Vipassana Day 8 – 24th May : Mental blinds and The Brand ‘I’ 

Or The Day of Burning

The journey of Vipassana meditation is bound to be different for each individual. The destination is more important than the journey. A friend of mine has warned me not to describe my experience in too much detail, as that would affect the experience of the readers in case they go for Vipassana. The process of ‘suggestion’ might be at work and they might end up having similar experiences. I hope that doesn’t happen. Everyone has a different past and future. Everyone has multiple different influences acting on them. And hence we all are on different paths already, hoping, however, to reach the same goal. Some things about us all are universal despite the various origins.

I have tried to keep the actual Process details out of my writing, just hinting at certain aspects. I want others to know that ten days were not taxing at all. In fact, each day was a journey full of happenings inside and outside. Each day opened up new doors and windows in my mind, which gave me a fresh insightful perspective to look at (my) life and myself. One day might appear terrible and yet the next day can bring peace and a small package of freedom from your old burdens. By the time we return home, the baggage of past hurts is much much lighter.

Sharing my experience through this blog has become a personal need. My aim in sharing to the extent that I am, is to make the readers want to go and give this Process a fair trial – to go for this experiential learning of a skill which I think is an essential one. Ten – eleven days out of your life may sound too much. But actually it is just one day at a time. And it’s an investment of time and effort. The benefits are yours for the taking.

My Shunyagaar pass was for two days. After our group, a different batch of people were given the pass. We were back to the Dhamma hall.

I was progressing well in the technique. There were no comparatives and superlatives. I had only my yesterday to compare with my today. The Arya Maun– Noble Silence – helped here, so that we were not comparing ourselves with others but only with where we ourselves were yesterday. Each day seemed to take me forward. By now I was able to feel subtle sensations. However there was one area which would not give any feedback – the blind area. We had been told to just focus on the Process, and not worry about anything else, including blind areas. But I had not yet attained the level of equanimity which would make me NOT worry.

Trying to play detective to see if I could identify the reason for my blind spots, I started wondering whether there was something I was deluding myself about. Was there something I thought I had been brave / stoic about? Something which I thought was over, but wasn’t!? Something from which I was sure I had moved on but actually hadn’t? Was there?! Is there?! Curiosity, over-smartness and nosiness drove me to these thoughts. I started doing inner scans. I brought up my MonkeyMind ‘current issues’ checklist and the ‘breaking news’ series. The issues and news went out of the window of my mind one by one. Blind area remained. Then I thought of my dream of a few days ago and thought of a Hidden checklist with the SquirrelMind! And I brought out the ‘This-was-an-issue-BUT-I-have-moved-on-for-sure’ list. The first two of those were discarded. As I approached the topic of My FATHER, another figure, that of My KAKA came up next to it. ( The two merged together and in a moment my legs started burning. Once again, I was shocked. I had dealt with this one! Bravely! It was over! Or was it? The burning sensation continued beyond the meditation sessions. They burnt as if they were being heated up. It was confusing. I was not afraid, just intrigued. It did not fit in with my medical knowledge of the human body and physiology, as taught in medical curriculum. It did not make any academic sense, just like the small episode of my hands and forearms getting a sudden 5-minutes-bout of prickly sensations in the Shunyagaar a day earlier. That one had started just as I was about to get up for a break, which I quickly cancelled because the pricking had started all of a sudden. I had continued with meditation that day. The pricking sensation had continued for 5 minutes till I was well into the repetitions of the meditation Process. This burning, however, lasted for around 5-6 hours and gradually subsided, irrespective of whether I was meditating or not.

Could it be my hurt and anger that I have been keeping under the wraps of stoicism and brave fronts? Is that how psychosomatic problems occur? Deep gashes on the subtle mind? Failure of the active ‘I’ in protecting the inactive universal being inside from hurts and wounds?

All this experimenting however, made no change in the blind areas. So that was quite foolish of me.

I spoke to my assistant teacher about this the next evening because that day my shock made me unwilling to verbally discuss my personal issues there. The assistant teacher simply said that I should have done more intense Dhyaan so that it could have gone away earlier. And she told me once again that I should NOT WORRY about the blind areas and just focus on the Process. I was happy she asked no probing questions and did not attempt to counsel regarding the actual past ‘issue’. Non judgemental! She did not judge me, the Process did not judge me, I was learning to be non-judgemental.

I realised that I had to be non-judgemental towards others as well. But let me start with myself.

Dusaron ki Jai se pehle khud ko Jai karo

(हम को मन की शक्ति देना, मन विजय करें

दूसरों की जय से पहले, खुदको जय करें)

Before I turn towards others I must first conquer my own self. Nothing new – often heard and read old instructions (Shrutamay Pradnya). But now I had a tool with which to execute the plan and reach the goal. A Process, The Process which bestowed Experiential Knowledge, Bhavanaamay Pradnya and therefore wisdom. I had to use no external device but just the framework of my own mind, brain and rest of the body. I am the brand. The brand I – I am the CEO, indeed! And I am the sweeper and cleaner. I am the staff of the Back office and the Front office. I make policies and I get them executed. I work for their execution. I make the mistakes and I correct them. I make progress. I make peace within. I am responsible for ME!

On the physical front, I was noticing palpitations throughout the day since the past few days. They were most prominent during the panic-ridden sleepless night. ( I have had hypothyroidism since many years now. I have been on 50 mcg of thyroxine for the past year. After 5-6 days of Vipassana, after the sleepless night, I decided to reduce my dose to 25 mcg. That change reduced the palpitations. Something somewhere had changed for the better on my thyroid axis. At least temporarily. This needs further studies of course.

It reminded me of several of my patients suffering from various medicine-resistant pain syndromes and I thought of how this Process could help them.

Similarly, the neurobiology of the Process intrigues me. What is happening in my brain as I sit there in intense concentration, focusing and executing the Process?! It reminded me gratefully of my neurology teacher, Dr. G. M. Taori, and I wished he were still alive! We would have  discussed and devised ways of studying it in detail!

Something biollgically adventurous was happening, stretching the limits of what Homo sapiens can achieve internally. Something the biologists have not thought possible. Fantastic! Something unique and beyond the books!

#burning #brandl #I #hypothyroidism


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