WHO IS THE FALSE SELF?

“When a brother perceives himself as sick, he is perceiving himself not as whole.”

– A Course in Miracles

The decision to be the author of my own story means that I must pay attention to who is writing the script. Is it the person who is trying to survive or is it the person choosing to live? For me, the difference is that one is making choices referring to the past and the latter is open to something new.

Close to two years ago I left the conventional medical system for the second time after my lumpectomy. The last bit of information I got was that cancer cells were found in one of my lymph nodes. I’ve solely relied on my inner barometer to gauge my wellbeing since then. I am choosing to live rather than being a survivor. This is no easy feat when my mind projects illusions and entices me to believe in them.

Discomfort is an opportunity for a course correction. Studying A Course In Miracles is teaching me that. My sole intention to share my interpretation of what I am learning is to encode it. Writing about what I’m practicing helps to create new circuits in my brain to reinforce how I want to live.

A Course In Miracles teaches us that we were created to co-create in the “image and likeness” of Source. We were given a mind to extend the love of that which we are made of. Yet we have such difficulties directing it to ourselves and unto others. That is how we became attached to the mind that creates our suffering.

In the boundless freedom to create, we created a mind that identifies only with itself- the false self. The ego mind separated from the unalterable nature of Source to serve its own identity. Its survival depends on us believing in its projections. The projections are based on comparisons because it sees itself apart from everything else. Comparisons lead to judgement, judgement leads to anger, anger leads to pain and the cycle of suffering affirms itself. This is the misperception that the ego miscreated to preserve its role as protector.

Ego refers to the past and chooses the best option for the present. It expands on what has worked for us and tries to protect us from what’s hurt us. This is how it attempts to secure a future but it’s based on the illusion that we need protection. Our ego takes the lead role in the story it writes. Until we recognize who is writing the story we can not change the script.

To heal is to correct the perception that I am broken. To heal is to be certain of who I am. To heal is to redirect my mind to love and reside in our infinite nature.

The greatest obstacle in my life became the greatest opportunity to know myself. To end the conflict with myself, I must recognize when my ego is obscuring my perception to believe in it. I’ve been practicing by paying attention to how I see others. My perception and cues from my feelings tell me if I’m offline or aligned with the divine. It takes a great amount of awareness but that is why it is a practice!

As an artist, I realize why I love to paint. It’s because I love my creations as an extension of Source. My heart informs my hands and my creation informs my mind of my true origin- there I find peace.

PS: My simple understanding of what I am learning in ACM is serving me. I have included Dr. Wapnick’s video to offer a broader view.

LESSON: AWARENESS IS KEY FOR SELF REALIZATION. PAY ATTENTION TO CUES!

“Creatrix” painting by Maasa- More info on http://www.maasa.ca

The Break up

Covid had paralyzed the world by the time I decided to carve a piece of me out. I rewired my mindset which was hard set against any kind of medical intervention up until then. I was able to do so by giving value to everything I did up until that point. No, I wasn’t able to dissolve my tumour but I’d found the exact cause of my cancer and became a more authentic version of myself along the way.

Did I have to starve myself on grapes for 33 days, do the hard core Cold Sheet Treatment, undergo garlic enemas, endure Vipassana, write forgiveness letters, eat raw food, drink wheatgrass, pummel handfuls of herbs and supplements, take cold showers, wrap myself in castor oil, surrender my business and revisit every trauma I’ve had in my life only to cut out the problem after 7 months? Absolutely!

Even amidst the greatest challenge of my life, my new way of living lights up my soul. From that light I navigated my way. Healing came from the journey itself and it wasn’t just about Lump. I was no longer the same person I was before, it was evident in how I perceived life. Cancer sparked my spirit and revealed the sacredness of life. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it as long as I’m being true to myself. I paid attention to cues that came from a greater knowing and that’s how I chose to heal.

Hospitals had emptied in preparation for the pandemic to hit full throttle. Normal living became restricted and the “New Normal” became the norm. Faces disappeared behind masks, schools and businesses were shut down, and we were told to distance ourselves from everybody to stay “safe”. “Safety” became the slogan for every new rule and restriction.

I kept the virus from Wuhan on the outskirts of my periphery. My experience taught me that the thoughts that fill my head shapes my reality. It was imperative to keep my mindspace in a state that supported my wellbeing. The world went topsy turvy, so did my plan for surgery. I heard no word from the surgeons office so, I took it as a sign that it was not yet time to part ways with Lump.

I directed my focus to study German New Medicine. I marvelled, learning about the genius mechanism which makes up our biological system. Understanding that the body is always healing even when symptoms feel quite the opposite, reinforced trust in my body. My job was to assist it with this new understanding- to make sure I didn’t get hung up on the storyline that caused my body to do what it did. It was empowering to not be afraid of my tumour.

On April 20, 2020, In a particularly deep meditation I lovingly cut ties with my lump. It was a conscious uncoupling after an intense relationship which revealed aspects of myself that I now cherish. My heart was so vastly open- abundant with gratitude for the gifts that I’d received. I felt such a deep sense of peace in claiming this goodbye. I asked for a clear sign that my proclamation was heard by Supreme Intelligence.

I hadn’t received one call in regards to my surgery in 6 weeks. Sensing that my meditation was over I slowly opened my eyes- in that exact moment my phone rang. It was the surgeons office informing me that my surgery would be on April 27th. Stunned by the instant confirmation I wept in gratitude.

LESSON: THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS

COMMUNING WITH SOURCE

I heard explicit instructions to do up my jacket and tighten my helmet just before the awful crunching sound. Simultaneously, I shot into the sky like a cannon ball and then I was suspended in space. There was an extended pause granted to me to receive my next instruction “Tuck your chin in and roll.” I obeyed, hit the pavement and expertly rolled until coming to a stop on the other side of the highway.

A woman was screaming from where I could not tell. The impact left me somewhere between my body and my bike. I had a clear sense of myself outside the constraints of my physical form. If I’m not in my body, what AM I? Then again the voice, “Get off the highway now“.

I felt a sense of urgency as I inhabited my body and willed it to move. It was a busy time of day and at any moment a car could come speeding around the corner. I dragged myself to the side of the road and collapsed in a heap. The crash happened right in front of my parents’ house which was perched next to the highway. My mom was next to me instantly and screaming hysterically.

What happened?... Where did that voice come from?

A man shouted, “Someone call an ambulance!” I rolled my head toward the voice and saw the back wheel of my motorbike wedged beneath the hood of a car and my seat torqued up vertically. That’s how I was catapulted into spontaneous flight and that’s how I communed with Source.

I never did find out what kind of structural damage resulted from that accident. I refused the ambulance ride and sought solace in my little cabin by the lake instead. Instinctively I knew that I would manage the damage thanks to the mystery voice coaching me through that epic crash landing.

I’ve had many logically unexplainable events that have cemented my faith in God, the Divine, Universal Intelligence, Energy, Spirit, Source whatever you may want to call it. Those experiences literally blew my limited mind into the vast expanse that created it. Knowing that I’m connected to something sacred and omnipotent nudges me to move with life rather than against it.

There is a life force- I’ve seen it with my own eyes high as a kite on LSD. I even have a witness who saw it with me! We were looking at a tree awestruck by the brilliance of multitudes of colors travelling from the earth and through the tree, beyond its framework and scattering into infinite space. This flow was ever abundant, replenishing, circulating, interacting and responding to everything- responding to us witnessing it.

There must be a cause behind that flow… How does a blade of grass that can easily be ripped out of the earth break through concrete? What gives it its gusto to fulfill its’ complete expression no matter what it’s pressing up against? There must be something supremely powerful that’s supporting its becoming. Like the blade of grass we too must have that support to bust through the hard stuff. Maybe we just need to trust that its there to activate it.

I don’t think we can deny that there was definitely a beginning to existence. There had to be an almighty cause fused with creative genius to make manifest everything. If something is created, wouldn’t there be intelligence with an imagination to form it into being? What if we are all wired to commune with this intelligence because we are the byproduct of that same creation process?…

Maybe the common denominator for everything is like a radio frequency. When we are tuned into it we can live beyond the limitations of the mind. We can express closer to our true nature which broadens our playing field exponentially. But, it’s important to know that it is a co-creation process because we can’t do it alone.

These are the kind of thoughts I’ve been having as of late. Like where did the unwavering ability to accept cancer as a quest of self development come from? How did I know I was going to be ok? That’s the glory and anomaly of having faith. It gives you the superpower to trust what the mind can not and that’s where I think help comes from. Mind tries to make sense of everything but what happens when it can’t? I think it short circuits and creates static in our radio frequency. The noise takes over and we feel lost until we find ways to dial ourselves back in. I think getting cancer was just like being catapulted into the sky. My mind didn’t know what hit it and got knocked aside while the master system took over the reins.

Quantum physics explains the manifest world as various frequencies of energy. Quarks are the smallest particles of matter and even the space between them is made of energy. What they discovered is that how we think, feel and believe has a direct effect on how energy behaves.

Since energy can’t be destroyed what ignited all of creation is still in effect. It’s always moving, changing and creating. It’s constantly flowing through us and responding to how we are being- just like what I witnessed with the tree. When we pay attention to it we commune with it. That relationship shapes the life we are living. One way to steward the co-creation is with prayer.

The bike accident left me with chronic back pain which distanced the”voice” that spared my life. My back went out regularly, causing lengthy bouts of excruciating pain. During one of the worst episodes, Da handed me the book “Sermon On the Mount” by Emmet Fox and said, ” You’ve tried everything else, start praying.” Fox wrote, “The great law of the universe is just this- that what you think in your mind you will produce in your experience.” The book decoded Christ’s message in a way that dissolved my resistance and judgement towards Christianity. It humbled me into prayer. I spoke the Lord’s Prayer with reverence while contemplating the true meaning of each of the 7 clauses.

This is Fox’s explanation of the Lord’s Prayer: “The Great Prayer is a compact formula for the development of the soul. It is designed with the utmost care for the specific purpose; so that those who use it regularly, with understanding, will experience a real change of soul. Every word of every line was chosen with the purest of intentions to dial us in. The prayer is all encompassing and covers everything. I spoke the words as true. I focused on prayer for 2 days and the pain vanished for good.

LESSON: “SPACE IS NOT EMPTY, IT IS FULL…THE UNIVERSE IS NOT SEPARATE FROM THE COSMIC SEA OF ENERGY”-DAVID BOHM

The crash that instilled my faith.

Vipassana- Part 3

SITTING WITH DEATH

I used to pride myself for being Multitasker Extraordinaire- a Go Get Er Done Er kinda gal thriving on achievements. Like a Pac Man, I swallowed adversities whole with my eyes on the prize always. Digesting it properly was not an option because it was not efficient. I sidestepped my vulnerabilities and presented the good side with an exclamation mark. The question marks were left unattended.

Vipassana was the gateway- an invitation to get intimate with the unattended.

On the third day, I sat with death. It started with sharp, stabbing pains between my ribs near my lump. Someone told me that cancer is like having PTSD, with every new symptom of “abnormal” the mind goes to the worst-case scenario. Like a confirmation reminding you that there is an end and it might come sooner than later.

The pain I felt was significant. I tried to lasso my breath but couldn’t catch it. The sharp dagger in my chest dove deeper pressing against where I didn’t want to go. My body constricted, my heart raced. What if this is really serious? What if it metastasized into my lungs? Is this it? Maybe I came here to learn how to die? 

Fear penetrated my very essence and froze me in place. My mind wrote, edited and recited my own eulogy. A full blown panic attack exploded beneath the shell of my quiet seat. What would happen to my only child? How would my life partner of 20 years survive without me being his constant? How will I be remembered?…

I really don’t know how I managed to sit through that 90 min of hell. Perhaps it was a primal instinct of survival…to just hang on. I left the meditation Hall debilitated and collapsed into a shaking heap in my room. 15 minutes later I was back in the hall where Beast was waiting.

When babies are left to cry it out they eventually give up and stop crying. That’s what happened for the remainder of the afternoon meditations. I just gave in and let my mind shake, rattle and roll. I discovered a sliver of space between the escalating pain and my reaction to it. I struggled to come up for air there. I faced my greatest fear which was that my faith was misplaced….that the very making of me was a farce. Was I wrong and ignorant? Had I let cancer spread everywhere because I chose to believe in myself?

What sprung from the dark side was the urgency to face the truth. I needed certainly which meant I had to have a look inside. It became clear to me that the “not knowing” was the seed that fragmented the very structure of me. Was I riddled with cancer or had my healing practices helped at all? I hadn’t seen my doctor, oncologist or had any kind of scan for 5 months. I held fast to my conviction that everything that I was doing so diligently was healing me. The underbelly of my certainty was the epicenter of my fear. The trepidation of being wrong diverted me from facing facts. That was the real reason I hadn’t checked myself.

Ding! Gut check! This scary realization was the gift I received in those excruciating hours I sat with death. I committed to booking a diagnostic scan upon my return but first I had to survive the rest of Vipassana.

THE FRIENDS AND ENEMIES OF MEDITATION

There was a new notice on the bulletin board that described the friends and foes of meditation. As I read through the enemies list “Obsessive Scepticism” jumped out. Simultaneously, I heard a defensive voice in my head say “Oh no, you’re very open. You’re not skeptical at all!”. As I clung to scenarios where my optimism shined, I saw with blatant clarity that in regards to healing my optimist held hands with a rigid skeptic .

After my first and only appointment with the Oncologist then the Surgeon, I completely shut the door on conventional medicine. I poured every ounce of energy into researching alternative and holistic approaches to healing. I was very quick to be skeptical of any ideas or beliefs that challenged my own. Heck, I was skeptical of pretty much anything and anyone that didn’t align with how I wanted to shape my reality.

My initial feeling was one of dread but then it quickly shifted as I realized that the very awareness of the skeptic in me was a step in the right direction. Perhaps it was the effect of Vipassana that I was able to see the program that I was running. Being stuck in any which way of thinking shielded me from being receptive to potentially very important information. Being fixed on any kind of program may have inhibited not only my healing but my evolution. Wow, what a breakthrough….

Looking at the list again I was utterly humbled. I’d been in bed with the enemy without even knowing it. I realized what a trickster mind can be. It veils the scary stuff, the ugly stuff and disguises them as noble qualities. I was amazed that I didn’t immediately go into self-sabotage mode with this new awareness. Awareness… it’s on the list as my friend! Thank Christ! I stood there and burned both lists into my brain.

5 FRIENDS OF MEDITATION:                        

FAITH                                                                

EFFORT                                                              

AWARENESS                                                     

CONCENTRATION                                            

WISDOM                                                            

5 ENEMIES OF MEDITATION:

CRAVING

AVERSION

AGITATION

OBSESSIVE SCEPTICISM/ DOUBT

MENTAL/PHYSICAL SLUGGISHNESS

LESSON: “WE DON’T LIVE LONGER WHEN WE TRY NOT TO DIE. WE LIVE LONGER WHEN WE’RE TOO BUSY LIVING”

-Mathew McConaughey

Vipassana – Part 2

Vipassana means to see things as they really are. It is believed that the Buddha himself developed Vipassana meditation to end human suffering. This ancient practice has stood the test of time by continuing to attract modern mankind for the very same reasons it did centuries ago.

Liberation is a state of mind. Vipassana is the practice of purifying the mind by accepting things as they are. In observing what IS with an equanimous mind we are no longer self-sabotaged. We become the witness rather than the afflicted, thereby accessing the possibility of reaching  the height of our human potential. Imagine holding the key to peace, love, and harmony in a world that is riddled with so much pain and suffering.

The only truth is impermanence, which is reflected in the law of nature. All of creation ebbs and flows with the law of change. Yet our pain springs from reacting to the inevitable pendulum that swings from one spectrum of experience to another.

We want to keep what brings us joy even though it will eventually change. We don’t want to accept pain and misery yet it’s unavoidable. We push death away even though it is the only inescapable certainty in life. We want to avoid what hurts us and cling to what we can’t stand to lose. The dynamic of craving and aversion is the root of our hardships because we are pushing against the blueprint of creation.

Even though Vipassana is Buddha’s teaching, you don’t have to be a Buddhist to practice it.  It is non-sectarian and available to all. The quiet practice of observation allows us to identify reactive thoughts and feelings. Cravings and aversions create Sankharas – grooves in our path that trip us up or keep us stuck. If we do not become aware of the trenches we are in how can we ever get out? We would forever be wandering lost in the labyrinths of our own making.

In the Prairies, the day is born from the ground up, almost as if the sun was birthed from Earth. Hues of dazzling orange, red, purple, and pink streak against the bluest of blue skies. The brilliant rays of color reach out to caress mother in her sparkly snow blanket. Soaking in the luminous beauty, my heart cracked open and my eyes involuntarily watered. The ability to be emotionally moved by anything was a positive sign that I was healing.

9:00 AM The gong rang for the next round. I took my seat in my private room convinced that I could sit through 2 hours. Who was I kidding? Within minutes I was already squirming in my seat with an unbelievably itchy face.  My right shoulder started its dull, rhythmic throb sending electric shocks into the base of my skull. Like a drumbeat sounding in crescendo the pain magnified and my attention latched on like a blood-sucking leech.

I cracked my eyes open- only 15 min. had passed… then, a tidal wave of aversion swept over me. I slammed my eyes shut and focused ferociously on my flaring nostrils, breathing like a dragon. My mind became a sports commentator announcing the play by play of every breath. Breathing in…that’s good, just take a nice deep breath, now let it out…no, no do it smoooooth and let it all out before you take the next breath in….don’t try so hard to breath….just relax…Am I doing this right? Fuck… Feeling defeated I considered a nap. A full shut down…no one would ever know…

Beast came and set me straight. You are avoiding what you must face! Get on with it! Sit through it! Do it!

There was still about an hour left. I swore then and there that I would commit to sit through every meditation in the Dhamma Hall. No more escaping. I would do it as if my life depended on it. I could not exist in a linear timeline as it would only cause more suffering by aligning reality with the ticking of the clock. The “Are we there yet?” mentality had to go if I was going to survive 10 days. No matter what arose in my mind I would simply have to sit through it. I sparked my oath of commitment and made my way to the Hall to complete my meditation. 

An interesting occurrence transpired after that. In the hall I relaxed because there wasn’t any anticipation to go anywhere. Surrender greeted me as I let go. I leaned into discomfort and accepted agony. I sat with every shade of aversion and noticed that feelings came and went. I allowed myself to change positions if I could no longer stand it. I undulated with my experience and sat with all my distractions.

When my attention was fully cocooned in the cave of my nostrils I floated effortlessly on the surface of my breath. My sensations became acute. I felt the temperature variation between my inhalation and exhalation, that subtle difference in how much air passed through each nostril. The little hairs on my upper lip moved like seaweed in the ocean of my breath and carried me to the great emptiness in the space between thoughts. The gong teleported me back to the hall.

Outside, the boundaries were clearly marked and enclosed us from the great expanse of the prairies. Crisp snow cloaked the large field and I could hear the crunching steps of the meditators as they walked off their last sit.  They had already forged a pathway around the circumference of the field by the time that I got there. As I joined the quiet contemplators I couldn’t help but feel like another prisoner in line. Perhaps it was the confinement of space and the manner in which we all walked… Were we all prisoners of our habitual mindscape? Are we all imprisoned by our cravings and aversions?  Why are human beings predisposed to create our own suffering?

LESSON: “The only conversion involved in Vipassana is from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation. Real wisdom is recognizing and accepting that every experience is impermanent. With this insight you will not be overwhelmed by ups and downs.” – S.N. GOENKA

“Liberation”- Acrylic painting in progress by Maasa

Vipassana – Part 1

What if my mind takes me to a place I can’t come back from?

Standing in line waiting to register, I strained to recollect the mandatory agreements for enrollment.  Once it was my turn, the registrar took my information and reinforced what I was signing up for. I was to commit to the entire 10 days adhering to the 5 precepts without exception. I’d travelled 10 hours for my peace of mind- how ironic would it be if I’d lost it?

The 5 Precepts and the Questions In My Mind:

  1. Abstain from killing or harming any beingAren’t all creatures considered sentient beings? What about the flies and mosquitoes I’d intentionally killed…the animals I’d eaten?
  2. Abstain from stealing- Is inspiration from someone else’s idea stealing?
  3. Abstain from sexual misconduct and all sexual activity during the course- What about after the course…if I want to keep practicing Vipassana meditation? Is vowing celibacy a necessary sacrifice on the road to enlightenment?
  4. Abstain from telling lies (this includes exaggerating)- I’ve exaggerated to make myself more interesting…call it a self-preservation tactic for a gal with a devaluation conflict. It will be a good practice to form an alliance with silence...
  5. Abstain from all intoxicants- Escape from reality with any substance went out the window the day I got my diagnosis. I’m golden. 

I had more questions but I set them aside. My stomach lunged into my throat as I signed the document sealing the deal.

We were to renounce all forms of prayers, talismans, religious objects, mantras, and devotional practices. Yoga and exercise were discouraged. Music, reading, writing and other forms of mind stimulants were prohibited. I reluctantly discarded the crutches I clung to when shit hits the fan…

To ensure that our environment was Vipassana friendly we were to wear modest clothes, and hand over our car keys along with all our devices. “Noble Silence” commenced and would continue for 9.5 of the 10 days. There would be no physical contact, no eye contact, no gestures, nor any form of communication between students. Men and women were segregated. Dread hit home like a punch in the gut. 

I was assigned room C125. Peering into the room, I was relieved to see that it was a single. Relief was replaced by guilt for playing the cancer card to attain my solitude. It was the first and only time that I’d mentioned the cellular dysfunction in my body to my advantage. I quickly recognized my old program and cancelled my guilt. I’d put myself first, something I was incapable of doing prior to life with my Lump. I was making progress.

Sitting still for 10 days with my insides in a Gordian Knot was risky. I was prepared for an encounter with the Beast- the creature of many faces residing in my mind. It grabs me by the scruff of the neck and drags me down to its formidable lair. In the past it had held me captive with my bones rattling until I could fathom my way back up to the surface.

DAY 1 THE OMG FACTOR

The morning gong went off at 4 am. I implemented daily skin brushing to my monastic life at Vipassana. I brushed right over Lump thus stimulating blood flow to the stagnant area that had become the focal point of my life. That morning it was the size of a walnut. Being hormonally influenced it had a life of its own. That meant it morphed in shape, size, and texture depending on what signals were firing in my body at any given time. Even though I knew it was a shapeshifter, the big days still did a number on me.

4:30 am: The gong rang again to initiate meditation. We were given the choice to sit in our rooms or to convene in Dhamma Hall. I left my room since the potential for giving up would be too easy in private. I carried the familiar heavy feeling fastened to the now largest version of my lump down the dark hallway.

My piece of real estate in the hall for the rest of the program was in the last row. I patted myself on the back for having the foresight to bring my buckwheat meditation cushion. I used it as a moldable base on top of 2 pillows. As a result my hips were higher than my knees in a cross-legged position on my metaphorical throne. Thankfully as an avid yogi, I knew just where to place my props to sit comfortably. Suffice it to say, I’d never sat still in one position for 2 hrs. so I had a back up kneeling stool and an arsenal of more props to get me through the first long sit of the day.             

Imagine this: You are naked and bound tightly against a tree. A mass of crawling, skipping, pinching insects traverse your bare skin. The tidal wave of millions of rapid, tripedal gaits overwhelms you but you can not escape. The struggle to get away is all consuming. That is the best comparison I can imagine to what I endured that morning.

The instruction given to us was simple. Use the Anapana breath to solely observe the air moving in and out of the nose. The focus is on the very limited space between the upper lip and the wings of the nostrils. The little triangular space was to be the entire focus of the meditation. We were to objectively feel the sensation of every breath without changing its natural flow. Thus, began the training of the untamed mind. The focus it entailed literally blew my mind.

My thoughts were like leaves wildly swirling in a storm. They lured me into the manifold vortex of internal babblings. The moment I recognized my attention was away with my thoughts, self sabotage would take over.

Get it together, focus on your breath. You’re wasting meditation time on stupid thoughts. Do it right! No, don’t give yourself a hard time… Just let them go… No judgement… Just observe… How long? How much longer? When’s the fucking gong going to go off? GOD, I AM IN AGONY!

No, no, hone the mind…equanimous mind! Just fucking breathe for fucksakes! I’m breathing too loud...Fuck this, fuck, fuck, fuck! Why the hell am I doing this? Why do I make things so hard on myself? Am I a masochist? What is wrong with me? Right…I have fucking cancer…cancer…cancer. 10 hours a day for 10 days…OMG I can’t do this… How long? How much longer? How long? How much longer?

Big exhale. Then the pain! My folded up legs felt like they were between vice grips, both feet throbbed, my neck and shoulders buckled under the dense weight of my head, and my hips cramped struggling to maintain my faltering body structure.

That first sit knocked me flat out. There was not a sliver of peace-only a wild and raving rebellion. Every moment was an eternal longing to abort. There was no clock in the room and the anticipation of the gong ringing to finish was unbearable. When it finally rang, it took the greatest self restraint not to cry out. I painfully unravelled my rigid body and dragged my defeated self into the dining hall for breakfast.

Who gives a rats ass about enlightenment? I’d happily run with ignorance into bliss. That’s where I was at whilst slowly consuming stewed prunes on porridge. Listening to the symphony of food munching around me, I convinced myself I would be just as dedicated if I sat through the next session in my room. Ignorance is surely wonderful. I filled my bowl with another round of deliciousness and savoured every bite.  It was a delectable intermission before my next round with the Beast.

LESSON: “The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”-  Pema Chödrön

Sitting to find a seat in myself.