My first memorable experience of finding freedom and connectedness through complete surrender comes from my first silent meditation retreat. Cliche? Maybe, but it is exactly what happened. The environment easily facilitates these kinds of transformations.
It was on day 6 of my first Vipassana retreat, I felt a shift in my whole understanding of life as i knew it. I had learned a technique for mediating that involved focussing on the sensations of the physical body. Nothing else was involved.
I was experiencing a tremendous amount of pain in my right hip and leg due to a twisted pelvis, something i have just always had, yet i had never sat in one postion for as long as i had at that particular time on that particular day. It was excruciating. I wanted to run! I wanted to stand up and make the pain stop; but i continued to sit, perfectly still. Eventually i was the only person left in the hall sitting on my cushion, when suddenly, everything changed. My body was not as i had known it my whole life. It seemed like it was no longer there and the pain in my hip and leg was now a sensation that i could no longer label as ‘painful’. The sensation still existed, like my physical body, but i couldn’t really feel it as i usually did. It was almost as if my conscious mind, my awareness, was just floating in space. Logically i knew my body was sitting on a cushion, crossed legged and in pain but i could not feel it. In that moment i knew that everything was just as it was meant to be. Serenity, which i had never felt in my life, washed over me entirely. Real joy. Real peace.
I eventually felt ready to bring myself back into the world of solidity and duality, although, now I could easily see why monks give up everything to dedicate their lives to that exact practice. I had not a worry in the world and time seemed irrelevant. Pure bliss.
When i made the conscious decision to come out of my seated meditation my pain came careering back, filling my hip and leg and then the almost unbearable sensation of pins and needles as my nerves reconnected. It didn’t matter though, i knew it wasn’t real anymore. I could escape it at any time. All i had to do was practice!
I walked outside the hall as if i were floating on a cloud. The feeling reminded me of the first time i tried exstacy; a feeling of euphoria and light as a feather. This time however, I had achieved it without the chemical cocktail coursing through ny blood stream. There would be no chemical residue for my body to have to detoxify, no come down for my mind to be caught up in, and no damage caused to my brain. I had found the answer – Mindful Meditation! I realised that THIS is what people are searching for with our addictions.
For the rest of that day I was me without all the bullshit. Just me. I realised then that there was something inside myself that is worth fighting for. So, everyday I draw my sword and stand my ground against the identifications of my ego, that stop me from reaching my goal of being truly happy.