Sam Doidge

Continual improvement

10 Days of Silent Meditation

I wanted to write about a silent Vipassana meditation course I recently went on. When I was there, I couldn’t read or write, and had time to think about what I would write if I could.

I posted briefly on Instagram. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it brought some realisations, and the teaching technique that seems super-natural. Below are some thoughts / observations:

  • Your mind clears. I could shut my eyes, and there wouldn’t be a hundred thoughts rushing to fill the void. It was a blank canvas (or a void), waiting for me to turn my attention to whatever I wanted.

  • I didn’t have to conciously process and think about things (intellecutalising how I felt) i.e. weighing up the pros and cons of a situation. I had feelings come to me, and they gave me the answers I needed. (As a side note I have been reading a lot around the subconcious, and this is a great example of how it works. Your gut feeling is the result of your subconcious mind.)

  • Nature feels even more wonderous. There was a scene that I thought must have played out countless back into prehistory. The Sun broke through the clouds after around 2 days of near constant rain near the Welsh border. Many of us were out in the grounds, and I waas met with the image of nearly everyone stopped, basking in the Sun. It feels good on the skin, it is warming, and gave an interesting view as it highlighted the birdnests in the trees.

    When you are not focused on notifications, a computer screen, a book, these things have a heightened significance. Squirrels, and birds like-wise seem more fascinating. I also took up some archaeology; finding carvings on trees. This may also highlight the lack of stimulation - your mind looks for things. I could also fantasise about the future, but that didn’t seem terribly productive, and sort of against the ethos of living in the present. Back to the carvings: I could make out a date of one from 2014. Not too long ago, but when on the side of a tree it looks aged, and it is hard to make out others that looked older. There are signs telling people to respect the trees now.

  • People had scratched a tally of days completed in the toilet cubicles. I enviously looked at the 10 days completed. I say people, it was men because of the segregation. Reminded me of a prison, and that’s how it felt to both of us at the time I feel.

  • Being awoken to your roommate sleep talking, suprisingly coherent at one point. I had forgotten his Northern accent after days without talking. It was normally after I had moved in bed I heard it, so I thought it is linked to detecting someone else. Eerie. Apparently I sleeptalked too, without knowing. I don’t usually, so the conditions there may bring it out.

  • I had seen a tennis ball in the woodland near a central green on one of my walks. I felt I couldn’t have been the first to see it, or was I? Day 9, my desire to do something overcame me. Exercise was forbidden, I knew this. I dragged the ball out into the green, and picked it up. I knew very well that my water bottle resembeled a baseball bat in light of the ball. I throw the ball up, and swung hard with my water bottle. Someone was walking towards me, and they saw my body swing around as I missed, such was the force used. No, not like this. I pick it up again, with greater desire to get this done. I swing hard - smash. The metal water bottle rings out and recoils slightly in my hand. I see the green boy fly out into the green. I melt back into the woodland. Success.