Vipassana Day 7- 23 May : MotherMind and the Buddha Sketch 

Despite just a 2 hours sleep, as per my newest habit, I woke up at 4 am and got ready to go. My system had geared up for this routine now. The options were to go for the 4:30 group meditation session or to lie in bed worrying anxious irrational MotherMind (term coined by Mrs. Piroj, a dear friend and regular-reader-of-my-blogs) thoughts. I chose to go and meditate in the shunyagaar. Of course I dozed off in between, woken up in spurts by the Ravens (https://poornimapoonam.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/the-ravens-of-igatpuri-and-squirrels/) who had probably begun to worry on my behalf, having felt my anxiety through their surveillance efforts. I felt good by 6:30 and even better after breakfast. My doubts and anxiety had lessened to bare minimal and I was sure that everything was fine. The Shunyagaar experience continued. 
At 11:30, before lunch, I located the Sevika, who informed me that the phone call had been made and my husband had given the message for me that everything was fine and I need not worry at all! Bless him!! My MotherMind, was now relaxed and at rest. 

After the lunch as I returned to my room, I realised I had a new neighbour. On asking the Sevikas who were helping the lady with her luggage, they said that the previous one had gone home the day before. The new neighbour had been in a double occupancy room with a snoring member as a roommate. She had requested for a change.  Looks like everything happens for a reason! Or at random. 

By now I was also full of admiration for the way the course had been brilliantly designed, giving us a little bit more everyday, making it a stepwise learning of such a complex skill. The highlight of each day would be the recorded talk or discourse by late Shri Goenkaji in the evening session, wherein he would put all the day’s happenings in a contemporary contextual perspective. His oratory skills are / were admirable. He catered to an audience with a wide spectrum of ages, cultural differences and other variables. He made us laugh and we were glad to hear that sound resounding in the Dhamma hall. Aware that adults were being taught, he focused on some rationalisation, some intellectualisation, stories, humour, suggestions, advise. And everything was amazingly non-judgemental and non-preachy. That, of course was my perspective. 

He spoke to us about change and impermanenceअनित्य !  

He spoke about the five friends

(1) Faith ( not blind, but discriminatory & intelligent), 

(2) Effort – in the right direction

(3) Samadhi – mastery of mind & concentration, 

(4) Bhavanamay Pradnya – experiential wisdom and (5) Awareness – being alert and aware. 

He warned us against the five enemies – 

(1) Doubt , 

(2) Drowsiness / dullness

(3) Agitation, 

(4) Aversion and 

(5) Craving

Wisdom / Pradnya, he said was of three levels: Experiential knowledge and wisdom.

1) Shrutamay Pradnya – wisdom we gain from what we hear / read about (or nowadays, google!) 

2) Chintanmay Pradnya – wisdom we gain through discussion, intellectualisation, analysis and conclusion 

3) Bhavanamay Pradnya – wisdom we gain as we go through life’s experiences. 

Bhavanamay Pradnya was the most superior! Vipassana was a process which gave us Bhavanamay Pradnya as it made us actually experience sensations which revealed the truth, along with settling the mind into equanimity and awareness. 

These were the thoughts of Gotama, The Buddha, he said. And these particular ones were / are relevant even today. And the path to attain them was meditation, which was a skill, a tool, essential in the toolkit of managing the human existence that we have been given. 

With all the small bits of free time piling up, no phone and no writing allowed, listening to late Shri Goenkaji talking about the Person who attained compassionate enlightenment 2500 years ago, since the second day of our course, images had started forming in my mind, struggling to get out. Guided by my forever running Squirrels and the Ravens, I went scavenging the area for some material to sketch/draw on. I found a bark of a tree – I am not sure if it was banana or a part of a fallen coconut tree leaf – with one side dark and another cream. It was hardened. I washed it and peeled a layer from the inner side. I had a drawing pencil with me, which I hadn’t submitted at the office. And since nothing had been said about rules against drawing, I spent minutes of the remaining 2-3 days in sketching the image which kept knocking from inside. Not having drawn since years, it took some time. But I had lots of time now since life here was simple and uncluttered. And I discovered that just by washing I could erase and sketch again after  drying the parched bark, thus further highlighting the concept of impermanence

The Image formed itself and a Face expressed itself smiling silently back at me with eyes open in slits of compassion. I kept it in a corner of the room and instantly felt companionship with the Person. It did not talk back or want to listen. I did not share or listen either. The Person was there in my temporary residence, and so was I – when I was not in the meditation hall or the shunyagaar or the dining room or the Shantipath or the walking area. 

Of course I grew attached to MY creation. Watching the meditative eyes and the content smile thereafter. 

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Vipassana Day 6 – 22nd May – Shunyagaar – the chamber of nothingness 

#panic #nothingness


Next day, during the 4:30 am session we were reminded gently to perform the process we were taught last evening. There was no verbal guidance. We just had to follow the sequence of inner actions as it had been instructively narrated yesterday. Each one could take their own time for one cycle of the process. And then the cycle had to be repeated over and over again, till the session ended. Initially I needed around twenty minutes for one cycle of observation. In later days it was to become shorter and shorter. 

We were no longer watching the breath, unless we wanted a pause in the Vipassana cycles. 

What we were doing now was an intensely active process and the thoughts started taking a seat rather further away from the main screen. But they were there. Especially the dream related inner Monologues and arguments. SquirrelMind had things to say. And the moment it saw me wavering it would up the intensity by intruding with a fiery monologue – my own mental words directed in a monologue to a concerned person from the dream. And then there was the Vipassana process to be done. All this was hard work. Inner peace was to be achieved with intensity and intense focus. 

There was a surprise for us. In the post breakfast session, our group of six people was called by our assistant teacher and we were given a 2-days pass to the Shunyagaar. It was supposed to be a series of small chambers, enough to fit one person, inside the pagoda. We were allotted a specific room/ chamber number. We would be even physically alone there. No silent crowds. 

One lady from our group declared that she would opt out of that option as she was sure she would be frightened. But the rest of us accepted. There were many others from other groups too. 

After lunch, as we went into the Shunyagaar, it felt surreal. There were several individual chambers. Mine was chamber 119 – I think. I had to go into the pagoda through its lower door and had to walk down further into a basement like area. Everything was white. There was a passage with doors all along one side, with numbers written on each door. The outer wall of the passage curved gently. That was the round shape of the pagoda from the outside. Amidst complete silence disturbed only by the sound of consciously quietened footsteps, I walked on until I came to chamber number 119. I have no idea who my neighbours were. Doors were closed. 118 and 120! A little further along the way, beyond maybe 123, was another door leading probably outwards. But it appeared locked. In front of me was my door with my allotted number on it. A small door knob, a wire net in the lower part (to allow light and air) and an additional air vent at the topmost part of the wall above the door. Since it was semi basement, the 2 round shaped openings (7-8 inches maybe) in the outer curved wall placed beyond 6 feet showed a glimpse of the sky and bits of trees. As I walked in I saw that a blue meditation mattress was hung on the wall opposite to the door. It was held up by a simple strap mechanism. I unrolled it and placed it down on the floor. There was enough space for me to turn around, sleep, stand up fully with my arms stretched up and that still left some more space in all directions. But two people could not have fitted in comfortably. It must have been around 4 feet by 8 feet with a height of maybe around 10-11 feet. We had the option of keeping the door either open or closed. I chose ‘closed’. And I sat down. I watched my breath to start with, like a gym warm up before the actual workout. 

The silence was astounding. I could hear it! Absolute nothingness. 

I had the freedom now to choose any posture – shamelessly. I tried lying down, but there was the danger of falling asleep. And my back was inaccessible to attention in the lying down posture. Vajrasan gave me a lot of paresthesias (tingling) on unfolding my legs after one cycle. Padmasan gave me leg-aches, which I could bear for 15-20 minutes of one cycle. A simple squat or basic floor sitting posture (मांडी घालून बसणे) seemed easier. Or sitting with legs in front of me, slightly folded. That too was easy and it also kept the legs parcelled and made it easy to do the Process. After a while with even that simple floor posture, the back or something else would ache. So I adventurously and courageously attempted the posture of lying down on my back and resting my raised lower limbs against the wall at right angles to my back. This was immensely relaxing for 1-2 cycles. And so the process went on – one posture to another, one sensation to another. 

The sensations were changing as we continued to watch them. Sthool aur sookshma – Gross and subtle. That was what it was all about. The Monkey and the Squirrel. Mind over mindlet. Intellect over intuition. 

In the isolation of the shunyagaar, I realised once again that doubt had to be given up and sincerity had to be adopted if the stay at Dhammagiri had to make any sense and impact at all. Otherwise doubt and cynicism would just make it a waste of my time. 

By evening I started wondering whether my son would reach home safely next day (23rd May) from his Himalayan camp. I wondered whether my husband would reach the railway station on time. I wondered whether they would hide facts from me in case he had got hurt during the trekking. These thoughts started taking hold of me till I became more and more anxious. 

After the last session we were allowed to talk about our doubts to the assistant teacher. I took the opportunity to ask about the word ‘Pradnya’ which kept on getting repeated in the discourses given by Shri Goenkaji. She explained that it meant Experiential Knowledge, the highest form of knowing. I also asked her if I could make one phone call home. She asked me the reason. When I explained my anxiety and told her how I was unable to focus due to these nagging thoughts, she asked me to give the mobile number to a Sevika, who would arrange for the call. But I wouldn’t be allowed to talk directly to any of the family members. The Sevika made me write down the concerned names and my husbands mobile number and said she would make the call the next morning and give me the message. I was happy for this help. 

And yet, it turned out to be a sleepless night. I had a proper panic attack, anxious worrying over my son’s arrival – whether I was doing Vipassana the right way – whether all this would be worthwhile – how my husband would reach the railway station on time!!! And so in. In cycles of thought. I could feel my palpitations as I lay down in the darkness. As I looked at the watch once in a while, I noted that the hour hand was moving further. I was reminded how D had told me about his panic attack when he was in the Jaipur center. I considered going out in the open. But everything was dark. I tried doing the process of Vipassana, but that was beyond me at that time. No breath could be focused anywhere. The MonkeyMind was jumping up and down and the SquirrelMind had hidden away in fright. I was unable to still or steady my mind. Sometime around 2 am I must have drifted off to sleep. 

 

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!!!

Breaking Silence Isn’t Easy


I am unable to write further blogs on Vipassana while the unsent email sits in my ‘Drafts’ folder. Something has been stopping me. I have been making excuses for not sending it. But I have been unable to write another blog in my series.  During my meditation today the inner force has come back to me, guiding me to send the mail to the concerned people but in a proper way.

There has been an active tussle between my MonkeyMind and my SquirrelMind for the past one week. My MonkeyMind says I should just let go and say what I want and send the mail in its original form and not care. My SquirrelMind with is little persistent voice has been stopping me from clicking ‘send’, wanting me to reconsider the content and says that I have to be assertive in the way I word the mail. I cannot afford to hurt anyone as hurting others backfires with hurting myself. And I have really had enough of that.

It is tempting, once one decides to break a fast of ‘silence’, to let go of all the pent up emotions related to that topic and let the listeners / readers have a taste of the venom that has been locked up for so long. But that verbal lashing cannot serve any purpose. It can only bring up anger and resentment in the person concerned. And eventually also make me repent on the words I chose. And that is the most prominent thought that has stopped me from sending the mail that I promised myself I would send while I was in the 10day Vipassana meditation camp. I cannot just put my Monologues into words. That won’t serve any reasonable purpose at all.

I have to reread my thoughts and convert them from aggressive resentment to assertive suggestions and requests. I have to rewrite.

If I send the mail today, in the correct format to the correct concerned people, tomorrow there will be a new blog in the Vipassana Series! If I don’t send, there will be none.

 

Vipassana Day 5a – Silent Crimes and Crimes of Silence 

#hijacked, #silentcrimes
Day 5 – Morning 21 May


No amount of prior research and analysis could have prepared me for my fifth day. This day was to be D-day, the day when the Vipassana process would be actually taught to us in the evening session of 6-7:30 pm. The 8-timer Lady from Mumbai-suburbs had told us that it became really interesting after this day. ‘Bohot majaa ayega!’ (It will be a lot of fun!). There was an undercurrent of excitement since the previous night. 

The people who were older students, attending for the second time or more, were meant to sleep on the floor. However, we, the first-timers had a bed / mattress to sleep on, a foot and a half above the floor. In my room it was an inbuilt structure with bricks and cement, a simple platform along the wall like a bunk bed, with a bedding / mattress laid out on it. It was comfortable and there was no problem in falling asleep. 

On the morning of the fifth day, I woke up with a jerk, much before the alarm clock in my room or the tinkling of handbells outside. A dream woke me up – Sharmilee, a friend currently in Australia, was talking to me about people in my life, we were discussing a particular person and the reference came up of an episode – a silent crime – a major part of which had occurred many decades ago, in which I had not been involved, but its consequences had affected me (and still continue to do so). I was explaining to her how the others had reacted to the event. She shook her head in shock and disdain and I woke up, shocked! 

When I had enrolled for the course, I had prepared myself for ghosts from the past visiting me. As I had told Prachi, I had done a bit of homework on myself. I had a list of possible ghosts of pain, hurt, anguish and anger. The adventurous MonkeyMind was all set. But the SquirrelMind had something else on the agenda. Obviously the MonkeyMind did not know how the event had affected me but the SquirrelMind saw a different pattern and kind of KNEW about the inner (and outer) consequences !? SquirrelMind was aware, wary and yet protective of MonkeyMind. 

This event had been revealed to me and a few others a few years ago, putting me in a position of a bystander, that too an innocent one. I had so far accepted that role, passively observing, waiting and hoping for events to take a just and fair turn, for the consequences to fade away. However that has not happened and is unlikely to happen in the future. I consciously chose silence as my modus operandi, going against all my karma-yogi instincts and my knee-jerk-thinking-pattern of ‘what-can-I-do-about-this’ (which has often led me into quick action and confrontations). I had been purposefully silent as I had considered the episode to not be in my jurisdiction. I had been dutifully silent out of social appropriateness. I had been politically silent, things not concerning me directly, no obvious repercussions being felt, or so I had been thinking. But the dream suggested otherwise. Sharmilee and my dream questioned me. They questioned my silence. They questioned the purpose of my silence. I was dazed when I woke up! WHAT?! WHY?! 

I reflexly got ready and went for the 4:30 session, sat on my mat and closed my eyes, hoping for the dream to fade away from my mind and the illuminated triangle to take its place. But the DJ system had started. The Mindspace Monologues were back. The emails started. I was talking, questioning, challenging the people involved in the silent crime, directly and as accessories, knowingly or unknowingly. Surprise, surprise! The actual villain was of no importance. The side-kicks were! I debated the issue and argued. The arguments went from paragraphs to pages. Massive Mindspace Monologues! I had been hijacked! 

We always list acts of commission as causes of our pains. But sometimes when it is crucial that we act but don’t, we should respond but don’t, we should and could change things but don’t – that too matters – perhaps more!!! When action is needed but we are unable to act, when we make conscious choices of indifference and silence, that is when apathy and even antipathy replace empathy. 
MASSIVE LESSON! 

If the crime had been silent, my silence had been criminal. 

The beauty of the Vipassana meditation retreat was the non-judgemental attitude of the Process towards each individual. There was no inquisitive, analytical probing and no counselling was thrust upon us. The Buddha had not judged even Angulimaal, who had killed 99 people out of vengeful rage and was looking for the 100th victim. The Enlightened One had compassionately guided the angry person, using the Process, towards cleansing and peace. Similarly, at Dhammagiri no one judged us. I too was not supposed to judge myself. Compared to Angulimaal, my hurts, harms, pains and crimes were negligible. So it was easier to learn to not judge and to forgive myself for them. But in this dream-situation I was neither the one to forgive nor the one to be forgiven. And yet I was affected. I was supposed to be the catalyst. I was supposed to be the enhancer. I was supposed to be the advocate. 

Three Degrees of hurts, says The Buddha : 

the first, like lines on water – disappearing instantaneously, 

the second, like lines on a sea-shore – washed away by the tide within hours, 

the third, like lines on rocks – chiselled into the stone, taking ages to weather and wither away! 

This silent line was a Rocky and I too had chosen the Mute path! There was nothing subtle about my silence anymore. It was grossly misplaced. The realisation stifled me further. Was I creating a new line for myself, sitting there on my meditation mat!? That would be such a gross paradox! 

I had to get off this silent ride!!! ‘Hum yahan vyakul home nahi aye hai!‘ (We haven’t gathered here to be sorrowful or in pain!)

I promised myself I would take action – some action – maybe a middle path – as soon as it was reasonably possible. That seemed to quieten the DJ. There were breaths – silent ones – and pauses – an occasional luminescent triangle, and bits of emptiness. Interspersed were doubts of my promise, about how I would be unnecessarily ruffling and rippling apparently quietened waters (with a storm brewing beneath)! These doubts would trigger monologues, arguments and emails!! Why such long emails!? Would they even read them – these concerned people!? Then I had to promise again to still the torrential currents. 

This sequence of monologues, emails, arguments and The Promise continued, and they flowed into the following few days, till I actually wrote bits of my imaginary email on my travel ticket, which was the only largish paper with me. That act seemed to make the promise real. 

Many things can hurt and harm us. Often we forget the potential of our misplaced, unjust silence and inaction to harm us.

The difference between reaction and response is difficult to understand and even more difficult to implement. Silence may be required for the transition between unwanted reaction and needed response. Once the situation is sifted through sieves of rational requirements, balancing emotional needs, it would be essential to break the silence and move ahead towards response. No response to anything and rampant compassionate forgiveness towards crimes and criminals cannot lead to a sustainable society. 

Silence is not always golden. It can be dark and heavy! 

Vipassana Day 4 – 20th May – Monkey-Squirrel-Illuminati Triangle

#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!