It’s great that here in Bali Silent Retreat, we are constantly being reminded to be mindful. In the lodge where we eat, posters of mindful eating are stuck every where. Eat not only with mindfulness, but also with gratitude to the earth as the provider of the food, the people involved, and the universe, we are told.
Lars, a Swede, gave us a meditation workshop after dinner. I had been attending the guided meditation every afternoon but found myself snoring within minutes, as the drone of the instructor’s voice and the afternoon heat was a catalyst to the lure of sleep. Yesterday as we came out if meditation (me out if my nap), I found my neighbor shivering and tearing. Initially, my instructor thought she was sort of having a release but soon, we realised it was more. Her body was totally paralysed and she couldn’t move, her skin so sensitive she didn’t want any contact. A woman, who claimed to be an energy expert diagnosed her as having energy blockage. The poor girl screamed and cry in agony and the owner of the resort was summoned. During dinner, we could still hear her screams, as incense were lit and prayer probably done.
When she appeared during dinner and this morning, all seemed well. I wanted to know what had happened but we were not allowed to talk, and it might appear rude to ask about this during the workshop in her presence.
Anyway, Lars spoke about the 3Rs of meditation – relax, release (the thoughts) , return (to your breaths). It’s okay to have your mind wander, but as you practise more, you will find that your awareness to your wandering mind be more frequent and you are able to get back to your breath earlier.
This morning, he took us on a mindfulness walk on a labyrinth. We were told to really connect with the earth with our feet. In the heat, I found myself getting impatient and kept looking towards the end, but one can’t really tell how long the journey in a labyrinth is as the circles intertwined. I had to keep reminding myself to focus. My body felt stiff initially until I found that if I clasped my hands behind my back, I am more relaxed. After half an hour in the labyrinth, we took a 30-minute mindfulness walk into the jungle, where mindfulness is critical if you don’t want to trip and fall.
This afternoon, I was delighted to find Lars taking us for Asana yoga and meditation. We did more breathing and savasana than actual stretching. Lars said savasana is the hardest to do as we want to have full body awareness. I thought I did well as I didn’t fall asleep.
For meditation, he guided us through a body scan, first right then left, followed by front and back. It was difficult to remain still as the flies were buzzing around me and I had to wave once in a while to shoo them away from my face. All this while, we were told to recite a mantra which we want to achieve – “I am a writer.” (Always in the present tense and positive).
For seated meditation, we recited five duplex of words with every in and out breath every ten minutes – in/out, deep/ slow, calm/ ease, smile/release, this moment / wonderful moment. And guess what, I didn’t sleep. My mind did wander as I recited but it was easy to return to the breath. I will make sure I practise this at home.
I must say I have achieved my objectives for this retreat – eat mindfully, sit mindfully abd walk mindfully. Now to transport the habit back to my everyday life.