Day 3 – Meditation Retreat

⦿  I alternate between never again and this is amazing. I woke today feeling optimistic and good. I vowed internally to avoid judgment of self and others, and I articulated “may all beings be happy.” I am given courage by Goenka’s indication that the mind may react with resistance to this regimen and create agitation.

⦿ Something is steel inside of me. Did I, on a deeper level, want to be this stuck without answer or clarity?

I very strongly want to help others find their own way out of pain, but I am of little use to anyone stuck, trapped, and confused as I am in my own. Intellectually I know that these are the words of an illusory self with whom I am presently identified, but this is my reality nonetheless—seemingly unchangeable, unyielding to inquiry and healing.

⦿ I chase satisfaction in my daily life, fumbling blindly for liberation and salvation, or even relief, but seldom do I ever feel completely whole, completely satisfied and well, completely present and harmonious. Even in a night of weekend drinks, while it can be casual and a genuinely good time (Trish and I in particular have such a fun, connecting time together with a couple drinks), and while it need not have much connection with the overall, larger spiritual journey, I can clearly see how the mind reaches and grasps for that shift in consciousness as if it will offer a doorway out. It is a false salvation.

⦿ I think I narrowed down the source of these energetic knots or tangles within me, as I perceive them. They seem to be concentrated in the heart and sacral centers (the green and orange rays). I’m getting a visual of something akin to a lodged kidney stone in my pranic pipelines.

⦿ Otherwise… there is little that is new for me to observe in this stuckness. I have mapped this out so well. I have been staring at this state of bondage forever.

Do I pay it too much attention in the normal flow of my life? No, I don’t think so. I have forgotten it many times. I have been lulled into a (incomplete or untrue?) sense of wholeness, rightness, satisfaction only for the pain to return, often crushing and scattering my hope, my dreams, and my momentary sense of inner security. It seems to oscillate between active and dormant, but it’s always there. Even in happy and ostensibly stress-free times, like adventures with Trish, it’s always there, lurking.

⦿ Rather difficult, this experience. The total lack of stimulus and social engagement, the sitting with your thoughts forever, the backpain… seven more whole days of this feels like a very long time. And what if I make it through this with nothing to show for it? Among my various salvation projects over the years, this is the most committed and intensive, and if I reach the other side in the same exact state I entered this… the despair may be great… I may have little hope of remedy if this fails.

At the root of all kinds of dukkha is craving, or attachment. We go through life grasping at or clinging to what we think will gratify us and avoiding what we dislike. The second noble truth tells us that this very grasping, or clinging, or avoidance is the source of dukkha. We are like drowning people who reach for something floating by to save us, then discover that what we’ve latched onto provides only momentary relief, or temporary satisfaction. What we desire is never enough and never lasts. –


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