I’ll have to say, that the first couple of days were actually extremely boring for me. I found no mental stimulation, and focusing on my respiration and the reality of my breath was tedious and anything but exciting. Plus to top it off, it was raining the first few days, and I had holes in my shoes, which equals wet feet. Great.
Day 4 finally came, and we were actually going to learn vipassana meditation (up to this point it was just ana pana…focusing on the breath and concentrating your mind). Maybe I won’t be so bored anymore. This is where the real stuff was kicking in. It was an adjusted schedule this day. We had a sit from 3-5pm where we weren’t allowed to leave the room so that we can fully understand Goenke’s directions. So, we’re sitting, eyes closed, focusing on our respiration, focusing on the area underneath our nose and right above our upper lip, observing any sensations we may or may not be feeling there. Then, all of a sudden, he tells us to bring our attention to the top of our head, and slowly make our way down the body to the feet. We must make sure to feel every sensation, whether it be hot, cold, tingly, itchy, prickly, sweaty, whatever, in every nook and cranny of our body. And let me just tell you, woah. Like, freaking woah. I literally felt a movement of tingly-ness run through my body again and again. It was probably the craziest and surprisingly cool things I’ve ever witnessed. It was hard not to create an excitement towards this feeling that overcame me. To just observe and be neutral was a much harder task than I originally anticipated it to be.
Over the next several days, my meditations were just a bunch of ups and downs. My mind just would not stop on some days. I couldn’t stop thinking, and the music would not stop playing. There were days where I just could not concentrate and focus. At all. In the discourses every night, he would mention the importance of working hard. But not just working hard, but working diligently, patiently, persistently. I would walk back to bed some days thinking maybe I’m just not working hard enough, despite my serious effort to concentrate my mind. What was going on? I just wanted to concentrate. I just wanted to feel those sensations like that first time of doing vipassana.
And there it was. I was creating craving and aversion before my very eyes. The one thing that Goenke said not to do. Well played Goenke, well played. Everything began to click towards the end of the middle. The root of misery, craving and aversion, I was creating for myself. I can’t blame anyone but myself.
I decided to work even harder than I was. I wanted to work diligently, patiently, and persistently, without wanting the good sensations and without wanting the bad ones to go away. I can’t say that my concentration and focus got exponentially better and that I could sit hours upon ends focusing on the sensations without being bombarded by my thoughts. Honestly, that happened a grand total of 2 times. Just two. All the other times it was a struggle. But, I worked. I worked hard. I know that this practice is going to come with time, and that’s okay.