Meditation Boot Camp: Part 3


Saturday 26th January 2008

Day Six

Meditation goal: To feel the subtle sensations throughout the body and maintain objectivity and perfect equanimity towards those sensations.

This morning I woke up feeling a bit better. My legs and back were much better, except for some pain in my left knee, and I decided to take a whole new approach.
The guru is always saying in between chanting, that we must recognise the reality of this moment, and experience the reality that is, not the reality as we would like it to be, and remain equanimous without reacting to things.

So, with that in mind, I recognised the reality of this moment, and accepted my total and utter failure at meditation. I calmly recognised that no matter how much I want to concentrate and meditate, I suck at it and cannot succeed. So instead of becoming angry, upset and frustrated, I calmly decided to stop, and instead of forcing my mind to concentrate, I would allow it to wander freely and calmly.
As a result I spent the entire day, calmly and quietly contemplating Johnny Depp, and had a long and involved daydream in which he realises he loves me and we live happily ever after.
I felt much better and calmer and at peace with myself.

I also contemplated further the idea of my subconscious being filled with pain and misery, and realised that if this was the case, then clearly all of my happiness was only existing on a superficial surface level of my psyche. Therefore to remain happy, I must at all times remain superficial and do only the things that bring me joy. I made a mental list that includes showering regularly, eating chocolate, talking to people, laughing, shopping, swimming, reading and watching tv. After I leave here I resolved to devote myself fully to enjoying my material possessions and maintaining my happiness quota.

Highlight of the day: Becoming the founder of the Depp method of meditation. (Mental note – must inform the guru of my important discovery. Perhaps I can start my own Ashram.)

Day Seven

Meditation goal: To travel over the body in parallel parts, experiencing the sensations on two parts of the body simultaneously, whilst always remaining equanimous.

After my mental day off yesterday, I decided to seriously settle down to meditate today.
I concentrated hard, and while I was able to feel the sensations as instructed, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of pointlessness.
I simply couldn’t understand why we were doing this. Hour after hour, experiencing sensations. Yes. And?

I was mostly bored.

Bored, bored, bored bored bored.

My left knee is still really sore, but the rest of my legs are fine. During a five minute break I was jiggling from foot to foot and was told off by Evil Jailer 1. Apparently stretching my legs is also forbidden (our “exercise area” is pitiful, even by prison standards, and we’re forbidden to walk any faster than a slow amble).

Spent the lunch hour craving chocolate, and passed away an hour deciding what kind of chocolate I would buy when I got out. Ended up torn between a toblerone and a twirl.

Highlight of the day: Nothing comes to mind.

Day Eight

Meditation goal: Continue feeling the sensations simultaneously and working down the body in parallel.
Still having trouble concentrating. I think I must have peaked on day three.

At lunch, I suddenly noticed two girls who appeared to be having a completely silent conversation. They were making tiny gestures and facial expressions, and smiling and giggling silently.
I mentally sneered at them for being unable to maintain the noble silence, and was proud of myself for not communicating with anyone at all. I mentally lorded my superiority over them, which was fun.

After lunch I stood up on the balcony overlooking the valley and the house below our centre started blaring out music. It drifted clearly up to us, so myself and another woman on the other balcony both quietly enjoyed this illegal music. It was awful cheesy pop, although I had forgotten how much I enjoy listening to music that isn’t stuck on repeat in my head, and even tapped my foot slightly. Then they played a dreadful dance remix of the Celine Dion Titanic song, and it was so terrible, the other lady looked over at me and we both smiled instantly.
I felt really happy, and almost giggled, and then thought “Damn! I’m just as bad as those girls at lunch! Breaking my noble silence by smiling at someone.”

So, I lost all my mental superiority, but then thought – that 30 seconds was the happiest I’ve felt since I’ve been here! Why the fuck (‘scuse the language) would Buddha, who teaches and promotes happiness, totally ban all laughter and smiling? The utter absurdity of it all stayed with me all afternoon, and I simply couldn’t understand it.

Also there were two monkeys sitting on the roof at lunchtime, but when I went closer to have a look, they suddenly went into attack positions and hissed and bared their fangs in a very scary way. I backed off quickly, wondering if they were rabid, and then suddenly it all made sense.

This is clearly an evil Dhamma center, with evil staff. Of course the monkeys are evil too.

The jailers are probably training them to fly, to complete the operation, (Every truly evil organisation should have evil flying monkeys).

Left knee still hurts – must have really pulled a muscle there or something.
Decided on toblerone.

Highlight of the day: Secretly enjoying illicit music and smiling at someone.

Day Nine

Meditation goal: To sweep the body in a totally free flow, feeling and observing the sensations all over.

Really tried hard all day today, but can’t seem to re-focus my mind and get my concentration back. Found it all very frustrating, and that made it even worse. Left knee still really hurting – what on earth did I do to it? Is it possible to damage/tear muscles simply by sitting very still for long periods?.
During the break times the atmosphere was really weird today – like a sense of repressed hysteria. It’s our last day of silence – we can speak tomorrow, and you can sense the anticipation and excitement – it’s almost palpable!

The weather’s been freezing the last couple of days, and at lunch time today I was the most bored I’ve been so far. I sat in my room, unbearably bored, and stared at the wall (it was way too cold to go outside). Suddenly my eyes landed on my deodorant can and I realised with glee that it had writing on it! Haha!

I immediately read all of the instructions and ingredients in English, French and German, and then educated myself on the dangers of solvent abuse.

I briefly contemplated whether or not I was bored enough to try solvent abuse, but decided that in only two days I’d be free to indulge in my preferred method (wine abuse).

When I was done I went purposefully to the bathroom and returned with all of my toiletries. I read my shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and moisturiser cover to cover (incidentally my Colgate is recommended by the Indian Dental Association and my hand cream was made in Israel).
I discovered that my eyeshadows were called “Chocolate mousse” and “Cappucino”, and then tried to put on three lipsticks at once to see what colour it would be.

After that I was going to unpack my entire bag and read all my clothes labels, so I could compare washing instructions, guess how many of my underpants came from Asda, and other such fun games, but decided I’d better leave something fun to do tomorrow.

After lunch, something funny happened.

Every day in the hall, there are always noises. There’s over 70 people sitting in silence meditating together, but there’s always someone coughing, sneezing, sniffing, farting, burping or gurgling etc. For the last nine days, we have all completely ignored it.
However today, after lunch, someone farted, and then someone giggled.

That set off the entire hall, and everyone was suddenly stifling giggles and snorting as quietly as possible. It was utterly infectious and all the supressed hysteria rose up in waves.
I personally am proud to say I managed not to laugh, although I was smiling, and I could hear people having to get up and leave the room.
I risked opening my eyes to see how many people had left, and saw Evil Jailer 1 standing directly over me glaring! People just couldn’t seem to stop laughing, so eventually Evil Jailer stormed up to the front and snapped on the overhead neon light. That sobered everyone up, and the sight of Evil Jailer standing over us all glaring made me feel like we were naughty children in assembly being told off by the headmaster!
I almost laughed, but didn’t dare, and felt really happy for a minute – there was a lovely sense of community that we were ALL in trouble together – finally it wasn’t just me!

Highlight of the day: Feeling happy at being part of the group for a few minutes before sinking back into my bubble of total isolation.

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