Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Power of Breath & Silence, my 10 Day Meditation Experience {Day 6}

From reading this experience of mine, I hope you are enjoying the read and have inspired you to begin your own meditation practice.

Day 6
I woke up feeling dizzy and defeated, but yet cheerful – odd, I know. I had been feeling dizzy and nauseated since day 5. I thought I was getting sick again or something was definitely wrong with me that I may need to be hospitalized (goodness, that sounds dramatic). I honestly don’t know which was worse not being able to breathe during meditation on day 2 because of sickness or meditating while feeling dizzy and nauseated all day long. I had to learn to adjust to the changes in how I felt from days 2 to 6. My focus was the comparison of those distinctly different feelings.

I didn’t have much to eat all day because of my preoccupation with how I felt. I had to force myself to eat so I would have some kind of energy throughout the day. However, day 6 was absolutely my favorite day thus far because by mid-afternoon -- viola -- God graced His presence upon me. I was finally able to meditate: I sat for an hour with slight movement and flowed with my breath. I felt victoriously joyful and liberated while tearfully blissful for being able to accomplish Vipassana Meditation. The best way I can explain the sensations are lightness: the entirety of my surroundings were bright, my body was slightly warm all over and I was moving gracefully. My mind was clear from monkey mind chatter and I felt like I was glowing. Coincidentally, was I was wearing a Rocky T-shirt featuring the scene after his run up to the monument where he had his arms up like he’d won.

That’s how I felt.

Lesson from Discourse:
The one thing that stuck out during his sermon was that you can love your mate so deeply but still be detached. In past relationships, my experience has been that you will lose yourself being with someone. Don’t get me wrong, I learned from a few and the rest I was left hanging. All of these were my fault for sure because each time I let myself get lost. That’s what happens when you put others before yourself because of craving and aversion of bad habits. The sensations of pleasant and unpleasant were my choice of suffering without any understanding of my emotions.

Each and every time, I enjoyed being with someone thinking that each of those past men at their time were the ONE. Those were the pleasant moments, the ones where I thought that this time, it could be love. I was blinded by all the cravings, aversion, the mental and physical depletion, and self-doubts. Truth be told I thought those were normal outcomes all the freaking time as well as the consequences I’ve put myself through. Now looking back, I laugh at myself for putting myself in those situations. I was very naive and inexperienced in the beautiful struggle of life; others can be cruel with no empathy nor compassion for others. I thought everyone has those mental and emotional depletions too; I was wrong.

As Wayne Dyer said: “Work at being content with who you are, rather than pleasing others by being inauthentic. Say to yourself, ‘I am what I am, and it is okay as long as I am not hurting anyone else in the process.’ “

You don’t have to apologize for anything or anyone. You don’t have to apologize to anyone for anything that you are.

Craving is a fire that will keep on burning, no matter what fuels it. It takes you away from being peaceful. By learning to be aware of all the feelings within and to remain equanimous towards them, only then you can stop the fire before it starts again. Then and only then you can come out of misery.

The Divine in me honors the Divine in You. I recognize my true essence in every soul I meet. I am you, you are me and we are one.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Power of Breath & Silence, my 10 Day Meditation Experience {Day 4 & 5}

              The Meditation Center
As my continuous effort to share my 10-day meditation with you. Here are the rest of my days. I hope you learn something about yourself while reading these blogs.

Day 4 
I woke up feeling blank -- no thoughts or emotion, but by mid-afternoon, I was feeling frustrated again. Just when I thought I was getting the breath right, I didn’t. Also, I couldn’t sit still; for someone with a little A.D.D stillness isn’t possible. I had been meditating for four days, twelve hours a day, which isn’t really the typical day for me. I typically am either in front of the TV watching movies or shows on Netflix. Stillness and observing the mind and following the breath isn’t the practice I do all the time. Twelve hours of sitting down, one hour at a time with 5-10 mins break in between make YogiWonders a frustrated meditative practitioner. But by the end of the night, I was able to focus and get some clarity of how the meditation is done. Without any judgment and feeling disappointed I needed to be more patient with myself and be one with breath.

Lesson from Discourse:
Because we are so ignorant about our situations our misery multiplies and we wonder why we are always stuck in the same freaking situation and that we never move away from it. When I thought I got the breathing down they added another technique which kind of made me frustrated because after getting something down another came up. So while breathing was my main focus we were told to now observe the sensation on your body from head to toe. Sensations included such physical feelings like itching, throbbing, crawling, sweating, etc. and the trick was that you can’t go back to another part of your body once your attention had passed it. So if your ears started to itch while you were observing your knees, no can do. You must keep moving forward. I’m sure you see the lesson there. By focusing on the sensation on your body this helps you retract your mind to focusing on the pain -- the pain of sitting for an hour for a slight moment. Also if you didn’t feel a sensation of a particular part of your body we were not to go craving it or wanting to feel something there. Another lesson, right!

Day 5
I woke up with my ego thinking I was the shit because I finally was able to get the breathing down; oh was I wrong. By mid-afternoon, I started feeling dizzy and nauseated and I was getting impatient haha. I had to tell myself that’s what I got for being an egotistical fool -- thinking I was the cheese nits. My appetite wasn’t intact and I was worried because dinner was at 5 p.m. and all we had was fruit. With bedtime at 10 p.m., so you can imagine that I was scared of starvation! Haha poor me. But it was very hard to focus when feeling dizzy and wanting to throw up. Then I began feeling indifferent about things as though I was seeing and feeling things in a different lens. It was much harder to focus for sure. However, by the end of the night, I was able to start flowing with my breath. I began feeling the heat all over my body which is hard to do, for me at least, because I am always cold so this was great. Because my body was in so much heat I was burning so many calories that I was starving at the end of meditation. I was confused at first because I thought something was wrong haha.

Lesson from Discourse:
I learned about the four types of attachment that keeps coming back to our life and makes us miserable all the time. First is the desires and the bad habit of craving. Second is clinging to “I” and “mine.” Third is the craving for sensations, pleasant or unpleasant. The fourth is suffering: our tendency to hold on to that pain that does not really exist. We make such a huge deal about it because it’s what we’ve only known to do. We become ignorant and believe that we can’t change our ways. What you put out to the universe is what you will receive. Your mind is such a powerful tool when you put it to good use of kindness and love. It’s a practice.

I am a being -- a soul broken into pieces but brave enough to glue myself back and be as transparent as I can. In doing so, this beautiful struggle of life doesn’t seem so hard to live with.

The divine in me honors the divine in you. I see the true essence of every soul I met. I am you, you are me, and we are one 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Power of Breath & Silence, my 10 Day Meditation Experience {Day 2 & 3}

                 Lake View
I hope you enjoyed reading the introduction and Day 1 of my 10 Day Meditation Experience. Here are more...

Day 2 
Woken up at 4 a.m. by the morning bell, I was coughing and by mid-afternoon I was frustrated because I couldn’t manage to get the breathing meditation down. Imagine practicing a breathing meditation when you can’t breathe through your nose. I believe the Day 1 experience caused me to get sick because I was getting my body to be at the same level as my mind, equanimity. This is when it finally clicked for me that my mind is really stronger than my body. I’ve been told that countless times before but come on when you don’t experience it yourself that shit isn’t true. It only becomes true when you, yourself have experienced it. It is then that is true and only true to you and for you.  Somehow the communications between my mind and my body were not synced. My mind wanted to get the meditation down because I was forcing my breath so that I could learn to follow it.

One of the techniques we were told to practice was Force breathing. The best example I can explain is when you go for a quick run and in the process start panting, then that’s when you feel the flow the breath. With the determination of the mind, it forced my body to go unbalance, hence I got sick. I stressed my body so much just by doing this meditation that I got sick from it. Picture the frustration.

Lesson from Discourse:
It wasn’t a pretty Day 2 for me. I was a frustrated wreck. I began feeling feverish and when I’m sick I get to a stage where I begin feeling unworthy and unwanted. I start wondering why my life is so fucked up, comparing my life to other people and begin judging myself. To combat this, I start a story in my head where my life is so wonderful and things are heading where I want it to be. Actually this is how I feel when I become sick and it can last for an extended time; this sickness lasted for 2 weeks but my mind kept its distance which was, and continued to be, great.

There was something Goenka said that confirmed what I do. I’m phrasing this in my own words but he said something like it doesn’t matter how the tone of your voice sounds but what matters is did you say it out of the kindness of your heart or your what your mind intended it to mean? If so, then it should be okay. This was one of the reasons why I started holding back except when I was drunk but i had stopped drinking almost 2 years now because shit has come out of my mouth and I would not apologize for anything. No matter how others interpret the words for themselves.

My tone does not determine my attitude towards you, your assumption to my tone is your attitude towards yourself.

Day 3 
I woke up sick and by mid-afternoon I was crying while speaking to the assistance teachers because I needed some Tylenol. I never expected to get sick. I was having fever symptoms with the coughing. Of course, no surprise here, I was crying in front of the teachers and told them I wanted the Tylenol because I wanted to make it through the 10 days. I wanted to find out what’s at the end of the 10 days. They told me not to expect anything but to focus on the now. I heard them and I knew there were lessons to take out of every single day. Sick and crying, I was happy by the end of the day because I was able to finally follow my breath; not perfect but manageable.

Lesson from Discourse:
That night Goenka talked about experiencing the truth within yourself from the most subtle to the grossest experience you’ve encountered. I started crying when I heard this because I felt like such a horrible and evil person thinking back to the things I’ve done. I always thought I was a good person but because believing that shame + guilt = fear, it made me rethink whether I’m good or not. I thought that this was the truth but I’m just not where I am today. Now I know that I was being hard on myself regardless of the situation. Plus God only created perfect beings; he does not make mistakes.

We create a lot of illusions for ourselves; one example is physical beauty. Beauty is an illusion. It is superficial, deceptive reality and not ultimate truth. An example Goenka spoke of was when you tell your spouse she has beautiful hair but then when dinner is being served there is a piece of hair on your food and you of course are grossed out. How is that when a moment ago you spoke of her hair so tenderly and now it’s gross? I thought the thought was hilarious because it’s true.

I hope this gives you some light to your life.

The divine in me honors the divine in you. I see my true essence in every soul I met. You are me, I am you, and we are one.

<3 Namaste

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Power of Breath & Silence, my 10 Day Meditation Experience {Day 1}

It was Aiza Cathe, my best friend and soulmate, who told me about the 10-day silent meditation in North Fork, CA, but the idea was something I had wanted to do for years. The best time to go, I decided, is when your life seems at a halt. I did not read much about this particular retreat or research what it’s about but decided to do it anyway. Most of the things I do I just do without researching because it kills the mystery for me -- even if the mystery sometimes makes me feel miserable. I’m in it for the lessons. All I read is the “About” section of the website Dhamma for the meditation and noted what not to bring. Attendees were to bring warm clothing, but no see-through or tight clothes; (there went my yoga outfits -- blah). Additional “not to bring” items included journals, writing pads, tape recorders, phone or electronics -- just wonderful!

The drive there was nice but at the same time emotional; I was tearing up as I got closer to the location. I really didn’t understand the emotions. When I arrived I checked in, noting that the weather was hot. I introduced myself to my roommates: 13 girls, including me. At the orientation, we were told to practice noble silence, which meant no talking to anyone unless it’s necessary (we could speak to the managers of the facility), no looking into someone’s eyes or any versions of communication, not even a smile. Let’s begin!!!

Day 1 
I knew I would have a hard time sleeping because I was excited to start the unknown. And I was right; I woke up at 2 am and woke up with a panic attack. I have never felt or experienced panic attack in my life before; now I can add it to my collection of emotions. It was a quick attack and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. But it passed. Then we were woken up by the 4 a.m. bell, which sounded almost like a gong, to begin our day and meditation. I learned about this breathing exercise before but I’ve never had patience for it. But this time there was not much I could do but to actually practice it.  This meditation is called “Anapana” or awareness of respiration or breath. To follow your breath without changing it, was or seemed impossible at the time of practice. It basically felt like chasing someone you can’t catch or trying to pick up a call that’s on the floor but you keep kicking further as you get closer to the ball. Imagine the frustration and determination for me to get the damn breath down.

This meditation focuses only on breath: no mantras, no chanting, no music, no symbolism. Which means it was me, myself and I in my own head. Just writing this and recalling that intimacy with self-makes me teary-eyed -- and I’m at the library finishing this blog.

Lesson from Discourse:
All of me was in my head. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The good was in the background listening and observing every thought that walked by. The bad stirred things up and had no shame, nor guilt. And the ugly just fueled the bad even more. Although the good was observing she began feeling shattered emotions, blasts from the past. Some of my impurities and miseries began surfacing.

From the discourse summary book of S.N Goenka: “You have come to this meditation course to learn the art of living: how to live peacefully and harmoniously within oneself, and to generate peace and harmony for all others; how to live happily from day to day while progressing towards the highest happiness of a totally pure mind, a mind filled with disinterested love, with compassion, with joy at the success of others, with equanimity.”

Before we can live harmoniously we must deal with the disharmony within ourselves. 

Coming soon day 2 & 3 experiences,

The divine in me honors the divine in you. I see my true essence in every soul I met. I am you, you are me and we are one. 
<3 Namaste