Today would have been Day 6 of the Vipassana 10-day silent meditation course. I attended my first Vipassana two years ago, and by Day 6 I was just catching my stride. By Day 6, I was observing sensations with equanimity and not getting as swept up in craving and aversion. By Day 6, I was beginning to dissolve stored emotions, wounds, and traumas, some that I'd taken on in childhood, some I'd inherited through my ancestral lineage, and some I'd carried with me for many lifetimes. By Day 6, I'd learned to sit in Great Determination - a fancy way of reminding us to stop fidgeting, stop trying to get out of the moment of pain and discomfort. Most sessions had me sitting with intense physical pain, as a battle played out between my body - who wanted to slump forward and give up and scream out in pain, and my mind - who held many roles as Observer, Complainer, Martyr, Steadfast Meditator, Rule Follower, both weak and strong and every shade in between. There was an ongoing battle of trying to save me from this excruciating pain.
By Day 6, the mental chatter was abating. I sat with my pain and discomfort, fires erupting across my skin, my body becoming a heavy weight crushing my sitbones into the floor.
Learning to sit with pain and discomfort has served me well. When I feel disappointment because everything is cancelled, including this long-awaited meditation course, and a trip to see my dearest friends in Colorado, and meeting up with my childhood best friend to see our favorite band - Pearl Jam, and my friends' wedding on Hawaii, I sit with it. It's an uncomfortable sensation, nothing more, nothing less.
From Day 6 until this very moment, I've learned to sit with Great Determination.
I have the tools to weather any storm.
Does that mean I always remember to use them when I need them?
Not always, but I'm getting there.
I'm a work in progress.