Silence is the Language of the Heart
Last month I experienced my first Vipassana-Meditation-Island weekend. A friend had participated in such a weekend before and when I picked him up, he was smiling so happily. I could also feel a deep peace and stillness in him, which he told me later was supporting him in daily life. This made me so curious (and jealous) that I took the next opportunity to also take part in such a weekend, to see what spending the whole weekend with myself on an “island” does for me.
The island consists of a chair, a meditation cushion, a back jack, a mattress, blanket and pillow. In a group and in the presence of the spiritual teacher John David, I spent the whole weekend blindfolded on my “island”, completely with myself, without phone, book, music or any other distractions. It was an intense journey to myself, which I can warmly recommend to everybody. Apart from the energetic support of the group and the spiritual teacher, a loving helper team was present 24 hours a day and regularly brought me food and drink and guided me on the way to the toilet, so I could wear the blindfold the whole time which was a great help for the meditation.
I started with huge expectations and was very disappointed at the beginning, as I went through an enormous storm of thoughts during the first hours. After some time I felt really exhausted. After some more time the stream of thoughts became thinner, some gaps appeared and I started to see single thoughts repeating. Some came over and over again and in them I could see my main structures, which are the base for some of my patterns of behaviour ... emotions came up, also some body sensations, even pain and memories ... It’s amazing what can happen inside without any interaction or trigger from the outside!!
After some time I started to sense a deep silence, which seemed to get thicker and thicker. And in this profound stillness slowly and gently love started arising, very tender and sweet and a feeling of huge peace and joy, of such a rich quality, which I had never experienced before. I lost all sense of time … a strong moment was at the end, when I took my blindfold off, I felt so touched, still and content I could hardly speak.
I think everybody’s experience and journey during this weekend was unique, but somehow by the end everybody had fallen into a deep space. For me this weekend in silence on my own little “island” felt like a big loving wave, which took me deep inside of me. It was a great opportunity to learn to know myself more closely and honestly, and to understand how my mind and body operate.
I directly experienced that thoughts, emotions, body sensations and even pain are just passing by. There is something else in me, which is always still and untouched by all these sensations - full of peace, love and joy. This “something” often seems rather small and vulnerable, and at times gets overrun by my busy daily life, so I lose contact or hardly feel in touch with it.
I knew this before, but the direct experience makes this knowing more profound. My awareness is more clear and the longing stronger not to lose contact with this wonderful, wonderful something, which is actually ME. This deep and intimate meeting with myself at this Vipassana Island Weekend left in me enormous gratitude and a content smile on my face which I still feel inside.
Anna Moore, June 2019