Trip Start Dec 09, 2006
90Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The first thing to notice is one of life's intuitively obvious realities... Buddhists and technology are not mutually compatible. Whilst they may coexist in any given situation, it is not the natural way of things and the results are beneficial to neither; often resulting in negation rather than progress.
Meditation position is a whole new world of pain and assuming there is truth in no pain no gain, then this course will be most beneficial to me. The silence has begun.
I have found that despite my best efforts and misguided desire to be enlightened, I am crap at meditation. I cannot hold my concentration on my breath (this is how you start this certain meditation) for more than just a few breaths before.... oops... there it goes again! Now back to the... oooops... and again.
Sometimes I don't quite manage a single breath before my mind is off again. Usually it's the same old thing but the remainder can be anything from an episode of TJ Hooker to wondering if I left the oven on. This is no great problem but I hope that my ability to hold my concentration can be equalled by my fellow inmate's ability to look like the moodiest bunch of wannabe Buddhists that ever lotus positioned on this planet. Was it getting up at 6 o'clock to meditate or was it the 'almost Tibetan style but not quite that bad' porridge that gave them the expressions like their entire family just got wiped out in a hideous accident? Who knows? I've got better things to do like watching my out breath! At the moment my reaction is to smile pointlessly... it's what you do if you are a naturally difficult person at a funeral style party, but I know they'll wear me down in the end if they can just keep this silent solemn sullen misery up for long enough
Discussion group no.1
The question for today's discussion is do you have to help others to find happiness? My group never really came to any consensus but in general the discussion broke down within minutes into a debate about whether true happiness could be achieved through murder and the most common answer was mere cats.
Meditation gives me wind. It could be the food but I really believe it is the meditation. It doesn't seem to affect anyone else but they may just hide it better and obviously we can't talk about it. Maybe everyone is thinking this. Still, I'd rather have acute flatulence than the doomsday expressions of most of my fellow inmates. There are a few people here that I've seen or known on the outside. There is one in particular that I never saw her without a smile on her face... right up to the gates of Tushita. Since then I've never seen with a smile on her face once. Meditation can seriously damage your sense of humour
Where to sit?
Oooh... it's a constant dilemma! Where to sit in any disparate group of people who randomly come together can always be an issue, but when you can't even get the simplest conversation going with anyone then it becomes.... I'm not sure; pointless so it's harder but meaningless so it's easier... or is the other way round? Anyway, it just so happened that this lunchtime I sat down on a narrow balcony with the girl with no smile. I tried to avoid it but it was too late. Don't get me wrong, she's ok by me but I knew she would ignore my existence in the world and I knew I would start smiling, and I figured she would know why I was smiling and ignore it; and I knew it would make me smile more and what can you do? Even laughing silently... a part of me wanted to stop, but the larger part knew that it was funny... awkward, amusing, awkward, amusing. And I enjoy laughing. Thich Nhat Hanh would have laughed with me and I suspect the Dalai Lama would have painted a big lipstick smile on her face!
Discussion group 2
Ok, well today's question was so simplistic that it took about 10 seconds to discuss 'yes'
Today I learnt to be more mindful when I put chilli sauce in my bland food.
Day 4... I think
Today I'm mostly wondering if it is possible to achieve enlightenment with a sense of humour? Is it possible to pass out of Samsara, the circle of endless suffering, whilst chuckling gently about the irony of the whole thing?
Learning about meditation is great but the whole Buddhist it is just not washing largely due to teacher/student incompatibility error and whilst it takes two to tango... this lady is tangoing hard and with a lot of partners. I've been introduced to a whole new world of facile and absurd analogies that I never dreamt of! My favourite that I can remember right now went something along the lines of "people say it's a dog eat dog world, but I don't see anyone with fangs and claws." Hmmm..
It's a wonderful thing that Buddhism sees the lesson in all the crap that we must deal with in life. My teacher is exactly that... my teacher. Because I think she is so rubbish at teaching I learn from her my meditating on my feelings of negativity rather than listening to her senseless drivel which can only be based on blind faith or Buddhist chic rather than reason or spirituality. Much more important, however, is the lesson I learnt this morning from the girl who lost her smile. Never stop smiling. Thank you for that.
I love my meditation teacher. She's Dutch, but what can you do, eh?
We are taught that the root of our suffering is our own grasping self cherishing narrow minded self, but I have always found it's because of others.
Day 8? Whatever
I've just hah one of life's universal comedy moments, but I can't tell it to anyone
Day 9. Almost over
It's all gone very weird here. About half the group seems to have lost the plot. A few people have been talking about how in silence there is an energy that builds up inside the body... well now it's fully built up and ready to explode. It's kind of a scary place to be right now.
Day 10. The last breakfast.
All the strange a wild energy finally dissipated safely in a flurry of candles and sincerity that appeared from nowhere. There is some sense of anticlimax but at least I feel safe again.
Pros and cons
I haven't smoked once in ten days, not even secondarily... it feels good. Naturally I don't smoke very much anyway but a most queer thing happened to me in Laos. Since I was eighteen I've smoked Drum tobacco and very occasionally a straight and even the odd menthol from some strange friend who might be pretending to smoke by inhaling such idiocy, but in Laos, a moment of madness took me, some feverish whim or low grade insanity, and I bought 200 Pall Mall menthols. Maybe I smoke a bit more now since what in reality is a mix of chemicals and bonfire is disguised as cool minty air. But still... I've been smoking the buggers for three months now... except for the last ten days; so Buddhism as good for the health. Errr... unless we consider the fact that I've been sitting on my arse for ten days only moving to eat. In the end though, anything that induces people to queue in the rain for a shower at six in the morning has got to be wrong, no?