Day 8: Staying Equanimous
My internal clock seems to have adjusted to the centre timings. My alarm didn’t ring but I was awake before the sevikas came with the little bell to wake us all up. I followed Goenkaji’s suggestion last night, that of being aware of subtle sensations in my body as I was readying to sleep and lo! in no time I was deep asleep.
Meanwhile my roomie Jamuna, never gave up trying to ‘chat’ me up with gestures. Last night when I stepped out of my bed time shower, she ‘asked’ me if I showered every night at home too. When I was stretching my back and legs, she ‘told’ me that when she was 45 she was thin and now she is 50, she had gained weight. At least that is what I made out with the gestures she attempted. She knew I was writing in my little note book and ‘asked’ me if I had mentioned her as well.
If Jamuna only knew she would get more than one mention in my blog posts, she would have been pleased.
Her need to talk was real. Every time I stepped out of the room, she would invite her crony from the next room in and have a hushed conference.
Since there are only two more days to end of camp, I reflected on the things I would miss about being here.
- The number one thing I will miss when I am done is Goenkaji’s singing
- The quiet, calm, serene atmosphere only punctuated by coughing bouts, sneezing, nose blowing, throat clearing, snoring and burping (Some women!)
- The simple, wholesome satvik food without onions, garlic or pungent spices
- My corner of Room #16 and the little note book I scribbled in with some old fashioned writing
- Cushion #22, which was ‘home’ for ten hours a day
- Goenkaji’s lecture discourses
- The watery ginger flavoured tea that I drank twice a day
- Being chocolate-free, caffeine-free, snack-free for ten days
- Being irritation-free, exasperation-free, anger-free, disappointment-free for the same length of time
Surprisingly the water in the camp stayed equanimous too. Never got too cold or too warm with the weather changes outside; stayed tepid.
The session at the pagoda today went better even though I did feel prickly sensations on my face for the first five minutes. I got out of the pagoda session before the session bell went off. There is only that much sweat rivers one can handle.
The AT met all of us one last time in our groups and asked if we had any questions. One lady in my group still seemed a little lost but maybe it was just me. I was already planning to recommend the course to a few people I knew who would benefit from the technique. I wished my mother could be part of it but not for her waking at 4am. But I did see a few people who looked her age taking the course quite comfortably.
Today’s adiththana sessions went better than all previous days put together. I hadn’t felt the uneasy spasming discomfort on my upper or middle back the whole day which was truly remarkable but hey I was staying equanimous about it.
Goenkaji says that I will have old sankãrãs (karma) surfacing and manifesting themselves as sensations. He expects me to be equanimous about those too. What things and people am I clinging or feeling an aversion to that I have to now be equanimous about? Will I be able to recognise the sensations from old sankãrãs ? A few questions popped up as I sat there wondering.
When I call or write to someone to check on their well being, what sensation am I indulging in? Clinging or just compassion?
I continued to ‘sweep scan’ my entire body for sensations whenever they were subtle and free flowing; I stopped and scanned individual parts when I experienced gross sensations (like the pain in my middle and upper back). I have noticed a few other sensations since yesterday. The entire content of my head seems to be moving in concentric circles, clockwise sometimes, anticlockwise. Also when all is quiet and I only hear myself breathing subtly, my heart beats seem to rock my whole body.
I hoped that I had not gained weight this week. I confess that I actually hoped to have lost a few kilos. I am going to have to be equanimous when I find out the result.
My peers at large seemed to be visibly more relaxed and happy than the first few days. Maybe because it was the last two days and the end of the course was near? Jamuna gestured again; ‘Only two more days here, then you go one way and I go the other’ Did I sense regret? ‘I know Jamuna’ , I nod and smile.
Two other women smiled at me today. One as I left the Dhamma hall and another as she watched me picked a gulmohur flower that had fallen on the ground.
I wondered if anyone missed me at all
Maybe my husband, especially if my teen had argued with him
Maybe my teen, who had advised me to cry all I wanted at camp and come back a better homosapien
Maybe my Man Friday, he said he would call that week on a random day to check if I had access to my phone
Definitely Maxx, ‘Where are you ma? I can’t smell you anymore. Come back soon ma’ (I miss you much too, baabu)
Maybe my mom, brother and niece, they will be ready with Vipassana jokes about me
Maybe people at work? Nah, who am I kidding.
I miss all of you. You mean the world to me.
During the evening discourse, Goenkaji warned us that it is easier to be equanimous to feelings of pain and discomfort but when the sensations are pleasant, then to stay equanimous becomes a challenge. So true. The challenge is to be aware of sensations, pleasant or unpleasant, acknowledge them and stay equanimous.
I showered before bed and enjoyed the feeling of freshness, before I reminded myself to be equanimous about pleasant feelings too.