facing my fears
It’s as if I can feel all my fears coming to the surface…
I’m sitting in the Savannah, GA airport. The time is 5:11am. I haven’t slept. Stories of child murders, Boston bombings, and other stories in today’s horrific news resonate through the nearly empty terminal. Last night I sent one suitcase, and my trusty ‘tour’ bike home with Wes Day- one of the blue men here on tour, who was driving back to Orlando, and in fact is probably already there. I’m headed somewhere different…
Thursday I will be partaking in a 10 day vipassana meditation retreat. Students take a vow of sacred silence and aren’t allowed to communicate with other students through words, body language, signs, written notes or otherwise. We will be under a strict schedule of waking at 4am, and meditating for around 10 hours each day. We have breaks for meals, showering, and walking in the courtyard. We are to have no contact with phones, computers, or other devices, and are not to bring reading or writing material. There are instruction sessions with the teacher in the evenings. We will only be allowed to speak to the teacher during breaks or during the designated discussion times. The description of the course strongly states that students should show up with the attitude to work. The goal is for us to see how things really are, and see through our own unbalanced reactions to situations pleasant and unpleasant.
I found out about this type of meditation practice from a Netflix movie, Dhamma Brothers, where they offer this 10 day intensive meditation course to prisoners in one of Alabama’s maximum security prisons. I was amazed to see the difference this made for some of these men. You could see a change in their faces, and the way they talked in the before and after interviews. What would a course like this do for me? After seeing the movie, I began to do some research, and found that it’s taught here in the States at many different locations, at fairly regular intervals, and perhaps most interesting of all, they don’t set a price, and won’t let you donate anything before you have completed at least one of the 10-day courses. After you have completed one course, you may donate how ever much you feel, with the thought that your donation helps the next class of students to have this available to them. But no one will be turned away due to lack of funds.
I’m nervous. I’ve never done anything like this. It’s going to be intense. I’ve been meditating every day for almost a year, and it can be tough. Even sitting for 30 minutes at times can seem like a long time. But I’m going to be sitting for 10 hrs a day!!! Yikes!!
Supposedly by approaching meditation in this way, (10 days of isolated, intense work on meditation) you are able to go deep down into your own psyche. Diving into your own subconscious to find all the shit. As Peter Gabriel puts it, “Digging in the dirt, to find the places we got hurt.” So i’m about to go digging, but I don’t know what I’m going to find… that’s the scary part. I feel like I’m going into this as I know myself now, but I’m not sure how I’m going to walk out of this on the other end.
The timing couldn’t be better though- I’ve got some big things to deal with that are brewing on the horizon, and I’m pretty sure this is going to help me deal with those things in a much better way.
But in reality- I have no idea what this is going to be like. It could be easy… it could be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But the fact that it scares me in this way, reassures me that it’s the right thing for me to be doing.
Wish me luck-
See you on the other side-