#illuminati #subtle #squirrelmind #monkeymind
Around three hundred women, silent, with serene faces, quietly standing in lines for everything – food, water, bathroom breaks, removing chappals, entering the hall, leaving the hall, keeping used plates, waiting for the bell to ring! A shocking sight for INDIA. But a proof that this was possible. There was hope indeed!
It was my fourth day in Dhammagiri, third day of the course of meditation. I was briefly noticing people and faces. The urge to reflexly smile at someone with whom there was eye to eye contact had to be suppressed. It was best to stare at the ground while walking. And yet some faces appeared familiar, especially the neighbours of my single-room and the neighbours of my meditation spot. In front of me, around my meditation spot, were 3-4 girls who appeared to be friends, exchanging knowing glances full of messages amongst them and sometimes giggles and inaudible whispers. The young lady directly in front of me was very restless almost everyday. I assumed that by some conspiracy, she had been planted there to test me. Just like the strict Sevika in the dining hall and a lady sitting somewhere behind me who could not control her cough.
The early morning session continued to be interrupted by brief naps. But most of us still woke up on time and appeared on our mats, watching our breaths at the tips of our nostrils. What had started with watching breaths going up and down the whole nose had been gently narrowed down by the third day, through a series of stepwise instructions, to a small triangle above the centre of the upper lip. We were four triangles smaller now. We were also supposed to watch out for sensations on that area – Gross sensations and subtle ones. Gross and subtle (Sthool aur sookshma! स्थूल और सूक्ष्म !). That was the game.
I could now watch my breath with minimum intervention. That is, I could be an observer without breathing consciously. That gave me time to wear my neurologist’s hat and think and surmise as to what exactly we were doing at the neurobiological level. It was interesting. Little did I know that this wasn’t even Vipassana. The main process had yet to start. And yet, this too, this refined AnaPana was getting interesting!! We were moving in triangles around and below our nose, and along with the hard-drive cleaning going on inside the MonkeyMind, the stillness was growing. The triangle had become smaller and smaller till my Mind was often able to focus on the philtrum (the vertical groove between the base of the nasal septum and the border of the upper lip). I cannot boast about being entirely thought-free. That was impossible during the entire stay. But now there were the pauses of silence, which grew longer and steadier and I could actually sense the breath being sucked in and blown out gently on this triangle of attention, without any active intervention.
And then it gently started happening. With continuous repetitions of the breath-watch on the triangle and the silence everywhere, I gradually started feeling I am inside myself – somewhere inside my head behind my closed eyes somewhere behind my nose. At some point of time, there was a distinct feeling of not being alone inside. There was some presence. Soft, subtle and silent. Without any gross identity. SOMEONE ELSE! An entity lurking softly, scurrying around noiselessly, like someone waiting backstage for the show to end, and all the stage performers to return to the green room. Someone waiting for the MonkeyMind to reach its quiet state, so that there could be some meeting point and interaction. I feel like calling this the SquirrelMind. (https://poornimapoonam.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/igatpuri-3-finally-the-squirrels/). There I was, a silenced stupefied MonkeyMind, behind the triangle of interest, behind my nose somewhere. And then the SquirrelMind – the SOMEONE ELSE kind of was there.
What does this SquirrelMind want? Is it a subtle Subconscious me at my Conscious mercy? Waiting for me to be in my senses? Which one of these needs to be tamed? Which one needs to be trained? Who could be a better leader, who should be the follower? Who should be in control? Is the SquirrelMind intuitive? Is the MonkeyMind executive? Does that land me into problems? What if it’s the other way round? Who is in control? Is either of the two in control at all? And control of what? WHAT PARTS OF MY BRAIN ARE EITHER OF THEM!? The MonkeyMind, I know is a combination of some stuff!? But the SquirrelMind – is it the mesodiencephalon!? The central midline thalamus!? What is going on!?
And then, there were moments of soft, non existent breathing as the two met briefly and the small triangle lit up in some white light, with rays pouring in. The first time this happened, I opened my eyes gasping in surprise . I was quickly reminded about the comments by my son about the ‘Illuminati’ as we watched ‘Dr. Strange’ a few months ago, and his phrase, ‘Illuminati confirmed’ resounded in my inner theatre system. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminati).
It HAD to be a triangle, he had said! It made me smile, confirmed that I was imagining all this and was making it happen somehow for my own entertainment. But then as I closed my eyes, it was gone – that momentary magic! But I was blessed that day, as it appeared again later- and then often. The small, silent, luminous triangle.
There has been a break in my Vipassana practice after I left the Dhammagiri camp, as I extended my holiday, went on a family trip to Kashmir and then attended an intensive week-long residential music convention of Spic Macay in IIT Delhi. There has been a rebooting of my brain during the 12 days of Vipassana. The vacation experiences have taken roots. The old archives being now cleaned up, there are these positive experiences and a powerful urge to share so that others may be inspired or at least curious. For practical reasons I have resumed my clinical work and it has taken me some time to reach a schedule where I can write all these overcrowded blogs and accommodate at least an hour and a half for Vipassana practice everyday. It’s six days since I am sitting silently for a specified time everyday. But the two Minds are not on same grounds right now. The Illuminati-triangle is eluding me still.
The gross, knee-jerk-reactor, imitator, observer and executor, restless, distractible, eager, often silly, difficult, overeducated and in-your-face MonkeyMind.
The subtle, soft, silent, intuitive, intense, intelligent, gentle, hidden, alert, patient, untrained, unnoticed and underestimated SquirrelMind.
An army of active MonkeyMinds waging the war! A single subtle SquirrelMind silently helping away!
Different aspects of myself must resonate to protect myself from my fallacies and follies, to take care of my self and to take me higher. The MonkeyMind and the SquirrelMind need to make friends, I realise.
There is hope for the rays of Illuminati!