I’m not a big fan of rules and tend to do what I think is right, which is not always what I’m told. This being said, the ten days of meditation include a code of discipline that prohibits contact with the outside world. As this is a pre-requisite for signing up for the course and an important factor in remaining focused, I will willingly oblige. Because of this you will not hear from me for a while as I slip into the zone.
I’m sorry to drop off the radar so soon into my trip but it is beyond necessary. I am including a daily blow by blow based on my experience last year so you may follow along with my meditative journey. Once day ten is complete I’ll show signs of life and we will be free to resume our little adventure.
Setting the Stage:
It’s the cusp of winter in the Blue Mountains and the Blackheath compound is made up of units reminiscent of cell blocks. My bedroom contains a low twin, wood framed bed and as the meditation hall is the warmest space on the grounds, it provides ample motivation to spend as much time there as possible. The alternative is to huddle inside my sleeping bag like a caterpillar poked with a stick.
Men and women are segregated and there are about 50 and 75 in attendance respectively (yes, that many people do sign up for this thing). The sleeping quarters and dining areas are separate and we sit on opposite sides of the meditation hall. The point of this experiment is certainly not to troll for dates, so all attempts to catch the eye of a handsome tree-hugger from across the steamy meditation space are out.
The meditation hall is enormous. There is a long strip of gray carpet running down the center, separating the room in half. Square, blue cushions are placed in symmetrical rows on either side with the men on the left and women on the right. Seats are assigned and my spot for the next ten days is on the inside, adjacent to the blue runway, three rows up from the double doors at the back of the room.
Meals are served in a dining hall with arguably, the most breathtaking panoramic view for kilometers. The serenity of a sunrise awakening the plush misty valley below imparts unadulterated inspiration to power through the morning meditation just to bear witness. Note: It’s likely if news of this spectacular view gets out, someone will want to rip down the center and erect a resort, so shhhhhh, let’s please keep this our secret.
Believe it or not, there are meditation police. The police-woman is thin, wears a burgundy beret, cocked slightly to the left, dark framed glasses and carries a clipboard. Very much like Santa, she keeps tabs on who’s been naughty, constantly scanning the room and scribbling notes. I eagerly anticipate the massive piles of gifts my good behavior is bound to earn me.