Vipassana Jesup Georgia 2009
If you found this blog chances are you are wondering
what the Jesup, Georgia Vipassana site otherwise know
as Southeast Vipassana Center
Here's the link:
I just did the 10 day, really 12 day sit.
What follows are emails to and from a long time friend/fellow blackbelt.
My story, my experience, no doubt different from anyone
else's,however, S.N. Goenka says: "There is no I. There is no
you, there is no me".....hahahaha....but in order for me to
enjoy the experience vipassana, I had to make sense of
what Goenka was saying and align with my inner be-ing and
(and this is not a quote, just my words of making sense of)
We are all made of source
energy, we are all one made of the same stuff, source energy,
however, Abraham says we are now
leading edge thinkers now focus-ers of energy on the physical plane,
the leading edge of thought. For me, sometimes the words get
in the way. Abraham says the word ego gets a bad rap....but whatever
word you choose to us, "that" which is source from
broader perspective now focus-ed on the leading edge....the bleeding edge,
having a physical experience....soothing is the key. Soothing and appreciation
of SELF and this now moment!!!!!....YES....that is the ticket! As I soothe
myself with thought and vibrate peace
and love I am a match for more to come to me and that is what I send out.
Here goes the emails to an old friend/Karate student of mine :
In a message dated 9/11/2009 9:11:52 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
Hi Sensei Judy,
I am not sure if you ate on your retreat or not....
But did you start watching "So You Think You Can Dance"?
In a message dated 9/15/2009 6:28:27 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
I’m glad you’re back-when you feel like it let me know all about it J
From: SenseiJudy@aol.com [mailto:SenseiJudy@aol.com]
Sent: Sunday, September 13, 2009 3:55 PM
Subject: Re: (no subject)
Arrived this afternoon.
It was good!
I'll be sure to record next weeks show!
Here's the link:
I'll be happy to talk about it to you.
Hummmmmmm.....where to start?
It felt like I was in prison....no joke....but looking back
and even going through it....it was funny, fun and exciting for me.
So many rules
I felt paranoia....jeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzz.....I hated
getting corrected......hahahaha...nobody ever "slaps my wrist"
: ) Not a slap...just a talking to.
HOWEVER again and again.....
I got at least 8 corrections about holding the meditation pose
(not moving for an hour after committing to a pose....no opening
eyes....no opening hands or legs)
rule violations....and stuff about other peoples discomfort.
Jeeeeezzzzzzzzz....I hated when the assistant teacher would
kneel down and whisper in my ear or have a talk with me
No talking for 10 days.
So if you were having a problem you had to talk to her...not your
roommate or whoever was causing "you". your discomfort.....
Girls can be so petty........damn!
No talking meaning....no eye contact, no hand signals....
Looking at your feet.
Not even holding a door for anyone....meditating all the time, as if you were alone.
They call this noble silence
as far as the food part goes....NO COFFEE
Just a piece of fruit and tea for dinner at 5PM
Two real meals a day....humus, salad and pita bread for lunch
or some other simple vegetarian meal
just oatmeal or cold cereal for breakfast.
Up at 4AM lights out at 10PM
10 to 12 hours of sitting in the stillness a day.
4 mandatory group sits in the meditation hall daily the other time you could be in your room.
3 of us in a room the size of a walk in closet.
Bunk beds that squeaked.
7 of us using one bathroom.
Edye....I loved every minute of it.
I doubt I'll ever do it again.....but for the first time in a very, very long
time I was out of my comfort zone totally and I surrendered to the process
and I found my inner connection and was able to line up with
and feel good about 99.9 % of the time.
That being said:
I'm glad I'm home.
I barely slept....hahahaha...well maybe two out of 10 nights.....but I had plenty of energy.
My first night home,
If you have a question.....ask away.
In a message dated 9/15/2009 7:24:41 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
My first reaction is “Oh My God”….I would be kicked out J
This was my fear too.
My second reaction is “Why”?....Why did you do this J
I saw the change in Shane. He did two of these in India.
My third reaction is “Dinner alone would send me over the edge”….
Every meal alone and you could hear the sound of your chewing. I really
digested my food and I rather enjoyed now having to socialize.
My fourth reaction is “I couldn't deal with just women”….I would end up punching one of them J
The girl in the bunk bed above me....hahahaha.....nah...she was okay....just somehow sad ....
her vibe,to me, felt like pushing against and I don't believe she slept either because she was always tossing and turning! She didn't weigh more than 99 pounds
but she was tough, strong and searching. At times I would almost feel guilty because,
for me the Vipassana experience was a process of turning my boat downstream and enjoying the ride! I had to see her at peace....but I did most of the time.
My fifth reaction is “Why”?...Why did you do this J
When Shane was here I watched him sit for an hour twice a day....I saw his lovely patient aurora and
how kind and helpful he was. He conducted a yoga workshop and taught yoga classes while he was here in June....his yoga
teaching got really good. Following his example, I decided to start with meditating for 10 minutes twice a day the first week
and then add 5 minutes every week till I could sit for an hour with out giving up my pose....I slowly got into it and started to believe that I could do a 10 day sit. All he would tell me about Vipassana meditation is that you have to focus on your breathe the area above your upper
lip and feel the air and sensations through your nostrils......so I did....I practiced this simple technique for 3 months. In the
meantime I signed up for a 10 day session....the earliest one was September....it was a long wait for me June till
September....while I was waiting, I bought a kneeling bench on line and I also pre-paved the entire experience. I visualized what it would be like the pit falls etc....
I researched other peoples blogs and Your tube for their experiences....I pre-paved my experience
so I wouldn't have resistance and make my self miserable....I wanted to know what I was getting in to.
My sixth reaction is “I want to hear more”….After the initial shock of your writings, I’m intrigued J
Shocked....hahaha....can you imagine how the people who didn't pre-pare felt....hahaha...some people
thought it was a free vacation of meditation....a retreat...hahahaha
They didn't realize it was meditation boot camp!
I wouldn't have wanted to be in their shoes....two of the women left. We started with 15 women...and dropped down to 13.
My seventh reaction is “I couldn't do this-could I?”…I like a challenge but question rather or not I have the balls J
If you got use to quiet-ing your mind ever day...you could do it. Goenka had us practice the nose breathing "anna-panna" sp? first for 3 days and then we began to learn by baby steps Vipassana type of meditation.
On the 5th day we were asked to sit with determination in the Meditation Hall for
3 sits a day. No moving. Eyes closed. Don't open your eyes, don't open your legs,
don't open your hands. Thoes willful sits for me were like
going into battle or being on stage. I had to use strong determination...for the
Meditation Hall sits I mostly did karate in my minds eye. Karate saved me....kata, warm-ups sit ups....you name it, in the minds eye. I could hold
the focus when my karate was near....but vipassana...no way....I was too new to do the technique...kind of like not even a Ro-Kyu (one green tip) yet....but
it was wonderful to do Karate in the minds eye....I could hold the focus and get through the hour...white knuckle it so to speak.
I would practice only the vipassana in my room. My plan was to take it home and keep going with it.
Now that I am home, Goenka wants you to
do two sits at home, one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening.....hahahaha....I am so excited because now
I know what I'm doing... and I will continue....they say it takes about a year before it will become a way of life....most
people fall off the wagon at the 6 month mark....I don't want that to happen to me....I love Vipassana.
1. So now I ask-what was it like to not speak for all those hours/days?
Refreshing to not have to be distracted by other people and go inward. I loved it.
Was it easier/harder than you thought?
Not talking....yup....I rather enjoyed that part.
Did you not speak “at all” in those 10 days?
I spoke with the teacher just about every day...you could sign up for an interview. I loved having access to the teacher. She said I was welcome every do so I took full
advantage of my time with her. We spoke sometimes for more than five minutes
and then the assistant teacher was always "tapping me on the shoulder"...hahaha...so to speak. I was in their radar! (I became a little paranoid every time she would walk by me. She gave me at least 8 corrections through out. So you could talk to the assistant teacher when she spoke to you or anytime you had a problem...mostly I just said Thank you to her....no sense arguing!
2. What was up with the gals…..why do you say women can be petty (I know why in the real world-but not that world)
We had to sign up for a shower time. I choose 6:30AM....everybody was coming out of the meditation hall
on their way to breakfast and someone complained they didn't like using the outdoor port-a-potty in the dark
at that hour....geeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzz....just deal with it. ....I liked that hour so I could take a dump
with just me in the dormitory....hahahaha....they were all sitting in the meditation hall and I was alone in the dormitory bathroom , I could relax and not worry about making explosive noises....hahahaha..... it bothered me to give up that time slot but I did, I just moved my shower time up to 7:30AM and then....hahahaha..... I put ear plugs in my ears so I didn't
have to hear my self make potty noise....hahahaha...it worked.
3. Were there any men
The men had their own dormitory and dinning room.....there were 15 men.
4. What was the facility like-was it beautiful, awful, stark, etc.?
It's on 45 Acers in the woods of Georgia....breath taking woods and vistas.
The living accommodations were austere....no frills....sharing toilet...shower and everybody had roommates. This is a new site. For now the living quarters are cramped.
Clean though just not very roomy and you could hear the slightest noise at all times
...I mean you could hear every single itty bitty sound....hahahaha....
except when the air conditioner went on every 30 minutes or so ....they kept the thermostat at 74 degrees....burrrrrrrr! I was fortunate that the two women I roomed
with choose to sit all day in the meditation hall so on the times when we were permitted to use our rooms to meditate (all but 3 hours a day), I had the room to myself. This was a big plus. I got really lucky, I had serious, determined roomates.
5. What did you find to be the most rewarding part of the experience?
I was delighted to have a female teacher/role model....she sat like a living, breathing Madonna. She is an older woman
with white hair and so graceful and ethereal....she is soft spoken and delightful to talk with.
For me, a karate teacher in a mostly male environment for the last 30 years, At last a "high ranking" female role model ..... she moved like a ninja with poise and grace....I will never forget her.
6. What did you find to be the most worthless part of the experience?
One sit was two hours....I was so angry. That was excruciating...I had to take a walk or rather a limping walk in the
woods after that one....I had to over come my anger and fear that I was damaging my knees because
initially...the fear engulfed me .....I thought the pain was a sign of damage to them and at age 62, I already have knee issues, when actually...it's all vibration
and the next day I was fine!
7. Looking back now you loved it….but while you were in the throws what were you thinking?
The Abraham stuff saved me that and karate in the minds eye...I just kept asking myself..."What do I like about this?"....that
thought kept soothing me and I found my way to appreciation and a pure vibration
and then without resistance I would surrender to the now experience
I even enjoyed the sleepless nights....I kept relaxing into the moment.....it was all good.
8. What you could not wait to get home to (besides Sensei Barnhart and your bed)?
He is so sweet. He drove me to the Jesup and picked me up afterward....a 4 and 1/2 hour trip
one way. He's a sweetheart. I bent his ear on the way home. It felt so good to see him again
but I didn't get homesick during the sit....I stayed in the moment....it was like one big long day! It was good.