Day 9 (24/04/2015)
The first thing that came to my mind as I woke up on this penultimate day of the Vipassana Course was the exasperating shoulder pain that was getting from bad to worse. Added to this was the hurting knee. I wondered if I was regressing and was vexed as to what would happen if these persisted even after the course was over. I had to undertake the travel back home by train, hauling the luggage, and climbing the most user-unfriendly steps to reach the platforms in railway stations. Keeping these in mind I sat in the chair for the early morning session of meditation. However, I felt rather incomplete doing so and quickly moved back to the crossed legged position for the rest of the day. I brought in a couple of cushions (many of different sizes and shapes were piled up for us to pick and choose to suit our need) more and made myself comfortable before I entered Vipassana practice.
The surprising matter however was notwithstanding the pain which overshadowed everything else, I was able to experience the warmth / tingling and other subtle sensations in other parts of my body. Today we were asked to sweep head to toe and in the reverse direction and then see if we could feel the sensations inside the body as well by moving our focus, this way and that way, piercingly and penetratingly through the body. We were asked to see if we can pass our focus through the spinal cord. After this, we were asked to do spot checks by taking our focus randomly to a body part and to see if the mind immediately feels a sensation in the area of focus and if the sensation remains limited to the area of focus. For the last couple of days I have also been noticing a strange occurrence. As I got engrossed in my Vipassana practice, I experienced occasional sobs. But there were no tears whatsoever. I wondered if it was the soul that was weeping for the hurts and broken spirits of many a life time. It dawned that some very deep cleansing was what was happening to me. I am reminded of one of my favourite poets, Khalil Gibran’s lines:
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seamed with scars…”
I told my daughter about this later and she says, “Ma, don’t freak me out!” 🙂 May be one day she’ll discover for herself the unmistakable benefits of Vipassana and then she’d be in a better position to understand the multifaceted technique and the effects it can have on the sincere practitioner.
By evening the pain was so unbearable that I doubted if I was suffering from Spondylitis. The need for a quick fix remedy was so very desperate that it made me do something which is not permitted. We had an acupressure specialist in our midst (with whom I interacted on Day 1 before the noble silence began) and I went to her and signalled that my shoulder pain was unbearable. She felt the area and opined that the pain is in all probability mental defilements finding external outlets. She applied pressure at various points, took out the acupressure plaster dots and put them in a couple of places. It was pure magic and very soon the ache was contained. The relief in me was palpable and a new verve and buoyancy radiated from within me.
The evening discourse of Acharya Goenka reminded us that the next day was the last day and that we would be initiated into Metta or Loving Kindness meditation. The liberation from pain and the fact that the next day was the last day of the course (we would get to talk to each other in the afternoon and by 5 pm we will get our mobile phones to talk to our dear ones back home!!) made me anticipate the day with exhilaration. After so many days of not being able to sleep as soon as I hit the bed, I drifted immediately into sound sleep and woke up only when the gong went to wake us up at 4.00 am.
(To be continued)