Toward a New Beginning

The final analysis:

People are often unreasonable, self-centred: Forgive them anyway. If you are Honest, People may cheat you, but be Honest anyway. What you spend years to Build, someone could Destroy over night. Build anyway. The Good you do today, People will often Forget tomorrow. Do Good anyway. You see, in the final analysis with God (or with yourself on your death bed); it never was between you and them anyway.

— Unknown, modified by me.

Tomorrow I will be embarking on a new journey to “see things as they really are.” Vipassana is one of the oldest meditation techniques from India. It’s a 10-day course that involves nothing but meditation in silence. Waking up at 4 a.m. and going to bed at 9:30 p.m., I will be meditating for 10 hours per day. No communication is allowed with the outside world and the inside world. The only conversation I’m going to have is the conversation with myself. And when that is also muted (which will take a few days), I will be able to see things as they really are.

When I tell people about this, the two things that they tell me:

1. Why??? (really, it’s “What? You’re joking, right?”)

2. Have fun!

To the first question, I say it’s to clear my mind of distractions, including myself. And to the second question, I say it’s not really a “fun activity.” It’s a mental training exercise. But I do look forward to it, as it has a certain kind of novelty. However, I am prepared for the grueling first few days, where most people quit. Because I’ve never really “meditated” longer than 15 minutes, it’s gonna be hard sitting still for 10 hours a day. Being the “millennial” generation that I belong to, not having my phone and google and facebook and flipboard, anxiety and withdrawal are in order. But to paraphrase my dear friend Iris, I am going to “meet myself this way.” Because it really is about meeting myself for probably the first time. No phone, no paper, no pen, no exercise, no talking with other people. The only thing I have is my mind and my body.

The first few days will be extremely discomforting as the Resistance kicks in. It’s the same kind of Resistance that Steven Pressfield talked about in the War of Arts. It’s the Resistance to do great work. It’s the Resistance to do things that scare you. It’s the Resistance to be vulnerable, to be true, to be really naked for the first time (metaphorically, I will be wearing warm clothes through out.) I will be “one step closer to hitting bottom.”

The discomfort, both physically (from sitting for 10 hours) and mentally (from not having anything to be distracted from) is so overwhelming that a lot of people give up within the first few days. I don’t plan to be quitting. No matter what happens, I am committed to completing the course.

To the present, here I come.