Day 5 and 6 – Cyril and Yoda

[Don’t miss Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and my personal favourite: Part 4!]

After all the excitement of day 4, I was exhausted. I slept so well that night! When the gong sounded the next morning, I was up and at ’em with a smile on my face. I just couldn’t shake the smile that seemed to have taken up permanent residence there. I found my cheeks hurting after a while, but it felt good.

Day 5 and 6 kind of blurred together for me. Now that I was practicing Vipassana, things were changing rapidly. I all of a sudden had a million questions. My mind was racing. I determinedly sat through meditations and craved the time of day that Goenka would come on the video and give us some more understanding of what we were doing, where we were going. I spent my free time thinking, walking, thinking, walking. I did a lot of thinking about myself, about going back to real life, about practical applications of Vipassana. As I grasped more and more of the theory, my smile widened. I was beginning to truly understand more things about myself and about the world.

During these days, I created more paths, more lookout points, and explored more terrain. One day while walking out to the ‘lookout point’ I had created a few days back, I noticed something I had probably passed by several times without seeing. As I passed a tree on the path to the ravine, I looked up at it. Something caught my eye.

Cyril the Cicada Shell
Cyril the Cicada Shell

At first I was taken by surprise! I wondered what a bug this size was doing outside in such cold weather!? But then I realized, it was a cicada shell! How many times had I passed this tree without even realizing that this was here? It was a perfect replica of a cicada bug that probably sang its heart out in August and September. I named him Cyril the Cicada Skin. Every time I walked by the tree after that, I’d say a mental “hello” to Cyril.

Yoda GoenkaOne night I had a kind of epiphany while watching Goenka’s discourse video. I was learning so much from this man – and almost all of it was common sense wisdom that I had either not thought of before, or had not thought of it in the way that he imparted this wisdom. I was sitting there, watching the video and giggling periodically at Goenka’s accent, or use of the English language, or his jokes – and I realized: Goenka is just a BROWN YODA! He’s so cute, and small, and squatty, just like Yoda. He is always giving us wisdom in a very patient manner. And he even says some things backwards like Yoda too! It gave me great pleasure when I made this association 🙂

What was I learning from all this meditation, all these videos, all this time to think and have introspection? A few simple things that together explain everything we have to deal with in life. One: Everything changes. Two: All misery comes from either craving or attachment to things, or aversion to things. It all sounds simple at first – I know. Believe me, when I first heard these things, I was saying in my head “Yeah – so what?” But after 6 days of meditating, thinking, asking questions, and learning – I began to understand the philosophy behind these things, and why meditation and understanding can bring you great benefits in life and basically help you to BE HAPPY!

Before I had come here to this 10-day meditation I had already been on the scent of some of these ideas and philosophies, but spending time silently by myself enabled me to cultivate these ideas. Absorbing the wisdom and practicing the meditation enabled me to gain so much more insight. A lot of things about life in general (and some things specific to me) came into perspective for me. Things seemed a lot clearer.

I still had a million questions, and my mind was going a mile a minute – but I kept telling myself that I still had 4 days of learning – of experiencing – to go. After day 6, I was at the point where I was teetering between being happy that I had made it through 6 days, and still wondering how I was going to do this for 4 more days.

[Check out Part 6!]