I woke up thinking it was all a dream. Being able to talk again, and leaving today. We had to be up at 4 AM for our 4:45 AM final chanting. While getting ready in the bathroom, we kept celebrating that this was our last sitting together. When we got to the hall, it was pure silence for about 15-20 minutes before the chanting even began, which was another 15-20 minutes.
After that, we had our final video discourse. Goenka spoke of the importance of continuing and nurturing our practice. That’s a… lot? He spoke of protecting the tree we’ve just begun to sprout, by placing a fence around it. Protecting the mastery and purification of the mind, and nurturing it with compassion. No one can harm your tree, because none of these beliefs can offend any person, religion or practice.
When we were free to go, we spent time cleaning our rooms and I finally texted my parents and partner that I was excited to see them. Apparently, my partner woke up at 3:30 AM to take the train from San Diego to Orange County to drive my parents since my car was at their place. Both my hallmate and I were late to get to breakfast because we shared the same sentiments on the food. Actually, it turns out she never went to breakfast. Didn’t know that was an option?
When we finally showed up to breakfast, I expressed my gratitude to the kitchen server, since she did so much and always with a smile on her face. I spoke with some of the students before it was time for us to clean the communal areas. I got to clean the meditation hall, which was maybe one of the easier jobs? I enjoyed it. After that, we took pictures of the center and of each other.
I feel truly honored and privileged to have sat with the women I sat with. I am hoping to keep in touch with them. I was so excited to be reunited with my family. They said I seemed slower (in a good way) and much skinnier (well, duh). All day, I was too afraid to really look at my phone, or answer texts or e-mails. It all seemed too much. I felt overwhelmed, dehydrated and confused. We stopped at Highland Springs to eat on the way home, but it was too much food for me to eat. My mom then says I am acting and look like I just got out of surgery, or like I am not fully out of amnesia. I said that’s exactly what happened. I just went through surgery of the mind. We dropped my parents off at home and got some fresh juice (something I really missed).
While my partner went to dinner with his family, I had a moment to acclimate and put things away. I chatted with one of my Dhamma sisters, and it turns out she was feeling similarly. When I tell her about the UTI, she said that the water she gave me is the only thing that really helps with preventing UTIs for her, and she felt the need to give them to me. Woah! I’m not sure that’s what did it, but I am sure it helped. I am thinking of all of the articles I can write on this. I think everyone should do a retreat. Later in the evening, I find the strength to start texting others back and then enter my first at-home meditate.
May all beings be happy,
Day 12: Sensory Overload! (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)