Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: equanimity, goenka, gratitude, meditation, pain, theravada, vipassana
Vipassana, second time around. This time in the tradition of Goenka, the most common tradition practiced in the West.
Wow. I knew it would be challenging, but it’s so difficult to comprehend what challenges one will face. The first couple of days the physical pain was unbearable. Intense pain, no escaping. Just loads of resistance. So on the evening of day two I asked the teacher what to do. The answer was rather unsophisticated: “Endure a little more. Keep on with the practice as it has been taught.”
And I did. I kept sitting. I did my best to really put in all my efforts, really make the most out of each sitting. But it is fucking difficult. 10.5 hours of sitting meditation each day plus another 90 minutes of lecture (sitting down..). By day 4-5 my mind was really quiet and the physical pain was bearable, only to allow more space for boredom. Without a wandering mind, the boredom was excruciating. But, one breath at a time, one minute at a time, one sitting at a time, the days went by.
Interestingly, I only realised after completing this retreat, that I had asked the exact same question (regarding knee pain) at my previous retreat, four years ago. That retreat was in the Theravada tradition, and hence the answer was different: the teacher turned back to me. “So you have pain in your knee? Can you feel compassion with every one who don’t even have a knee? Can you feel gratitude for actually having two knees?” That’s fucking profound! I remember how I could actually apply that in practice. When the pain was getting unbearable, I would remember and feel “Wow! I have pain! I have knees!” making it much easier to endure a little more. This teaching can obviously be applied to anything, at any time. For instance, let’s say you’re late for work (Yay! I have a job!) or you get a flat tire while the rain is pouring down (Wow! I have a car! I live in the 21st C and can travel far beyond my home town!).
I bring some stuff from this retreat too. One important lesson is that the equanimity of the mind is always there, underneath all the turmoil. This became evermore obvious to me, especially on the one two-hour sitting I sat without moving feet, knees or hands (I N T E N S E pain! – However, equanimity was always available, I just had to tap in to it. It became clear to me that equanimity is always available, regardless of the circumstances.)
Another really valuable experience for me personally was to observe that there was not much shit from the past (or the future, for that matter) surfacing or creating suffering. The past 15 months have been so intense – moving back to Sweden, in a near-to-fatal accident, moving in with my lady and her son, starting psychotherapy, getting my wife pregnant, and so on – and I have not had the ability or discipline to really check in with myself to feel how I’m doing. Bless, during the Vipassana, without the distractions of daily life, I realised that I’m doing quite well. Rested in myself and with a deep feeling of trust that everything will be ok.
November is a dark month in Sweden. Cold, grey and dark. On the very first day I saw the sun raise in the distance, only to disappear quite soon. From then, the sun constantly hid behind the clouds. The weather Gods treated us to every shade of grey that week. Misty, wet, soft rainy, hard rainy, gently windy, harshly windy, snowy, frosty, dry, mild, cold… Interestingly, on day 11, on the morning of our departure, the sun came back. A very clear message that this too shall pass.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: comfort zone, fears, freedom, independence, meaning, passion, potential, Purpose, quit
Exactly a week ago I celebrated my departure with my colleagues, cleaned my office, handed in my keys and computer and left the office for good. Fuck what a liberating feeling!!
This employer usually hire new staff on short term contracts which are prolonged time and again. I was on my second contract when I, three months ago, told my boss that I am not interested in an extension. Not an easy choice. Fears about an unknown future, leaving “the establishment”, how to earn a living but more so, what would happen to my identity and the polarity in my relationship. Despite the fears, my intuition kept telling me that I’m wasting my life in that office. I did not believe in what I was doing wholeheartedly. I have more important stuff to do. This life has a deeper purpose than that office allows, and I need to leave the full time office duty in order to explore that purpose.
It came down to the cliches we’ve all heard, “face your fears”, “seize the day”, “let the energy flow where the energy goes”. At the end of the day, I felt I really have to practice what I preach. I cannot stay in the comfort zone, cash my monthly salary, and expect that my true potential unfolds. No, I could not respect myself anymore, had I stayed.
During those three months my intuition was time and again silenced by the buzz of the fears. But the last month my intuition grew louder and the trust that This is the right choice ever stronger. A rush of life energy came flowing through my system. So yes, it was fucking liberating and powerful to walk out of that office last Friday!
It is really awesome to observe what is happening in my system since. Clearly, thinking outside the box is a whole lot easier when not stuck in a box all days. Inspiration is surging. The very day after quitting a new business concept came into my system. Meaningful, on demand, new and viable on the global market. Totally in accordance to my believes and passion. I think that will be my main focus in 2015.
“I didn’t transcend my ego. We became partners. We became team mates.”
- East Forest
I find this thoughtworthy so I wrote it down here so that I can contemplate it on my journey onwards.
“Min erfarenhet har lärt mig att en människa aldrig är så nära framgången som när det hon kallar “misslyckande” har kommit över henne. Det är nämligen vid sådana tillfällen som hon tvingas att tänka. Om hon tänker riktigt, och med ståndaktighet, upptäcker hon att det så kallade misslyckande sällan är mer än en signal på att utrusta sig med en ny plan eller ett nytt syfte. De flesta verkliga misslyckanden beror på begränsningar som människan föreställer sig i sitt eget sinne. Om hon hade modet att ta bara ännu ett steg skulle hon upptäcka sitt misstag.”
- Napoleon Hill
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: consciousness, direction, patience, trust
Unfortunately, this post (Patience) was never written (I just found a blank draft titled Patience dated November 28). I had some ideas about it in november but failed to write it down at the time. I really regret that..
This past fall offered a unique perspective on life.
The fall was characterised by the highest bliss and the deepest dismay. At the end of september I was in an accident which could have taken my life. I ended up in intensive care and only regained consciousness two days later, all wired up with IV and computers plugged in tracking everything. Once I woke up I hardly slept for five days. I myself have no recollection of the incident; only afterwards, little by little, I have put the pieces together in order to understand the rough sequence of events. I didn’t have a trauma because I was already not conscious.
My life litterally halted and I had to start from scratch. Didn’t know up or down, didn’t know what capacities I had and I had to figure out my direction in life anew. Small steps. Thus the idea to write about patience.
I was deeply amazed and touched by the incredible support that was mobilized. So many people around me showed their concern and offered support. Special gratitude to my close family and partner. Deep deep thanks. Stood up 100% for me, offering everything. I also feel loads of gratitude to those who supported my close ones. They were the ones traumatised while I was gone. Fuck I am grateful for all the beautiful people who supported them during those critical days and after.
I floated on clouds of gratitude for a couple of weeks after regaining some kind of basic strength. Gratitude for being alive and for all the beautiful people. Some time after this blissful gratitude faded and the stress of everyday life came over me.
The doctors can’t really explain why this happened to me, but in my intuition I understand the karmic logic in it. It spells Patience. It spells trust. At the time I wasn’t able to relax in trust, I wasn’t able to slow down. Thus.
Will I ever learn? I realised since that Patience is nothing you learn, but a practice to apply in every moment.
Filed under: Uncategorized
“If you don’t take risks you won’t drink champagne.”
- Russian proverb
I heard this quote some fifteen years ago and it has been with me since. It’s inspired me. The question is, am I walking the talk? This is an angle of what I am currently going through and spending time contemplating: am I foolish to let go of this fairly interesting job of mine to do my own thing, or am I wimping out for not testing were my heart desire wants to take me? Hmmm. Well, it’s a matter of time. Now? Summer or end of 2014? Hmpf. The xmas break coming up will do me good, give me time to meditate and pray, hopefully get some clarity.
Filed under: Uncategorized
“You’ll never know anything about where you’re going or who you are.”
- David Deida