I've made two new friends via Blogger who will be attending the March 10th group in Jesup for the Vipassana course. I'm so excited for them and realize the huge undertaking they are about to start. You go through so many emotions as the day approaches. Excitement at the prospect of devoting so much time to your personal spiritual path. Anxiety of the unknown. Fear because you realize what a huge undertaking it is and cannot help but wonder if you will be able to withstand the ten days.
No one knows how their course will end. The most important question I had to ask, seriously review, and answer before I left was: "Am I running away or is leaving truly the right choice?"
If I would have left after the first night, for me, it would have been running away. Although I knew a lot of my discomfort was coming from the process and I was reaching another peak, I also realized the amount of physical pain I was in was no longer allowing me to focus on the technique to continue the process started.
It was scary. I will not deny that. And it takes every single ounce of self-determination and will power you didn't realize you had, to not walk away. But even if you only make it a couple of days or all 10 days, everyone who has ever taken the course understands and respects you the same.
When you are sitting in that hall together and you know people are crying around you, in pain, and deep inside themselves, you feel a connection, a kinship, that never goes away. It's a connection at a soul level that removes all human interactions of judging who did more or who did it the best. The only thing that matters is dhamma. Everything else is unimportant and that is the point of understanding that you reach when you walk away. Regardless if it is 2 or 5 or 7 or 10 days. If you can reach that point of true understanding, then you are doing the right thing.
Good luck, Sangha! Good luck to my new sisters! I will be thinking of you each day and where you are at in your process. When you hear the bell, know that many have heard that bell just like you and have all come away better people as a result of it. I look forward to hearing about your experiences!
Look for deer tracks in the parking lot and racoon tracks on the women's trail near the top of the loop. There are signs of wildlife everywhere if you are just quiet and look. :)