This will be 10 days of no talking or communicating with the outside world. No internet, no Macbook or iPhone, no books and no writing materials. The only person I’l can speak to will be the Vipassana course teacher during two half-hour periods of the day.
The only items I’ll have with me at the meditation centre in the small town of Gambang, Malaysia (5 hours east of Kuala Lumpur) will be basic clothing and unscented toiletries.
Why I wanted to meditate
I first heard about this Vipassana course in Toronto from a Thai friend before I started my trip four months ago. I felt connected to the idea of being with myself and only myself for 10 days.
After all, if I couldn’t handle being alone with my thoughts for 10 days, how could I live with myself for the rest of my life?
Interestingly, this meditation course was the only thing I planned ahead for during this trip. All my other plans have been made 2-3 days (or a week, max) at a time. This timing of this meditation class has turned out to be appropriate. Since entering Malaysia over two weeks ago, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been feeling myself.
Running out of/losing zen
For the first time in four months of travel, I’ve felt cranky. I’m not as radiant, calm or laid-back as I’ve have been in the months before. My resilience and joy has dropped. In instances where I normally would laughed, smiled or just accepted the situation, I’ve felt annoyed. I’ve been annoyed at everything from the weather, the guesthouse losing my favourite blue towel, to being scowled at a few times by Chinese locals when I tell them I don’t speak much Chinese.
Even my downtime of taking a ‘vacation from travel’ last week in Kuala Lumpur, followed by more downtime in Singapore, wasn’t enough to resuscitate my best-self.
Dealing with uncertainty
It would be easy to blame my strange state on the daily rain, or leaving beautiful Koh Tao, Thailand which I was in love with. Both these reasons could superficially sound sensible, but deep down inside I know these are not true reasons for my ill-at-ease.
It’s my perception that’s changed, and if my perception of external settings hasn’t been positive, it also means the perception of myself hasn’t been as well as it could be either.
It could be the quiet anxiety that’s been growing inside me as the one-year anniversary since I left my corporate day job is creeping up on April 1 and the strangeness of not having something certain planned for after that one year I initially gave myself.
I have a gut feeling the one year mark coming up in a week won’t be the end of my ‘time-off’, but a milestone marking the start of the ‘next’ part of my journey, a part which requires a leap of thought, creativity and ingenuity.
I still haven’t defined what I’ll do next in terms of work/career/income. While I’m excited to see what happens next, I’m also secretly scared of the uncertainty. The anxiety, worry, anticipation of pain feel similar to what I experienced over a year ago when I knew I had to summon the courage to make a big change.
I don’t know what insights I will have during, or after, I meditate, but I’m looking forward to watching my thoughts and feelings unfold in the next 10 days of silence.
See you on the other side on April 4th. In the meantime, please subscribe for email updates or RSS updates to stay in touch. I appreciate your support :)
>> Have you had experience with Vipassana meditation before? How did you feel during and afterwards?