The Vipassana Blog:More Preparations

August 15, 2014
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Today is August 15  and now we are just days away from our Vipassana retreat that starts on August 26,2014.

We began our preparations in June 2014 and now it is time to re-cap what we have achieved so far.

Both Anila and I are now firmly established in our routine of getting up around 4 a.m. every morning. Sometime, when we stay up late at night, we get up a little later but never beyond 4:30 a.m. Our bodies are now trained to this routine. I have stopped reading the newspaper and browsing the internet in the washroom. As a result, I am done with body functions in just fifteen minute – a radical change from the 45 minutes or so I took just a couple of months back.

We practice meditation in the morning, just to make sure we are comfortable in doing so. We can sit still for 45 minutes to an hour without too much trouble. Legs are very stiff, and it takes a while to get out of the sitting posture. We have practised both sitting on a chair and on various kinds of meditation cushions. We finally figured out what works best for both of us. This is a small plastic stool, bought from the children,s section at IKEA, with a soft mini blanket on top. The chair is also good, but if I lean back it gets too comfortable and there is tendency to fall asleep.

We go to sleep around 10 p.m. and we are really drowsy by 8:00 p.m. Sometimes, we try to grab some sleep in the afternoon for an hour, but for me it is only doable on week-ends, not on working days.

We have switched to a largely vegetarian diet, we do eat eggs to get some proteins. We are experimenting with heavier lunch and lighter meals in the evening. I have become a fruit eater; I never ate much fruit before.

It is not easy to integrate as ashram life style into a daily working routine. There is always work stress and there are endless meetings at work plus the challenge of dealing with different kinds of people.

Dealing with social life is even harder. We get stressed out when there are too many social events back to back. Just eating richer party food for two or three days in a row is a challenge; the late nights involved with social events are a real challenge when we need to get up at 4:00 a.m. in the morning. But all our relatives know about our Vipassana plans and that helps a lot.

On the spiritual side, we are read Goenka’s writings as often as we can, to keep us motivated and on track. We are also reading other books on meditation and listen to spiritual music. Some of the sufi music on youtube is amazing.

We have cut down on news consumption. We only get e-paper now, and we just scan it for a few minutes every morning. I used to be a news junkie, keeping up with breaking news and following developments every few minutes on the internet, and on TV. Now, we hardly switch on the TV news; I still browse the internet too much and need to cut down some more.

Consuming less news has made us happier. Most news is negative anyway, and not much is actually relevant to our lives. However, it is very hard to kick a life long habit. My father was a journalist, and I grew up in a world of news stories. I wrote for a newspaper in India for quite a while but that was before the days of breaking news and the 24-hour news cycle.

 

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