DISCLAIMER: I will not be going into detail about the technique used. I would highly recommend that if you have any interest in Vipassana what so ever, that you enrol in a 10-day course and experience what the technique can do for you.
Day Of Arrival
After an enjoyable and large breakfast I finished my packing and headed down to get into the taxi towards the Dhamma Ajanta Vipassana Centre.The hotel manager was curious so he asked if he could ride along, I needed my driver to take me pas a shop where I could get a torch and alarm clock so I thought he would probably come of use with his English skills. The drive would take about 40 minutes and the nerves were starting to really kick in now, I was realizing just how long 10 days actually was then it sank in that I would be required to meditate for 11 hours per day. With my ‘ very fast but very efficient’ attitude this might just be quite a challenge for my patience. Damn me. Why do I never think things through? Why am I always so enthusiastically impulsive? I was starting to feel a little sick now, and the hotel manager was talking and talking whilst I was trying o say my goodbye’s to everyone quickly before having to hand in my phone, then I remembered why I wanted to do this course in the first place and that I had been wanting to enroll for over a year. Ah yes, this was going to change my life if I would just go into it with an open mind and work hard.
When I arrived and stepped out of the car, it became immediately apparent to me that this was not a Vipassana centre where a lot of foreigners came. As I got looks of interest at the blonde with a massive backpack from every angle, I realized that at least it would be an authentic experience. After I had filled out all of the forms and had been asked a multitude of times whether I was addicted to any substance (I still doubt that they believed my innocence) and I had handed in my electronics, books and any writing material, I went to look for my residency for the coming 10 days I was massively relieved that everyone got a private room as I really need ‘me time’ no matter how much I like who I am spending time with. It was however quite a shock to see the ‘bed’ in my room. It was a built-in shelf made out of stone, I sighed decided not to moan about it to myself and just get on with it as I did have a private bathroom and a fan which were both very pleasant to have.
After settling into my room which consisted of the stone bed and fan I sat down uncomfortably and waited 20 minutes before supper and tea would be served, thinking how unbearable these 20 minutes were as I had nothing to do. This was just the beginning. Whilst waiting awkwardly alone whilst everyone was chatting in Hindi, an elderly, tiny little lady approached me and told me to follow her, I did as she required and she had apparently decided to take me under her wing and show me how everything works as she had enrolled a massive 15 times beforehand. It was nice that she wanted to look after me, like my Indian grandma. She also made a point that a scarf would be mandatory to hide my ‘womanly body’ and nbot cause distraction. Just to be clear, males and females wold be kept seperated at all times so I had a little inner eye roll at this. Of course I didn’t have a scarf because I stupidly did not buy the beautiful cashmere one a few day earlier. All the women were more than willing to lend me their scarf and they each almost begged me to take their which was very genrous of everyone.
As the noble silence began, we walked in formation towards the Dhamma Hall, everyone would be assigned a cushion which would be their post for the next 10 days, I was very pleased to be situated in the back at the end corner near the door. It seemed to be sorted by age, this would mean I was the youngest female there at 23. Elderly and pregant women got a chair or a backk stand if they required and the rest would have to make to with their core muscles for 11 hours a day. The men were situed at the other end of the room to my dismay, this would mean more noised would occur and distract me.
During the course introduction and the start of the first eveing session I got rather worried at the level of English I would be required to be listening to, another thing I had not thought about: when people talk with even the slightest accent, I have trouble understanding what that say. At least after every taped technique explanation there would be a more clear English one.
Good grief, am I seeing things? Am I hallucinating already?A Western man! He doesn’t even seem to have eyes for my presence though, this must be a very dedicated meditator. I wonder where he comes from and what his name is.