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Enlightenment is Expensive

 

Dress your ego in deities and sacred geometry,

How many malas can you pray with at once?

Maybe your outside can convince your inside,

now you buy crystals instead of diamonds

 

 

 

 

-Opening of my 2017 publication ‘Trading Diamonds for Crystals’

Pre-Vipassana Terror

In four hours I am entering into my first ten day Vipassana meditation and the panic has begun!

I don’t like being uncomfortable. I hate cardio, I hate itchy sweaters and wherever I am is either too warm or too cold. I know I have plenty of work to do in the self-discipline/willpower/mental stamina department. If I have any opportunity to escape even mild inconvenience or irritance I will do so without hesitation! ‘Toughing it out’ is not my thing.
So what possessed me to sign up for ten days of silent meditation in the middle of winter in the frigid Blue Mountains of Australia? Up at four each morning, nine hours of sitting meditation per day, no reading, no writing, no technology, no eye contact and a conservative vegetarian diet. The website even refers to the quarters as ‘meditation cells’ not sure what kind of PR person approved that phrasing for the website…
Vipassana is also called ‘insight meditation’. I want to be challenged physically, mentally and forced inward to take a good, hard look at all that vile shit I have spent my entire life trying to repress and veneer. Hopefully chip away at that nice thick ego facade a little more. I am not surprised this processing has started even now, I am already questioning myself, criticising myself. Am I doing this just for my gross ‘spiritual resume’? Am I trying to avoid the reality of my new life (I should maybe mention I left my stable well-paid corporate gig last week and put all my possessions in storage yesterday, that is a whole other blog though).
I can be particularly unbearable when I haven’t had coffee or when I am hungry and cannot imagine how I will even get out of bed at 4am without the promise of a latte.
I will be cut off from every person I know for ten full days. I am spoiled to have relationships with the most beautiful people in this incarnation that anyone could ever ask for and not being able to reach out to them may be my biggest battle of all. That or the coffee…

Details for the centre I am attending can be found at http://www.bhumi.dhamma.org/

Spiritual Travel

Is it necessary to ‘eat, pray, love’ yourself around the globe?

The idea of going away to find yourself is romantic and age-old.  For me, this conjures up images of ashrams and jungles and relaxed, sun-damaged divorcee’s.  It used to make me think of gap years, Contiki tours and vomit-stained backpacks so I guess I’m getting older.  Can we really run away and find ourselves? We know that our true self lies within (and all that other bullshit people who spent 3 life-changing years in India tell us).  I cant help but feel like they want to keep us out to keep it pure, hoping the stories of violent dysentery will equate to at least one less white girl with henna waiting in line for darshan next spring.

Is my desire to go to India just my ego demanding some kind of grotesque spiritual brownie points?  Is it my desire to maintain the utmost respect and authenticity telling me to go to Peru to take Ayahuasca, or is it just pathetic hipster snobbery turning my nose up at taking it here in Australia? My theory is that spiritual travel might be like a long, drawn out psychedelic experience.  Things look different, the air smells different and things have a certain magic and that feeling of untapped potential. Travel, in general, can give you all of this and we never want to go home just like we never want to come down. Imprinting this awe into our psyche and taking home the unshakable memory of each day’s true potential might be what we need sometimes.  LSD reminds you how great clouds are and the gurus remind you what love is.  It is what you do with this knowledge that counts though, because we all need to go home and chances are there will be some abandoned baggage patiently awaiting your return.

 

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