I just returned back into the Matrix. I completed my second 10-day Vipassana course. Its a silent meditation retreat. No talking, writing, reading, drawing etc…This second time around was a much more challenging experience. I woke up every morning ready to go home, not because of the retreat but because I missed my life. When it was day two, I was thinking about day three. When it was day four I was thinking about day five. It was a mental, emotional and physical journey that was well worth it but I had the white flag by my side ready to wave it every morning. The one thing that kept me going was on the even number days they served deserts. It was even day desert day!!! YUM. I jumped out of bed with a little extra jump in my step. Day eight was the best. They had chocolate cake. I had two pieces. For a moment, I forgot about day nine. The simple things in life:-).
I’ve always left Toronto in the past and yes, I missed my family and friends, but I never missed my day to day life. Not to this level of intensity. This time was different and the deep work I’ve dived into the last few years has certainly begun to pay off. It has paid to create a life that is aligned with the root of my being but I couldn’t have done it without deprogramming myself the last four years which included two rounds of Vipassana. Ten days of silence accompanied by ten hours of meditation per day, results in creating a lot of space within.
Today in yoga class, my teacher Shivalee yelled softly (if anyone can yell softly, it’s Shivalee), clear your mind! I thought to myself, shit, if I clear anymore I’m going to dissolve completely. I’m so open, raw and empty. My heart and every cell of my being seems exposed to every possible sensation this city has to offer.
Meditation, regardless of intensity or even style, begins the process of removing habitual roots, roots that no longer serve us. A meditation practice helps to create space within so we can plant new and fresh seeds. Many of us have all these deep desires to shift and live a more aligned life with who we are at present, but there is no space in the soil within to plant anymore seeds.
A little secret. To create space in the external world it requires us to create space in the internal world. It’s a profound magic trick that anyone can do and all is needed is to sit for five to ten minutes per day. Stillness and silence are the only ingredients in this recipe. One more little secret. It’s not about stopping our thoughts. If that is the game you try and play then you are playing to lose.
Here is one of the little things that unpacked during my days of silence. This is for the big city meditators:
1. Focus on your breath moving in and out of your nose. Just your natural breath. No manipulation. If you like, simultaneously focus on your breath filling and opening your heart (a lot of magic and power lives here).
2. You will eventually travel over to thought. A thought about work, your lover, your kids, your laundry or maybe chocolate cake. I know, who wants to stop thinking about chocolate cake? Not this guy.
3. The moment you notice getting lost in chocolate cake, return your focus to breath. This is the sweet juice of meditation. This is how to strengthen the self awareness muscle.
4. It’s not the breath, it’s not the thoughts, but the part where you notice and pull back from thought to breath. That my friend is the key to meditation, that is the way to develop, strengthen and expand your self-awareness and if you want to play a game, that dance from thought back to breath, that is the game to play.
Self-awareness is an ever evolving muscle that can never grow enough.
Good to be back in the matrix. If you see me in person I will probably hug the fucking shit out of you. It may get uncomfortable. I apologize in advance.