Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

What Demons Will I Waltz With?

By Lauratri

Full moon is coming!  Monday.  I can feel it this time.  Head’s all over the place.  Feel spun out and up in the air…despite the head cold that would have ordinarily kept me as grounded as a tomb.

Moon day is a rest day of course…I bang on about that enough.  For me its been a rest week.  Period, irritating toe injury, head cold that’s knocked me sideways, and now we’re heading for the full moon.  It means I only have one more potential mysore class before I go into retreat at the Hereford Vipassana meditation center.  Gutted because I saw so much progress in such a short space of time, and love the sense of belonging.  It’s tribal, as well as higher-consciousness.  What a beautiful combination.

But it’s not the end of the world to take a pause for a fortnight, potentially a month or two – dependent on my financial situation – because I know I’ve found a place that I feel I truly belong.  It’s no surprise that a shala becomes like a second home.  The people you practice alongside – silent friends connecting on a level that’s outside the standard social spectrum.

In Vipassana retreat I can’t practice.  You devote yourself entirely to the Vipassana technique for the full ten days.  It’s not a bad thing.  Probably quite good actually.  I have an addictive personality and this is a way to develop and harness non-attachment.  My practice isn’t there to fill a void or replace past addictions…it’s a vehicle to self-awareness and enlightenment.

I am a little frightened of course.  We are the source of our own fear, as we are the source of our own love and compassion, so to sit with oneself for ten days in absolute silence, without distraction is an intimidating concept.  What demons will I waltz with?  How violent will this particular dance be?

The secret is in the word…Anicca…Anicca.   I want to get it tattooed onto my wrists.  A permanent reminder of impermanence.

Last time I stood on the edge and held myself back.  I fought for my physical presence, and resisted disappearing into the black.  I was obsessed with the pain in my hip and lower back, convinced I would get into trouble for the broken bucket I’d hidden under the bed.  I was number 13.  No name.  Apologetic to the ants I’d killed under my plate, accepting of the army sent charging towards me each day for their revenge.  I made enemies and friends based entirely on my own false, and unfounded projections.  In retrospect, in conversation, in laughter,  you can see how mental it all is, how close we all are to insanity.  In the silence, you have no such checks, you must just let go of everything you think you know and fall into yourself.  Trust yourself.  And whatever happens you always have that word, Anicca, Anicca repeating itself, over and over…


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