10 Days of Silence, the precursor

My kaka planted the seed. When he visited, there was a calm surrounding him, his attitude and demeanor. He spoke of this newly developed equanimity towards everything that he was facing. He was going to bed late as he was in town for a wedding, yet still waking up at 4:30am, refreshed and ready to go. Sit with me one day and meditate. I looked and him and said kaka I’ll take my sleep instead.

Several years later, my parents each attended their first course. Soon after, my brother (along with my mom) went to his first course. My parents kept bugging me and my sister to go to one also, telling us of all the young people at the course. Oh there was this one girl who just got her degree the day before the course started and she came. You should go. Nah, this isn’t for me.

Timing is everything. Three years later, I somehow from googling something and following links (bored and waiting for us to leave on a camping trip) come across this site: http://nipun.charityfocus.org/blog/ I’m addicted. (This is the day after I read about the fat man walking) I sat there, reading and reading, entry after entry about these amazing people. Something deep within was stirred up. There I was 3 months to graduation, planning on going to India for a year to get some field experience and as I read, I realized that I had no idea WHY I wanted to serve. WHY did I always want to do development work, WHY did I want to work with the poorest of the poor. Why, why, why. The “answer” became clearer and clearer. If I wanted to serve. If I want to give of myself, I needed to know myself. I needed to create the change within me in order to change the world. I began to understand the words engraved on the tombstone of the Archbishop, the words that I recalled to so many orders. After trying to change the world, down to reducing the goal to changing his family, on his deathbed he realizes: if I had only changed myself, I could have changed the world.

If I want to serve, I need to develop the capability to serve. To give of myself, without leaving myself with nothing so that I can continue to give. I would go to Vipassana.

As the days grew closer to the retreat, oddly my thoughts were not cluttered with questions or thoughts of what it would be like. I was surrounded my people who simply had said, it will be a growing experience. When I left their home, Viral left me with one idea: remember Heena, the only reality is the present moment. You have to be in the Now. Gives me the Power of Now and says remember that throughout your journey and throughout Vipassana.

I began reading, its a thought provoking read. I get to page 6 by the time I leave. No preconceptions, nothing. I think I tried to avoid thinking about it also because I didn’t want to think about what it would be like and develop anxieties particularly towards the concept of silence, which my friends could not believe I would be able to withstand. From attending several Wednesdays before I left, I felt that I had atleast started the process of calming the mind, be it for the 30 minutes or so (I NEVER could made it through the hour, but I was cool with that) and through Wednesdays, I had culvated the desire to be instructed in a meditation style.

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