Recently I went on a long journey into myself, and I am happy to report I survived! Not just survived, but feel much better for it. Last month I attended a ten day, silent meditation retreat at the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne MA. You might imagine that not talking for ten days would be very difficult. While it certainly had its moments, I found it quite enjoyable. It was pleasant to not be analyzing and articulating everything into a coherent sentence. The silence was relaxing for me, and I found it quite difficult to speak again when released from the practice on the tenth day. What was quite challenging, however, was combining silence with many hours of mediation each day.
This becomes an excavation process. Going into the dark recesses of my consciousness and allowing "stuff" to come into awareness. Some of this is quite pleasant; fond memories and sensations. Much of it, however, is stuff I had repressed and manifests as pain; physical, emotional and mental. A whole gamut of stuff came up; from lust, to anger, to self-doubt, to insecurity, to loss, to wanting to just get the heck out of there! Through all this I was simply and masterfully guided to stay the course, keep going. And I did. Eventually, during the last days, the storm began to clear and I began to experience elongated periods of peace and equanimity. It truly felt as though I had cleared out the basement of my consciousness and threw much of it in the dumpster. I felt lighter and much more at ease.
Some of this lightness and ease I have been able to maintain, and for this I am deeply grateful. Spiritual awakening is certainly not an easy process, but the benefits to ourselves and hopefully others are profound.