So much stuff emerges into the light, when you’re sitting in darkness with your eyes closed! It’s amazing what can appear. I’d never be able to express everything I encountered (It would be of little interest…) But what I can say is that I felt there was a merging happening of India and Ireland. I know this was because many of the girls I met beforehand (men and women had separate areas in the compound) had also travelled to India. But it was also because I was bringing one of the most amazing experiences ‘things’ that travel gave me—which was the 10-day course—back home with me… to the Wicklow Mountains!
I can’t describe how strange it was for me to be sitting so near to Arklow, to my mam, my brother and sister… and to be ‘living like a monk’ for 3 days. It’s fine when you’re on the road… it’s almost expected and normal to do something like this when you’re travelling, especially if it’s India. But to emerge into such a deep world and a different way of temporarily living, whilst being so close to the town I grew up in, wouldn’t be considered so normal—not to those around me. But to me, it felt like home!
I remember from the 10-day last year that I felt so distant from my family—not only physically—but also spiritually, because they weren’t a part of those experiences. I remember to have had notions that if any of my family members were to see me living like a monk for 10 days, they wouldn’t recognize me as being the Niamh they know… But even though I felt so distant from my roots, I felt so close to India at the same time. I felt at home in India, simply because I was feeling so close to myself. Also I remember to have been blown-away by the fact that somehow the right people had come onto my path and had introduced me to that course, where I was to undergo a life-changing experience in a place I considered to be paradise on earth. Wouw… what a world!
Friday though, it was different… When we started going into silence I felt so close to India again as well as to myself, but now I ALSO felt close to my roots. I felt closer to Ireland than I’ve ever felt before. It’s hard to describe just how safe that can feel… After years and years of rejecting Ireland, rejecting the fact that it’s where I’m from, rejecting the way of life and searching for somewhere else that I can call home (just so I could be experiencing something different from what I’m ‘supposed’ to be experiencing) I've now found that I don’t need to travel the world to have life-changing experiences. I realize that I DO have roots in a place that can be considered paradise on earth—if that’s how I choose to perceive it. Just because we’re conditioned to believe that paradise is on the other end of the earth, doesn’t mean we can’t break away from that belief and choose to see paradise everywhere on earth—including the place where we’re born.
I can’t believe how necessary it actually WAS, and still IS, for me to feel I’m entitled to a sense of home and grounding, here on earth. I’m only realizing that I never felt it was something I needed in life. Nor did I feel it was something I deserved and therefore I’ve always forced myself to be in flying-mode instead of letting myself be in grounding-mode. Man it’s so freeing to actually be able to write this, and to actually MEAN it.
Anyhow, the 3 days of silence were revealing the say the least. There’s nothing more rewarding than embracing stuff that’s limiting our lives and working past those limits. It really was too short in many ways. On the other hand, because it was so short, time was so precious and I worked harder to get more established in the technique. And by Monday afternoon I realized that it was nearly as effective as the 10-day course. Hard work, but so rewarding. Yes!
Coming back home yesterday evening, was the strangest of things. Back at home in Arklow… At first I was terrified that life would disrupt me. The commotion, the talking, the unimportance of the conversations. Even the radio was too much. Man, I was still feeling so exposed, so sensitive, so close to my heart and anything from outside of myself initially felt to be a painful encounter, especially because that ‘anything’ wasn’t on the same wavelength. Thankfully the radio wasn’t on in the kitchen and the loud silence I’d been hearing in my head throughout the 3 days, was still there. And it’s actually still in my ear right now! Everything is so quiet… it’s so nice… I was wrecked though and kind of unbalanced. I was questioning reality and felt I was suddenly being ‘hit’ with life… I remember from the last time that it does take a few days to get back into the feel of communicating with an engaged mind. But because this was only 3 days, it won’t take as long to get into the swing of things. It’s happening already!
A part of me feels I started some business throughout this course and it’s not yet finished… It’s very odd. So I’ve enrolled myself for the next course that’s in August, down in the south west of Ireland (Ennis). And this one will be 10-days! I was delighted to leave yesterday, knowing that it wasn’t the end of my Vipassana experiences in Ireland. Until then, I’ll continue to practise, with more focus… and I reckon I can stretch my 2 daily sittings of 30 min, to an hour… Easy done!
What a change in appreciation and how deep life becomes. Love it, love it, love it!