Day 5 (20/04/2015)
Though I slept late when I woke up I did feel refreshed. No hangover of a sleep deprived person, though I always believed myself to be someone who needed the full quota of 8 hours of sleep. I remembered suddenly the teacher’s reluctance to permit me to sit on a chair. I readied for the morning session’s meditation, steeled and told myself I was going to sit on the floor. By the end of the two hour slot from 4.30 – 6.30 am, I realized that it is easier said than done. Aches, pains and groans pervaded my being. So, after breakfast when I went for the session, I gave in to the feelings controlled by pain. I sat on the chair for the one hour group meditation during which I should not stir and then the rest of it till 11.00 am. Tough! Sitting on the chair which was anything but ergonomic, it was much tougher.
So for the rest of the noon’s sessions I decided to give sitting on the floor cross-legged a good try. The session from 1.00 to 2.30 was trial time. I pushed myself really hard and was able to sit without moving for close to 45 minutes and thus changed posture just once. Inspired by this small success I was thrilled when I was able to sit completely motionless during the hour long group meditation session from 2.30 – 3.30 and later between 6.00 – 7.00 pm, though they seemed to be a classic tests of pain endurance. By the time the end was within sight, it was as if time stood still! The deep connection between physical sensations and the mental connections was quite evident. The mind was so obsessed with the physical pain that the physical one became a mental pain too. Now that I started observing the pain objectively and disassociating it with the mental one, it seemed to have halved!! Goenkaji’s words were like a soothing balm – pain, like pleasure, will arise and disappear. It is impermanent. Nothing is permanent. Anicca, anicca, anicca!
All through the day’s meditation sessions we had to move our awareness from head to toe part by part and observe sensations. This, Goenkaji explained was to heighten one’s sense of awareness. Not just the awareness of the reality of the surface level of the mind, but at a deeper level. It brought about one more realization – the so called unconscious mind is anything but unconscious. It is always conscious of the sensations in the body and keeps on reacting to it. That’s why we like pleasant sensations and crave for them; we dislike unpleasant and painful sensations and engage them with hatred and aversion. This then snowballs into a habit pattern, making the mind a complete prisoner of likes and dislikes, craving and aversion. This generates negativity. Though at the intellectual level we are able to understand that we shouldn’t be generating negativity, the deepest level of the mind which is in constant touch with the body sensations, pays no heed to it. It is through the constant observation and awareness that the message reaches the deepest level.
One more young girl dropped out of the course after lunch was served at 11.00 am. By noon time the skies outside darkened ominously and brought in its wake welcome showers – clearly one of the most severe summer showers we have ever had in Kerala, for it ended only by about 3.30 am the next morning. Lightning streaked and lit up the dark skies and claps of thunder reverberated throughout. This also left us bereft of electric supply till about the morning of the next day. Once again sleep eluded me, which left me completely surprised. I have always taken pride and been very grateful in having no difficulty in sleeping – all I usually remember is lying on the bed and lo, it’s already the next day! Since the previous day too I found it difficult to sleep, I had taken care not to take an afternoon nap. Even that seems not to have helped. Many a toss and turn later, as I stumbled into Slumberland, Nature’s music was still at play – streaks of lightning, rumbling thunder and of course the shrill chirps of a million crickets, all teeming with life thanks to the heavy downpour.