Well, I woke up multiple times throughout the night and was officially wide awake at 3 AM. I never thought I would look forward to a 4 AM bell. It was barely audible when it finally went off. If you didn’t read yesterday’s entry, this twin bed is anything but luxurious, and I would recommend bringing a mattress pad if you ever attempt your own meditation retreat. The pillow I brought from parent’s home is strangely shaped, and totally wrong for me, thus killing my neck.

Since I was up super early and wasn’t planning on going to the hall to meditate, I decided to use this Korean foot softener concoction that I would have to leave on for two hours while I ‘meditated’ before breakfast. While ‘meditating’, I fantasized about having to clean the communal bathrooms/showers on Day 6. At least I will have something to do? When I was finished meditating, I decided to re-organize everything I brought with me, because why not? As far as clothing is concerned, I definitely didn’t bring enough for the occasion. Typical me. I guess I will HAVE to hand wash my clothing at some point then. More things to do… bummer. As for spa products, I was excited to finally have time for self-care and to use a deep conditioner in my hair, and take advantage of using face masks. I was also excited to find time to do my daily stretches and physical therapy exercises. Every day, I plan to use all of the above, in addition, oil pull (coconut oil? oops), cleanse and exfoliate my face, brush and floss my teeth multiple times a day, etc. Self-care meets boredom FTW.

Walking to breakfast was beautiful, but a little chilly. The sunrise greeted us all with spectacular colors on the horizon. Breakfast was plain as to be expected. I sat facing the wall, as to avoid eye contact and the temptation for talking. I ate corn flakes with soy milk (didn’t know I was sensitive to soy at this time). I walked the quarter-mile walking path and stretched along the way afterward. I know I will become a Limber Lilly (is that a thing?) by the end of this.

The first group meditation was, well, challenging. I felt like I was meditating for the first time ever. I kept thinking, how am I going to survive doing this multiple times a day for the next 10+ days?! One breath at a time, I guess. S.N. Goenka kept repeating ‘diligence’ and ‘patience’… Also, ‘you are bound to succeed.’ Am I though?!!! When I finally got up from this meditation, I felt like a baby giraffe taking its first steps and nearly tumbled onto my neighbor.

Lunch was good, especially the salad. I can’t help but judge my fellow dhamma sisters by what they are choosing to eat, and how they eat… too fast, too slow, the way they chew. I assume we are all doing the same thing to one other, or maybe not. I really need to be up against the wall again. I was first to meet with the teacher at lunch. She said things should get easier, or maybe they will get harder before they get easier. It depends on each person. She said this will be one of the hardest things I ever do, but also the best, and welcomed me to return back tomorrow. I decided to just walk the trail over and over again, during breaks. But wow, could they make this a little longer than a quarter mile? One girl on the race track does not quit. She even stretches while she walks. After walking, I tried to take a nap and then failed. It’s hard to quiet the mind.

The second meditation seemed slightly easier to get through. I decided to focus on a year of my life for each meditation or to at least acknowledge it. Otherwise, we are only supposed to diligently, attentively and patiently focus only on our breath, and the nostril region. The one thing that makes the meditation uncomfortable is the fact that I am still presenting with early symptoms of a UTI. This isn’t good, because I don’t have any medication or the proper essential oils with me, and I have had a UTI turn into a kidney infection in the past. The teacher had us newbies stay after the meditation. The teacher looks JUST like my manager at work, and their voices are the same. It’s uncanny. She also has the prettiest ocean blue eyes. She invited us up in small groups, as the rest of us continued to meditate. She asked how we were doing one at a time, and explained that we had a choice of returning to our rooms for further meditation or staying in the hall after our small discussion. I don’t understand why anyone would stay in the hall. It’s too noisy for me.

At tea break/”dinner”, which consists of just tea and fruit, I gulp down some Kirkland Vitamin C that is available for us to take. I make myself a Mexican fruit salad, with fresh lime juice, salt, and cayenne pepper. So glad they have all of the spices. I go on a walk after tea, and when it’s time for evening meditation, I briefly talk to the manager about my predicament. She is awesome and says she will find me cranberry supplements. The meditation isn’t too bad for me, and after a short break, it’s time for our exciting evening entertainment; our first-day discourse with S.N. Goenka. This is the first time I have seen him, or at least a 90’s televised version of him. I can finally put a thick accent to a face. He is sitting next to a woman on a stage (his wife?) who looks super unimpressed, so the cameraman finally chooses to focus only on him. Good choice. He explains everything we are probably going through, like a psychic. That our discomfort is our body essentially detoxing. It is as though we are performing surgery on ourselves, but without anesthesia and that we are in fact letting the pus (toxins) come to the surface. He actually has a great sense of humor. He says that we will get to the root of our misery by doing this, and that just like a doctor wouldn’t abandon a patient during surgery, that we shouldn’t abandon ourselves (aka quit). This hour and a half long video hurt my eyes. Afterward, we had another 45-minute meditation, which I and everyone else barely stayed awake for. My manager slings me some cranberry pills and special tea, and I am all too excited about it. I take my evening shower, that no one ever signs up for, and head to bed. I survived the first day, and hopefully will survive this UTI!

Vipassana Day 2: Know Thyself (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

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