3:48am – Desert Rain
As I was taking a nap in the afternoon yesterday it rained! The joyful sound of it woke me up. Inside my room it sounded like someone randomly hitting notes on a collection of pots and pie pans.
We had a group meditation directly after that and it was lovely. The sound of the rain on the meditation hall, the rumblings of the thunder and the cooing of the mourning doves taking shelter under the eaves of the meditation hall, all the while trying to find the nose on my face in my mind so I could observe the respiration through my nostrils.
Dream – Meta Goenka-ism
I woke myself up with my own snoring this morning. I was having a dream that Goenka was telling me about tax write offs for householders who practice Vipassana through the Triple Gem law. This is a very funny joke, but only if you are at a Goenka Vipassana Center doing a 10 day course.
Note on the mind’s workings: Noble Silence allows one the opportunity to completely project entire personalities onto other people without having to be bothered with any working knowledge of who they are by how they present themselves in words. It makes me laugh how I already picked out a love object, an enemy, a few kind helper types, etc.
I realize the only men I’ve seen on this retreat have been fleeting glimpses from far away. I’ve looked at the male teacher and the male manager, who is a young, dishy Thai guy. Other than that, my strict adherence to Noble Silence has been impressive as it concerns the men.
The women I watch, but I am careful not to interact and I avert my eyes. Sometimes we hold doors open for one another, one time I got someone a spoon when I realized she couldn’t reach, but I did it covertly as if I was just moving a soup spoon into the teaspoon bin.
Morning gong is being sounded. It sounds so lovely. Even though I’m writing, which is verboten, I’m not regretting it, having my own room lets me keep my secret. I remember sneaking out into the desert and the woods to scribble a note on a scrap of paper at other retreats, an idea I didn’t want to forget, or an insight I wanted to flesh out in my writing later.
I need a shower, but won’t have time before the first sitting. I didn’t take one yesterday because the one I took the day before was so disappointing. The shower is so low flow that it’s like trying to soap up while someone is spitting on you. The water almost evaporates before it gets to your nether regions. Frustrating to one who makes a well-cleaned crotch a priority.
7:14am – Worst. Oatmeal. Ever.
Entirely my own fault. How do you screw up oatmeal? Probably the same way you burn broccoli.
P.S. – A1 does not have A1 breath. Sitting next to her this morning knocked me back.
11:49am – Lunch looked great, it was Thai curry, but I was all about the salad again. My stomach is okay today. No wheat or dairy, but there were amazing vegan spring rolls like they serve at Hugo’s. They might have had tofu in them, but I didn’t care. I wolfed them down so fast, I forgot to add the sauce. I also didn’t read the sign that said, “Please only take two” and I took three. I got checked with a look by a Thai lady. It may have been the one I call Outbreak Patient Zero, but I didn’t glance her way even though her message came through loud and clear. Noble Silence, indeed!
There’s a thing that’s started happening at lunch that I totally dig. A handful of us eat lunch at the table outside when it’s not too hot / not too cold and then we all move our chairs away from the table, kick back with tea, and just sit there looking at the view. I call us the “Desert Appreciators Club”.
The vistas here are awe inspiring, and the clouds that roll in put on a new show every day. I never thought I’d say I love the desert because I’ve always just thought of it as hot and dry with nothing to look at, but this trip has convinced me otherwise. There’s this wild beauty about the desert here that I’d never seen before. The only disappointment is that unlike the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, which is where I did my last one before they built this place, there are no actual Joshua trees here. I saw them along the way, but there aren’t any at this particular location.
Going back to food for a moment, I’m going to try and eat raw vegan as much as possible here if I can. I’m not drinking anything with caffeine in it, no Thai tea for me yesterday, or was it coffee?, I didn’t even look. No wheat or dairy, and I haven’t taken any IBU today, so all is well. I want the list of supplements Rev. MBB told us he would give to Rev. Cheryl. He takes systemic enzymes and I think those would really help me. I saw them at the bookstore, but didn’t have my glasses on to read the label. They were seventy something bucks a bottle though. Damn.
Okay, gonna go for a little hike and then shower if I have time before meditation starts again.
9:16pm – Shower won out over hike.
The bathroom here is nicer than my bathroom at home, lack of water pressure aside.
Today was a big meditation meltdown after lunch. A lot of anger and fear came up. Felt like I was having a panic attack. A1‘s breath was so in my face I felt like I was in a closet with a dead person with no way out. At one point I seriously thought I was going to throw up. When I came back to my room I almost did. I was having hot flashes and then I realized I was dehydrated. I’m not drinking nearly as much water here as I do at home and I’m walking more and… I’m in the desert. I chugged some water and felt better. Then the evening Dhamma talk made everything better. Goenka’s funny stories, especially the one about, “What is beauty? Is it the hair on the head? Is it still beautiful when it falls in your food?” Ha! I love that one.
Next Time Bring:
Nail cleaner tool
Ayr or Neti Pot (dry air hard on nose)
Hydrocortizone cream (dry air makes skin itchy)
Citrucil (all day sitting does something to ya)
Get a pedicure before the trip (rough feet bugged me)