At 8am this monday i was one of 100 something meditators that were bundled out of minivans and into the thick of kathmandu rush hour. A shock..after 10 days of 9 hours sitting a day, no talking, (trying) to be equanamous to pain and not developing attachment to pleasant sensations, mentally struggling with competing desires, doing deep introspective work as well as getting lost in jumping jack thoughts - it was more challenging than the first course i sat in january, but at the same time a lot deeper and rewarding.
Perhaps this time around i had been already contemplating and discussing the buddhist fundamentals, but i really found that i could 'test' the concepts through practice; getting an experiential understanding to the intellectual, and finding my way at my own pace.
It's hard trying to write about it, but it was things like getting a broader grasp that all things, not just the 'tangible' are impermanent, the way our minds fabricate and propagate illusions, what really my intentions are behind my reactions and what i say and do, how 'i' - my devious ego pulls most of the puppet strings, and just the beginnings of how mind and matter feed each other and the separation of them.
The reality of my day to day sittings was wandering, distracted thoughts, at times succumbing to dozing off, moments of heightened awareness, tweaking of sitting position, being distracted and then marvelling at the capacity of some women to consistently burp every 20 sec for 10min, becoming attuned to sounds that indicated lunch was soon and chancing upon moments of clarity.
I spent alot of energy not properly meditating, but having an internal debate for the first 6 days as to whether i really wanted to spend the last days of my travels there instead of out enjoying life with new found friends.
The soothing balm for the intensity experienced were a number of conversations had after we were thrown into the rush hour chaos. With 3 other fellow meditators -caroline, david and kenta, over coffee and waffles we shared experiences and de-briefed eachother and then, later that night, pretty much all of the 20 or so travellers gathered for dinner and relaxed.
So what next? Am i to be a vipassana practitioner? As before i need to do more research into concepts i struggle with, but i can say that my practice has deepened and i am commited to continue the discovery.
Just as a side note ... The most wonderful moment of the course both times was when on the final day you see people's faces break into smiles and be expressive. A smile really does light up a person's face:)
About this tradition of Vipassana meditation...http://www.dhamma.org