Day 6: Shiloh Pitt-Jolie
During the voluntary early morning session (4:30 - 6:30), I sit for almost 2 straight hours without getting up. It’s blissful mostly, free flowing sensations, and a lightness that makes me feel like I’m being held upright by the world, like I couldn’t fall to the left or right if I tried. Feel like I have empty spaces for hands.
The meditation after breakfast is the most volatile and painful so far. Intense visualizations of myself tied to a doghouse by a thick chain, frothing and thrashing around. I try to maintain equanimity and remember this too shall pass, but can’t stop the violent complaints. I worry that I’m losing the benefits of the previous days all at once.
I sign up for a post-lunch interview with the Bob.
Q. I’m frustrated. I get that I’m not supposed to crave pleasure or be averse to pain, but I can’t stop craving equanimity. The goal is increased equanimity, so I want it!
A.When you are watching a sunset, can you move a cloud? Focus all your mental effort on moving your attention around your body.
Q. Hey, how come we get instructions about awareness of head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, hips, and legs, with no mention of.. genitals? Shouldn’t we be very aware of our feelings there as part of an overall program of self-awareness via body-awareness?
A. Well, there are men and women in the hall, and you wouldn’t want everyone to get distracted thinking about women’s genitals..
Q. Is taking half an advil cheating? I’m in PAIN!
A. It’s a reaction to pain, so yes.
Q. Then why do we try to find the most comfortable cushion set up? Isn’t that the same thing? Why don’t we just sit on porcupines?
A. Remember, this is the Middle Path...
The evening teaching says every time we react to a sensation with neither craving or aversion, we release some of our stored up miseries. The subtler the sensations, the deeper the origin. Concentration and equanimity help you “get rid of old complexes.” Following the teaching I feel a hot sensation in my chest like I just gulped boiling water and wonder if it’s heartburn or a lifetime of anxiety escaping.
I spot Goat Boy brushing his retainer! HAHAHAH nice retainer! I’m elated.
By bedtime, I’m starting to sniff the end of this. Just 4 more days, 40 more hours of meditation. Resolve to work hard, take fewer naps.
I dream that I’m at a restaurant with my sister and dad. I remind my dad to pick up the check, and my sister tells me “good job.” My dad gets a phone call from Shiloh Pitt-Jolie. It turns out my dad met Shiloh at a movie, they kibitzed, and they’ve since developed a cute phone friendship. Outside the restaurant an Armenian man is selling a variety of baby animals. He dares me to snap the neck of a grown chicken because it’s old enough to eat. The blood squirts all over my face, and a small crowd applauds.
Edit the description to add:
- Historical context: the work's place in history, how it was received
- A summary of the work's overall themes (example: "Here, Byron evokes the classic struggle between virtue and temptation...")
- A description of the work's overall style and tone