As you can see on my blog page, I now have a countdown timer counting the days, hours, and minutes until I sign in for my first Vipassana meditation retreat. As the days approach, I am feeling less apprehension and more comfortable with sitting for extended periods. I am learning to listen to my body, first and foremost, during meditation. Each time I begin to engage my thoughts, I will return to my body to center me and help me re-focus. First, I return to my breath. I focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of my body: above my lip, into my nostrils, down my windpipe, into my lungs and diaphgram, and then back out again. Once my breathing has helped me release the thoughts, then I turn my attention to my body. Have I tensed up any muscles? I check my feet, legs, thighs, stomach, buttocks, chest, arms, hands, shoulders, and neck. Every time thoughts intrude, I return to my body.
Since my thoughts tend to intrude a lot, I've been spending a lot more time focusing on my body. At first this was annoying. The constant reminder that once again I have to return to my body because I have engaged my thoughts again. Now my 15-minute morning meditations just don't seem long enough anymore!
I have been struggling with back pain. Now I am working with it. I'm experimenting as I sit to find the position that is most comfortable, yet attentive, for an extended meditation period. My back pain has lessened. I also noticed that the more I focused on finding the right position for my back, the less I noticed the numbness creeping up my legs.
I am also looking forward to 10-days of uninterrupted introspection. No distractions. No responsibilities other than meditation, honoring the rules of conduct, and maintaining Noble Silence.
The past few months I have been reviewing everything about who I think I am and who I want to be and who I really am. The more I think about it, the more my head hurts and the more confused I get. The less I seem to know. The less confident I am.
I do not see this as a bad thing. I see this as progress.