I Meditated For Ten Days and Didn't Lose My Mind (Mostly)

Four years ago I experienced my first (and, so far, only) 10 day, silent meditation program.

This is a peek inside those 10 days.


I fall asleep during the 4.30-6.30 am meditation sitting.

After lunch I walk around the exercise path and stop to examine an iridescent caterpillar.  I wonder if I'm becoming enlightened and seeing colours differently.  I remember that it's only day one and think probably not.

I'm surprised that I'm not famished and can easily miss dinner.  I guess "sitting" doesn't require much fuel.

The last 3 hours of meditation are the longest 3 hours of my life.  I'll sleep like the dead!


I wake up with a head ache.  I wonder if it's because I didn't eat dinner.

I fall asleep during the 4.30-6.30 am sitting, again.

I like the food, don't mind showering in a bucket, don't miss my earrings and am even getting used to nude fingernails. I start to wonder if I could do this full time.

The teacher asks me if I can feel the sensation of breath. I tell her yes.  She asks me if, when my mind wanders, I can bring it back to the breath within 5 minutes or so.  I don't know how long 5 minutes is, but since I find myself bringing my wandering mind back to the breath about 600 million times in a 2 hour sitting I tell her yes.

My back hurts. I'm totally over sitting.  I decide that I probably couldn't do this full time.


I fall asleep during morning meditation.  But I'm getting better at sitting.  I guess 24 hours of sitting in the past 50 hours has had some effect.

I haven't cried or lost my brain yet.  I wonder if I will and how bad it will be.

I am told that tomorrow we will be learning Vipassana. I'm sorry, what exactly have we been doing for 11 hours a day these past 3 days???


I haven't missed talking.
I've missed laughing.
I've missed singing.
I've missed smiling at people.
And I've missed being spoken to.
But I haven't missed speaking.

Until today.

When I walked out of the meditation hall after the 2hr long Vipassana instruction I wanted to shout "THAT WAS HARD CORE!!!"


You know how sometimes you feel so full of love that it feels like it's bursting out of you so hard and fast that you might bowl someone over and you just want to hug someone, everyone, so you can share it all?

That's how I felt in the beginning of the second meditation sitting today.

By the end of the 3 hours I was crying.


Vipassana is kicking my a**.

But I'm getting better at sitting.  Yesterday I was thrilled to sit for 25 minutes without moving.  Today it was 45 minutes.

Things I'm looking forward to: A hug.  A coffee.


Is it really only day six??

Gong.  Wake up.  Gong.  Meditate.  Gong.  Breakfast, shower.  Gong.  Meditate.  Gong.  Meditate some more.  Gong.  Lunch, exercise, nap.  Gong.  Meditate.  Gong.  Meditate some more.  Gong.  Fruit and tea.  Gong.  Meditate, philosophy lecture, meditate.

It's like the rate race, only slower.  All of us silent and unsmiling.  Heads bowed, eyes lowered to avoid non verbal communication.  Gong.  Now we meditate.  Gong.  Now we eat.  Gong.  Now we walk around and around and around.

I feel like Dory, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming". Only I'm not swimming.

How can it be that only last week I was at the bottom of the ocean when I've been mediating at this place for 17 million years?

Things I've thought about while mediating today:
Free diving.
How I wish time went this slowly while I was in Raja Ampat.
What kind of wedding dress Anna will wear.
My nieces.
How long it will take to grow my hair long.
Shaving my head.
Fabulous things to do for my parents 60th birthdays.
Green smoothies.
Chiball and Yoga workshops.
How I wish Kala had moved to Bali to teach dance rather than moved back to Canada.
What kind of curtains to put in the new house.
Last nights vivid dream...

and on and on and on...

Things I haven't thought about wile meditating today:
The breath, sensation, or anything related to the technique I'm supposed to be practicing.


Today I sat for an hour without moving.  Except for the twitch I seem to have developed in my left  eyebrow.


If its possible, my mind is wandering more now than it was 8 days ago.  But always there's Eva and Mya knocking on my brain.
"Alright Aunty Cath, it's time for your meditation. Are you ready?"
And off they run into the sunlight.
"See ya Aunty Cath.  Love ya."
And then there's only light


We have started behaving like athletes.  Everyone is warming up, stretching and shaking out their muscles before each sitting like we're about to run a marathon.

Average meditation sitting time before I start getting fidgety: 45 minutes.  I want to say an hour is getting easier.  It should be with almost 100 hours of sitting under my belt.  But those last 15 minutes feel like a million hours of restless torture.

Things are starting to come together.  Both physically and mentally.  I feel like if I could start the 10 day journey tomorrow rather than finish it I might actually get somewhere.

Perhaps everyone feels like that.  This is just the beginning.  Baby steps.

It's been raining all day and the rosemary that grows around the grounds smells divine.


Compassionate Love meditation day.

You know what I love? The fact that after today I don't have to meditate anymore.

I made it. We all made it.

We can talk again. But what to say? Where does one even start?

"Was it as good for you as it was for me?"

Someone is singing in the shower.

I guess it was.

* * * * *
Have you experienced a silent Vipassana program?  Tell me about it in the comments!  I'd love to hear from you.


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