Vipassana Day 5b: 21st May evening – The evening of Vipassana 


Now that THE email is euphemistically out of my way, I can ramble further about my adventures in the land of Igatpuri.

As the day progressed, I got used to my inner uncomfortable Monologues and the peaceful interspersed silences. The triangle made its presence felt off and on. And there was a collective suspense as we neared the evening. As usual we were served Murmure and milk/tea plus 1 fruit at 5:15 pm. By this day I had given up the evening tea and settled for Turmeric flavoured milk, which made the flavoured Murmure (puffed rice) more bearable. I had also devised a sequence for eating the fruit a bite at a time, at fixed intervals between the mouthfuls of Murmure. Murmure were specifically sent to Igatpuri to test whether I had become sufficiently equanimous.

During the post-meal evening session, we all gathered with silent anticipation in the vast Dhamma hall. Imagining it to be an extension of the breathing exercise I was wondering what we would be actually asked to do. Attendance was full. Even the restless young lady in front of me was sitting, fidgeting a bit, with hope and anticipation in her posture. I took my place on my own meditation mat.

At 6 pm, the recording in Shri Goenkaji’s voice started with chanting. That had become a sound of comfort by now. We all were then asked to repeat after him, a request to him to train us in the skill of Vipassana. There was also a hint to all of us once again, that things would move as per plans subject to total, unbiased surrendering from our side while keeping the intellectualisation process aside. I had decided on the surrendering part already. Without that it would have been just a waste of ten whole days.

With open, stilled and silent mind I sat there, ready to learn and be guided – anything could have happened. And then it started.

Vipassana.

During the past few days we had been unknowingly sharpening our focus of attention over smaller and smaller areas, till it had been reduced to a small triangularish area on top of the middle of the upper lip. The first instruction was to take our triangular focus of attention to the top of our head (anatomically: the vertex; in Marathi : टाळू). From there the journey began. For the next one and half hour, we were continuously being instructed in our journey of attention to sensation. It was hypnotically overwhelming. It was extensive and detailed. It was ethereal and surreal.

The instructions and directions given moment to moment were so minutely detailed and specific, that it was impossible to be distracted. The jargon of thoughts and the whole of the outside world was lost into oblivion. The silence and the suggestibility of the surroundings and the inner world; the calmness and the soothing confidence of the Instructors voice! It was all just inexplicable and hence magical. Was all this happening to me, a practicing Doctor? Why were we never taught about this? What IS this feeling?

It all felt so light and weightless. I was convinced that I would soon be levitating!

But that did not happen.

Instead, the session ended and we were asked to take a brief break before the evening discourse started. I wished it would have just gone on and on and on. But we live in a practical world. The session did end and we had our customary five minute break. As we came outside and stood in lines to have water, like everyday, the world seemed to be just as we had left it. There were no unusual magical happenings!

And then as I stretched my legs and took a brief walk, the spell vanished and the magic disappeared. All of a sudden. And I was filled with one HUGE thought, IS THIS IT? THAT’s ALL? I stared at my hand, which just a few minutes ago had felt as light a a feather or even lighter. Now it felt just like my hand. Had I been under a hypnotic spell inside the Dhamma hall, in my vulnerable, surrendered state? Had something funny happened to me due to the dim lights, the soft suggestive voice and all the hype around ‘Vipassana’? Am I so easily suggestible? Had anything changed at all??? Is this all that the much talked about Vipassana was all about!? An anticlimax, there was a blank disappointment within. I stopped in my tracks and had to focus on the regular breathing just to calm the shock of being let down. I consoled myself and decided to see what happened next. Maybe on the next turning there would be some revelation.

During that evening discourse, the experienced learned Teacher did touch the subject of what had happened – the magic and the crashing disillusioned state. So it was not uncommon – the spell and the journey I had been through! Many people had felt the way I did today: a whole spectrum from ecstasy to doubt! It was a phase and there was something more beyond!

Wait and see.

Look beyond the sequence of Cognise – recognise – feel – react! Get off the turning wheel of action and reaction. Be alert – aware  – firm – disciplined – detached! That’s a LOT of work!!!

Goal : attaining calmness, inner peace and equanimity!!!

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