Well most of you know I went away, by myself, on a journey. Some may know the world of meditation sadly I was not one of them but maybe that was in the end just what I needed to see for myself here at the Vispanna Meditation Center out on the Mohawk Trail, in Western Massachusetts.
I was all packed on Monday for the trip I would start out on two weeks ago on a Wednesday afternoon. The three of us drove together and when I arrived I was scared and in tears as I did not want to leave my family. I figured it out I had not gone away by myself since I was on a scouting trip back when I was 16 or 17. Having just had a birthday it is easy to figure out that was 40/41 years ago. Wow as I write it down it somehow seems crazy but true.
I kissed them goodbye and told him to drive home safely.
As I stepped through the doors of the beautiful facility I was welcomed warmly. I filled out a short form and went to talk with some others who had also arrived. Some had been there before others were scared as I was. When it is unknown we can find ways to worry can’t we. We came from all walks of life as well as other countries. We all had the same mission though to find peace within.
I went to my room with an “Old Student” server and then I unpacked and made my bed with the sheets and blanket I was asked to bring from home. The room was gorgeous. The view I looked out upon was a pretty garden area with small patches of snow here and there not the 3 and 4 foot snowbanks at home.
We were going to be served tea and a light meal of fruit and then meet in the Meditation Hall. I had requested a chair for my back and knee and it and a floor cushion awaited me just inside, along the wall. There had to be 200+ men and woman who came to this room. We were kept apart by just a row with no cushions. The Men had a teacher and we had ours. They would be the only ones we could speak to except for our assistant teacher when something important came up, remember this was a Silent Retreat. We then heard a message from the man behind this all. This type of meditation came through Buddha but so many different sects have branched off from this truer practice.
It was time for bed and I was once again all alone and missing home but wanting to be happy again, even more.
The days were laid out on a board over by the dining hall you always had a reminder of where you were supposed to be and what you should be doing eating, sleeping or meditating. A pretty bell would be rung at 4 AM to gently wake you then again 15 min. later a little louder to have you in the hall from 4:30 AM. You could choose to stay in your room but the quiet of this huge hall in the early morning hours for me was so moving only when the distractions of coughing mediators got too loud for me did I decide to stay in my room and practice my lessons.
Breakfast at 6:30 AM back in hall by 8:00 AM then lunch at 11:00 PM back to meditating 12:30 PM till 4 when tea was served with fruit oranges, apples and bananas. We had 2% milk or soy choices as we were now eating pretty much a Vegetarian Diet. After the night tea and fruit if you chose to eat it I think I may have had some 5 out of the 11 days there. After the tea time we headed back into the beautiful hall and except for breaks we would be there till around 9:00 PM then head to our rooms for much need rest who knew how hard it would be to focus your thoughts not me but I can tell you each night I was drained.
The first four days I was at the center and sitting took a huge toll on my wrecked neck from the wreck I had been in and I never gave the neck a thought as my world had gone ergonomic . They did everything they could to make me comfortable so I could complete my course and for this I can not thank them enough.
Day 4 was Easter and I was wanting home badly. As I left my room and walked to the dining area I was met with an amazing sunrise yes many miles from the area I frequent and up in the woods but there it was. Purple and Pink filled the early morning view and I felt loved. I ate what was offered had some tea and took a walk outside in the crisp morning air.
I took my Dad’s old coat as I headed for the hall with hopes of rolling it up to better support the neck and having lost Dad 9 years ago it made me feel his strength as it was a big part of who I really was. I got situated and set about listening to my first true lesson in Vispanna Meditation. I will never forget Easter Sunday 2013 what an amazing day! I had such a peace engulf me while others panicked. I guess I saw it as a true lesson and we would all have the same outcome for all the work we had put in but that is not how life seems to really work.
I will not share the whole course here as for those who want to experience it for themselves they should with no prejudgment from my experience.
Should you be in a place in life and wanting to feel alive and have a set of tools to deal with the reality of our world better go here to read about their mission, find centers and read the Code of Ethics.
Thank you to each and every one of you who had me in their prayers and thoughts I felt strength each time I was sure I would fail. You are THE BEST FOLLOWERS!
Peace and Love to each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart which is now filled with so much love for who I am.
If you decide to go get ahold of me and I will give you a list of other essentials you would be better off bringing I hope to give back by serving a group such as I was a part of we were amazing so strong and such a gift to have it just over 2 hours from me.