Day 9 – Meditation Retreat

⦿ 6am. It’s dark here, but the sun shines for Trish at home. Marital catalyst has come up little the past week thanks to all the intensive work we’ve done to clear the baggage, but there is still yet road to travel both for Trish and me; on her end for reasons she can speak to, but on my end with the energies of frustration, condescension, and impatience.

⦿ The “ego” just wants to feed and be kept alive. It doesn’t care what the situation is. I must apply these principles of equanimity and awareness while being extremely vigilant in my mindfulness in order to stop this wheel and stop generating new “sankharas.” This lets the old stock burn up, like a fasting for the soul.

⦿ Having returned to a more normal S.O.P. since yesterday’s nap and the end of the opened gateway/higher awareness, I see the contrast better between the silence and my everyday personality. In the elevated state, above the water, the currents (mind-habits) are still present, but I am not so pulled and pushed by them. In the non-elevated state, I more immersed in the water and subsumed in the currents. The intellect can still reflect on the currents, of course, but experientially I am whisked away.

⦿ Spent some time in meditation thinking about Trisha Bean. Her smile, humor, the way she cares about me. The heart was aglow.

⦿ I need to treat intense pain and intense pleasure equally. Perhaps I will have different responses to each, yes, but any response should be equal in avoiding clinging, craving, aversion, and attachment. The reaction to ever-changing, ultimately impersonal forces is bondage. This is the path of freedom.

⦿ In pagoda meditation, I held firmly without strain to single point, but invariably the tension/constriction elsewhere in the body/mind made me as tight as a wound rope. But, to place my attention on the tension is to lose focus, forget, be pulled into thought on an unstable platform. I don’t fully understand how to form an holistic, stabilized attention when blocked energies steal and fragment the energy.

⦿ Thought-less awareness. This is what I am tasting. Quite actually: awareness without thought. Not by my hands does the door open. It opens through a single-pointed focus that surrenders craving, attachment, and aversion. To be conscious, aware, and accepting all things without thought. To release the need to control. This is surrender.

⦿ I taste it, this thought-less awareness, but the thinking monkey mind, even when relatively docile, is always in motion trying to comment, reflect, direct, and “understand.” It can do none of those things with silence so it must do the one thing that it least wants to do: stop. Otherwise known as surrender.

But how to surrender? In addition to all the determination-harnessing techniques of will, I must lean into the silence. I must ask the silence to teach me and trust that it is working upon me, even though not communicating discernibly. And to be its partner, I myself must be still and silent.

⦿ Maybe one day I will thank the antagonists for providing a cargo ship of catalyst sufficient to bring misery to new heights, pushing again and again to accept the unacceptable, love the unlovable, surrender to the is-ness of a cruelty I do not understand.

⦿ Final evening of Noble Silence. Full sun again as it slants downward upon the hills. Everyone seems particularly still as they take in the space (except for the barbarians opening/closing the doors in our dorm). I wonder if the guys are eager to return home? I wonder if some will miss this experience?

⦿ I skipped my evening tea and fruit in order to fast and purge some negativity I hold, so I walked the hard earth and gravel mix pathways in barefeet. It followed another round of near single-pointedness again; very intense concentration, but never in a fully settled, at-ease body. I felt once again my brokenness. Surrounded by earthly heaven, I can’t feel and can’t connect. I feel no joy.

⦿ AT the 7pm group sit, I used a technique I’ve used previously in this course. I started actively listening to the silence. Literally, I shifted my attention to my ears to listen to the silence. The listening stabilized and intensified. The attention remained steady. The mind existed without thought. And I did not rubber-band back into my usual mental loops (or mental mayhem, I should say).

⦿ The silence in the room was not ordinary, not what one would hear by oneself in an empty room. It was supported and sustained by the hum in consciousness of 120 souls. It felt alive.It was a very tangible experience! Like a placid, perfectly still lake until a ripple spreads outward from the landing of a dragonfly (a stomach grumbles), or a pebble is dropped (a throat clears), or a stone is thrown (a sneeze). I became so hyper-aware and present that I could register and echo-locate each tiny disruption to (or enhancement of) the silence.

The thinking mind would intrude now and again, especially when becoming self-conscious of not thinking, but seldom overriding the listening completely. This for the better part of an hour. Minute after minute “I” stayed still in this alert state, nothing “to do” in the conventional sense, no stimulus for the thinking mind, little to nothing to chew on—it was patience embodied.

⦿ Once again, somewhere centered in the brain behind the eyes, an intense but not disruptive pressure built. But there was no sense of the gateway (3rd eye) being opened as there had been the other day. I vaguely recall receiving an image similar to the one of the white milky secretion, but this time it was as if it had been exhausted for the time being with nothing further to give.

This listening to the silence was still one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. When the break came, I walked barefoot under the sun with a mind so spacious and subdued. I felt rather empty of content, and I eased away from the suffering that had been with me earlier this day.

What could I do with more days?

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