwent a profound change. These changes came about by themselves.. there was no conscious intention, no forcing them, they just happened. Some of them flew under my radar for quite a while, but certain things were noticed by those close to me (these changes were for the better, I was pleased to find out).

It was one of the most rewarding and illuminating experiences in my life. But it wasn’t all fun and games as at the same time this retreat was one of the most difficult things I had ever done.. I was racked with doubt, confusion, skepticism with painful physical and emotional issues rising to the surface on the regular. It was a constant teeter totter between moments of intense bliss and moments of fear and anxiety.

So here I am.. about six years, numerous retreats later (yes, I kept going back) recalling a high school incident and reflecting on a choice that I feel was instrumental in leading me on my path towards yoga, insight, self discovery and compassion. In fact, if all goes well, I will be leaving on my next retreat this Wednesday!

While, I could go on for days about the meditation practice itself, about its history and philosophy.. it might be far more beneficial for those interested to click on the following links and think about taking that plunge into a retreat experience for the first time or for the next time…

www.triplegem.ca/learn.html
www.dhamma.org
www.vri.dhamma.org
www.buddhanet.net
www.accesstoinsight.org

as I told my mentor yoga teacher.. i’ll tell you all about my “non experiences” when I get back

may all beings be happy!