It is easy to write about wonderful uplifting experiences, which were so many during my stay on dhamma land, while those that are not as comfortable takes more focus to write about.
Some difficulties during my time with Vipassana, never really got resolved. I had pending questions, which disappeared when I sat in the presence of an experienced teacher. Then, in the solitude of a young mind in training, those questions came back, ever as strong.
One of these questions was about which kind of partner would be suitable for a dedicated meditator.
After I left the center, some of the men I got involved with strongly criticized my practice. It was called “overmeditating,” “not spiritual enough,” “wrong practice,” and some just got purely jealous of my alone time with myself…. even to the point of following me one day, to see if I was having a secret love affair. Another, due to his strong spiritual dedication (attractive,) self-proclaimed himself as ambition-less (unattractive.) These were clearly not the right men to be with, but that I had to find out by going through the process. This did, however accentuate my notion that once you open this tiger’s mouth and live a lifestyle of spiritual values, it is better to find someone to share your time with who does the same.
I longed for guidance from a teacher about real life practical stuff. A few attempts at finding answers were met with the same, perhaps oversimplified, explanations that discomfort that comes into our field of experience are saṅkhāras, coming to awareness to be cleared.
From a spiritual perspective and based on this ultimate understanding, there are no wrong choices in life. If we go through whatever life provides us with, and if we do so with grace, we move towards liberation.
From a self-improvement/empowerment point of view, we repeat our traumas and addictions, until we find courage to face them, create boundaries and show them the other way. Somewhere these two meet, but as far as everyday life is concerned, there is a strong discernment and separation to be made in how we approach our spiritual development and how we approach the practicalities of life…… or is there?
I longed for someone to tell me to choose people, friends work, life, based on similar values, be strongly discerning, rather than view life as a game of clearing out saṅkhāras.
I longed for teachers, Western teachers, male AND female who have not sacrificed their western lifestyle for the sake of the practice… although living an Eastern lifestyle for a while is super fun, I must confess. More so, I longed for a suitable platform to approach these teachers.
Each course starts with a little initiation of taking refuge in the triple gem:
- The Buddha, the fully enlightened one, or as I see it, the inner wisdom.
- The Dhamma, the teaching of the Buddha, the guidelines for practice, or the natural order as taught by the Buddha.
- The Sangha, those who have walked the path of Dhamma before you, the elders if you may.
Even today I am a bit unclear about the Sangha of the Vipassana organization. I felt disappointment for having to divide my mentors for spiritual practice and everyday life challenges.
Now, there was this really sweet Indian female teacher. I loved listening to her stories. One day she called me and decided to write a letter to one of the younger male, unmarried, teachers. I can’t remember what was written, but I signed both her and my name at the bottom, as requested by her. Was she trying to set me up!? However inappropriate, the intention was honorable, but really I just needed someone mature and open enough to have an open honest dialogue with.
Yet, sometimes the teaching comes in different ways, as stated at the ending of the movie, “Kama Sutra” by Mira Nair: “Knowing love, I will allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and take everything that comes, with great courage. As Rasa (her teacher) would say to me: ‘Life is right in any case.'”