one woman's quest to live the life she's imagined all while daring you to do the same

Indian Pickle: Craving & Aversion

I hated to “To be continued” yesterday’s post: Holy Half Meditation-Marathon, but I did it for a couple reason’s: 1) I realized, just because I had three days to compose a post in my head while “meditating,” doesn’t mean you had three days to read it. 2) I’d made dinner and movie plans with my boo and, as one of my takeaways from my sit, I have to be better about closing my damn computer, even if my second closest love is writing and that sometimes means stopping mid-post.

All that said, where were we? Oh, right … Day 1.

Well first, let me explain the practice a bit. Vipassana is all about the natural occurring sensations in/on the body. It is an entirely universal tradition originally taught by Gautama Buddha, who, let’s not forget, was not a Buddhist.

The first few days of the 10-day course you focus on just the breath and sensations just below the nostrils and above the upper lip. That’s it. This technique is used to slow you down mentally and hone your awareness.

Our first day, of the three-day course, was spent doing just that.

Day 2, we got into the scanning meditation. From the top of your head to your feet and back again, you mentally scan your body focusing on the sensations as they arise, whatever they may be: some good, and some undoubtedly quite painful. You are encouraged not to stir and sit still with those feelings, allowing them to come and go as they wish with the mindset that no feeling is permanent.

It is such a great lesson too to take into life because our culture is so well trained to run from pain and discomfort, using: food, drink, love, Instagram, whathaveyou.
Each evening there’s a discourse, where the technique is discussed and we get further insight on the practice. We were all disappointed to be listening to an audio discourse as opposed to the videos we all had grown quite found of in our 10-day.
Don’t think I didn’t go to bed Day 1 with that extra hour banked in my brain. Good thing, because I was 15 minutes late to the 4:30 AM group sit on Day 2.
There are some things that one might consider “optional,” 4:30 AM sit being one of them, but I figure if I signed up for this, I want the full benefit. Therefore, nothing was optional. Well, except the one meditation I took outside bundled up in the sunshine (not recommended), but I couldn’t resist.
After Day 1, my meditations had a lightness to them, in the painful kind of way that staying still for two hours does. I could feel my brain hurrying for the bell as the discomfort arose (mostly in my back and knees), then I’d smile at myself and think Goenka’s famous words: “Craving, craving; aversion, aversion.”
Each time I ran for an escape, the pain escalated. When I settled into the resistance, it subsided.
All my sits in the pogoda after Day 1 came with fear that I’d again miss the bell. Twice I left before I heard the bell. Completely out of character, mind you …
Craving, craving; aversion, aversion.
Thank goodness I had banked that hour. I had 20 minutes left.
During one of the discourses, Goenka described the pain as old sunkaras surfacing to be released. With that in mind, I worked to offer gratitude for each painful sensation as I was thrilled to release it into the ether.
The only exciting thing that happened Day 2 was that during lunch I took it upon myself to break up an icy path, incessantly banging a sturdy stick, so that people would stop slipping. (Hence the name, “Mama Bear” that I was given.) I was certain everybody likely thought I’d lost my marbles, but I didn’t care. Again, I had a purpose. I’ll be damned if The Pregnant One will fall on my watch;)
Other than that, I continued to relish in the food, although my body was not responding well, I must say. I’ve become more paleo-ish in the last nine months, so beans and grains and beans and grains were really giving me a silhouette of the pregnant one.
Still, I was starving and a whole pack of volunteers had made it for me with love, therefore I was ecstatic. This is also when I discovered, the Indian Pickle. I don’t know what’s in this stuff or whether it’s good for me, although I think it is, but I am obsessed, and am currently on the mission to find my own jar of the stuff. The label-less mason jar hadn’t enticed me before, but with bland lentils to dress up, I went for it. Deee-vine.
The “real” meditation came in spurts. I’d get the subtle vibrations all over my body that allow for easy flow scanning, and then I’d be thinking up–Lord knows what: my Christmas list, all the places I’m taking my brother on his NYC visit, the toilet bowl cleaner I forgot to pick up, the damn smoothie that had spilled in the car on Monday that Elisa and I didn’t have time to clean up, all the things I’m gonna write about, my plans for the upcoming year. You. Name. It. Some great ideas, and others just nonsense.
Craving, craving; aversion, aversion.
I was in bed each evening at 9 PM and fast asleep by 9:30 PM. Done and done.
I’d brought chia seeds for my water because noon to 6 AM the following day is a long time to go without food. I don’t care how few calories I’m burning on my ass all day, I was hun-gry.
Day 3, we had a normal morning and then in the afternoon, noble silence was broken.
It is always funny to finally meet the people you have silently sized up during the course of your stay. Sometimes your presumptions are correct, but often they’re not. You feel guilty for all your judgments, however natural–you are at zen-camp for goodness sakes.
Going back into meditation that evening was difficult after all the excitement and commotion of being able to talk. It was a relief to hear that everyone struggled to keep their focus.
Many of us stayed up talking till the crazy hour of 10 PM because we were still buzzing with energy.
I couldn’t fall asleep until almost 11 PM: excited to go home, excited for the holiday, excited for life. Then I shot out of bed at 3:30 AM like I’d rested all night.
The 4:30 AM to 6 AM sit seemed to take forever. Goenka’s morning chant took a decade, I swear, mentally I was already checked out.
Craving, craving; aversion, aversion.
I had been planning my quick departure, so I signed up for an easy chore on the way out: laundry. The sign had promised only 15 minutes … 45 minutes later, I was sweaty and had finished my duties.
So much for my escape, I was third to last to leave. Being a chatty Kathy I had talked to and told stories and jokes to just about anybody I’d “connected” with throughout the course.
Thankfully all those looking for a ride had already found a seat. I wasn’t sure if I was going to fall asleep at the wheel and thought taking passengers might be a liability.
There’s always next time. I didn’t even think to offer a ride to my 10-day course, so the fact that I thought about it, not once, but twice, shows improvement.
Craving, craving; aversion, aversion;)
I leave you with this: What do you know about the Indian Pickle? Do share;)
PS … Talk about unraveling my zen. I’ve just tried to fix the spacing to this post three times to no avail. No clue why it got all jumbled up, but that’s technology. Leave it to the professionals, which I AM NOT. #aversion
Much Love,
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit, yo!

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