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Disgusting and massive exotic bug in the shower. I’m naked, so I can’t smash it, but I can’t live with it in my shower, so I point the spout at it and supplement that with a cup and drop strategy. The bug puts up a fight. I hear vivid, tragic opera (not sure whether I am composing it or it’s some sort of memory, but it sounds very real). After about 10 minutes, I finally get it down the drain, and the track in my head changes to Bohemian Rhapsody: “Mamaaaaa, just killed a man...”

Frank stops me on the way to breakfast to tell me I have a message. Uh oh, who died. No no, it's just Lauren called and wanted me to know that she'd be picking me up. I've never felt so loved.

In the morning meditation I’m working through some issues with a close friend. He thinks a stranger equals a robot. Recently I watched his eery non-reaction to his grandma's death. I run through his closest relationships: me, his girlfriend, his family. Does he care about anything besides his own pleasure? IS HE A SOCIOPATH? He insists his worldview is 100% objectively correct, scoffs at diverging views...and yet he seems miserable. I hope this changes because I can’t help loving the guy - he’s just too funny!

For the last few minutes of the meditation, I lose touch with my body’s physical boundaries. How you end a meditation period has a major effect on your subsequent state of mind. Afterward I take a walk in the woods, taking in many visual stimuli at once, every leaf that moves, the little ravine. IT’S A LOT LIKE ACID GUYS. No one’s around. My mind feels unwarped, unbiased, full of surprise every moment. The existence of the world seems incredibly unlikely.

I begin to think of loved ones. My grandfather and his prostate come to mind. I start to well up and experience a couple little cry-heaves. I stop myself and think “come on, this feels a little forced”. Then 2 seconds later I experience a whoosh of pain / bliss and start to bawl, crying for the first time in 15 years, since my girlfriend dumped me in 7th grade (though technically it was mutual!).

I find a rock to sit on and meditate (nothing else to do). A couple minutes in I hear footsteps and think “I could open my eyes just in case this is a bear or a murderer or whatever, but since it’s 100% definitely another student who’s not going to bother me, I’ll just ignore it”. Then I hear my name: It’s Bob Cannon, the teacher. This is the first time I’ve seen him out on the grounds since the beginning of the retreat. He tells me it’s better to meditate indoors. He starts to walk away, trips on a root and almost falls.

Subsequent meditations are modest. Some bliss, some boredom. Still feeling the vice clamp feeling on my temples, and realizing that it’s probably not associated exclusively with my mom, and probably more of a locus of lots of tensions and irritations. It dissolves and comes back, dissolves and comes back. It starts snaking all over my face. I think I live with this pain all the time unconsciously, which is crazy given how intense it is. Wonder if it’s why I’m always depressed. Wonder if it will dissolve ever. Bet that will feel good.

I’m thrilled it’s day 9 and this bitch is over tomorrow. This is periodically blissful but not fun. It is really hard. It also seems to be well worth it. Still just want it to be over. If someone came to me and said “Surprise, you don’t get to leave tomorrow, we’re tacking on 6 more days” I would cut off his body parts. Probably would be a valuable experience..

I miss touching people. There is absolutely no touching! I would pay $300 to just go up to the old man Jack who looks like he’s in real bad shape and pat him on the back.

In bed, snaking sensations all over my face and sinuses. So excited it’s almost over, hard to fall asleep.

Dream: In a car with some girl friends. We pull over in a neighborhood because everyone has to pee. The girls knock on a random door to ask if they can use the bathroom, I decide to pee outside. I’m walking down the street looking for a secluded spot but the neighborhood is full of people. So I walk a ways. About 10 blonde, threatening teen punks roll up on bicycles behind me. One says, as they pass me: “I wonder if this guy has any methamphetamine.” I call up to them in a friendly way, “Sorry, I don’t have any”.

They laugh because they’re surprised I heard them. They ride a little further, and one says “That guy was really handsome.” I feel safe. Then another says “Yeah, let’s get him.” They turn around, chase me, get me to the ground and start pummelling me. I’m taking it all equanimously. They leave me there. Day turns to night. My girl friends have left without me. I wander into a random house, and the lady there happens to be an asian nurse. She dresses my wounds and as a bonus, plucks some ingrown hairs from my cheek. She looks at me (suddenly dressed in a stripperish bikini) and says “now what?” and I say, “I can’t, I love my woman..” She pulls away. I say “But wait! Maybe we can just masturbate together?...No good?”

CUT TO: I’m at a casino, trying to walk through it and get back to the nurse’s house (attached to the casino) to rest. But I can’t walk, all my movements are extremely slow. The casino chips in my pockets are metallic, and the casino has placed large magnets throughout the casino, forcing you to spend or lose your chips in order to move.

CUT TO: I’m telling a group of people, one of whom is Penelope Cruz, about the importance of the 7-iron chip shot. Penelope looks bored, and I call her / myself out. She says “No no, it’s probably just the language barrier.” I excuse myself and go upstairs to a computer and look up Penelope Cruz on some futuristic version of Netflix streaming. I click on a tab called “Sensual Fare,” and there are a bunch of selections that do not star Penelope. “Horrible interface,” I think. I click on an anime title and click “view back cover.” It’s a series of images that involve some creative fingering positions. I have this moment like “ohhh, THIS is my sexuality” and I nut in the dream....and in real life! Lifetime wet dream #2! Finally!

(230 pushups)

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