Offline, Off-phone, off book, off-pen for One Week

So I’m about to go on a Vipassana Retreat

First time.

You might have heard of Vipassana*  I had vaguely been introduced to it when every April during School Break and each summer during the vacation, a group of birkenstocked or barefoot walkers would appear on our school campus.

They were at a Vipassana Retreat, I was told. This apparently entailed walking in silence around the campus, around the library, the English room, the Science building and after a while, disappearing and then doing some more walking. I thought it odd that no one spoke. Then one day, as I was moving books from the Bomb Shelter to our new library, I noticed one of the silent walkers talking on his cellphone and periodically looking furtively upwards. I averted my gaze and then went back to staring when he wasn’t aware of my presence.

What kind of retreat thing was this? And how serious a Vipassana could this thing have been if it allowed this kind of blatant shirking of its principles.

Vipassana

Well, fast forward several years – perhaps 15? And here I am, signed up and waiting for my chance to silently walk. No birkenstocks, but I have acquired some comfortable Crocs and that, surely, is acceptable. And I will silently sit. And I will silently eat my meals. And in silence, I will pass my mornings, even with roommates. And I will surrender my phone and therefore live without internet or what’s app or facebook, or my haiku site.

This is all most unusual for me. I don’t have any buffalo hide Indian sandals or Indian cotton shirts that might actually stand me well for next week’s superhot weather predictions. I can only bring what I have, non-Asian tourist garb – jeans shorts and a few t-shirts.

I guess that’ll do. I don’t wear my hair in an upsweep. I don’t have dredlocks. I don’t wear a turban. But I do have natural hair colour and I am willing to go a week without make-up. Who will care if I have or don’t have accentuated brows? And I have scarves that can double as hats when the sun or wind requires such garb.

I have a new meditation pillow, ready to break in. All outer gear is ready.

meditation cushion

meditation cushion

What I must reckon with, however, and this is very difficult, is that for one week plus a day, I am not to write.  or read!

This is a killer situation. I’ve been known to give up perfectly useful courses for tapping into my creativity, when they demanded such gestures of non-attachment.

No phone. Ok. No computer. Fine!

But no write, no read?

This is, well, I’d like to know what you all think. Can it be done?

I wonder.

Wish me luck! If I’m still capable of doing so, I’ll update my experience next week.

*”Vipassana’ as a word comes from the Pali stem for ‘Clear Thinking’. Sounds good, no?

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2 thoughts on “Offline, Off-phone, off book, off-pen for One Week

  1. Uuummmmmm……. I am sure you will get through it, you have been working up to this for a while. You will do what is good for you. You will leave enriched, whether you succeed in all strictness, or not, the experience will become a part of who you are, and what you know- about the world, and about yourself.

    I will miss your daily haikus – but that is a meager sacrifice compared to what you will be experiencing and learning. You lived through last summer’s war, this will be a walk in the park (or field – or forest) for you.

    Hugs ❤

    Deli Lama

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