It feels like I have been away months.
Like one of those holidays that changes you. You see things, learn things and you return different.
I am in that space.
I have changed.
I have accepted that which was weighing me down and now feel like the shackles have been removed.
I said to a friend before I left, ‘It feels like I need to have a good cry, like there is this big pent up emotion in me I need to just release but I cannot seem to. I feel a little crazy, and am getting further away from the person I want to be.’
I was fighting reality.
An emotionally challenging 3 years wasn’t over yet; painful parts were still present and arising and I felt like I had had enough. I just wanted respite. My mind and my heart were agitated and struggled to find my inner peace.
So I decided it was time to go back. I completed a ten-day Vipassana meditation course in October 2011, and now this June 2015 I found myself needing that mind reset, and booked in for a three-day course.
I acknowledged to myself that I needed to move out of fighting against the day-to-day and into acceptance, peacefulness, and back into acting more out of love than fear.
Vipassana meditation works on removing our constant craving for things and moments, and aversion to situations. It works on accepting reality as it is, not as you want it to be. Yes, sad times are still sad – be sad, but don’t be upset you are sad; allow the sadness to come and pass without aggravating it into personal misery.
So I retrained my brain to accept – all that has caused me pain, all that hasn’t gone to ‘my’ plan, and all that has happened which I wished hadn’t.
I focused on breath, first to retrain my brain from constantly becoming distracted, then in order to open my unconscious mind, to undo all the knots I had tied there. On the second day I moved on to acknowledge sensations, such as the pain of sitting still for hours, to train my brain that this too shall pass, rather than automatically react as my emotions had been running wild doing. I would first just be aware, not for or against, just aware, and allow it to pass.
This practice in turn allowed my fighting against situations that would have me balled up and sobbing to move towards more acceptance. I was allowing my sadness to be just that, not aggravated into my own personal hell.
At the end of my thirty hours of meditation I no longer felt I had a big pent up emotion inside. I had moved down the path of letting it go; the sadness has passed and I now will just observe as the last of it in me moves on, rather than dig my nails into a false hope of a reality that isn’t to be.
I accept the change and can move with it.
It has been a windy couple days in the southern part of Tasmania, and when I walked around the course grounds in the lunch break feeling the big rush of wind against my skin, hands out to touch it, up to the trees for that amazing sound of the Australian bush and nature, wind against a forest of tree leaves – whoosh – I felt powerful in myself again, free in the acknowledgment of the ebb and flow of all things: life-cycles, situations, people, relationships, and my own personal ebb and flow – my times of strength, and my needed times of rest.
I return looking the same, sounding the same but inside I am a little different.
There is still pain, but it is ebbing.
When asked how I felt upon return I answered, ‘it feels like my mind has had a spring clean. Sure there are still some bits of furniture up there I need to throw out, in time, but I am much clearer in thought.’
There is still acceptance to work on, every day.
But I am on my way and, thanks to my focused three days, I am a great way down the track.
If you’d like some guidance on a practice that works for you I have written a course Meditation & Mindfulness Made Easy.
And I have since written this article: Meditation and Mindfulness; What is the Difference, How Do I, and Why Should I?