And then frustration.

Days 5-7 were pretty much the same. And by same, I mean a major fucking struggle every single second. I didn’t understand. After reaching such a high in my meditation practice the day before, how could I go back to such gross pain? It was like the moment never happened.

Mentally, I felt strong. Sharp. Physically – my body writhed in pain. I went from subtle sensation to gross sensation, my mind tried to run. I tried to just accept it, but it was overwhelming. Where was the white light? The pain-free hour? The sheer bliss without even trying?

Hour, after hour. Minute after minute. I fought to stay present, fought to stay still, fought to calm my mind and just observe. I fought not to stand up and scream. Not to shoot dirty looks at the people around me who were so serene. So at peace with their body position, their stillness. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m new to this! I reminded myself it wasn’t a competition, and to surrender my ego. And to fight back the tears of frustration.

For four days. Four fucking days. To pass the time in between, I watched Earl the ant fight over a beetle, when his other ant pals wouldn’t share. I watched a slug slooooowly slide down the stairs and his little slug trail follow behind him. I watched Godzilla and its little brothers grasp the ceiling above my head. And I watched as the sweat fell down my forehead and passed my nose, and landed into my lap.

After a particularly intense session – I began to cry. I decided I would talk to the teacher, and ask how to move past this block. I couldn’t understand it, I needed answers. I needed help.

Of course, all he said was to just accept things and not to have craving or aversion to whatever came up. After our meeting, I returned to my room more frustrated than before. When I got to the door, there was a note informing me that meditation would be in a cell for the next 24 hours.

What. the. fuck.

Did they not realize it was nearly 100 degrees outside? And now, they wanted to put us in a small, four-walled room – without a fan, or a window? For up to 2.5 hours at a time? This was officially worse than prison. Talk about solitary confinement. But I decided it was mind over matter. I could do this. I could sit in a small cell, and tell my mind to focus. Right?

Well, no. The first 2.5 hours was hell. I tried to adjust my position, I thought I could take off my top and it would help – but what if the dhamma servers saw me? Would I get kicked out? I decided just to lift it up. Was big brother watching me? Surely, buddha would understand. I’m only human.

The next time was easier. It also was 6 p.m. so the sun had gone down enough that I didn’t want to strangle the person who put the note on my door. Only 4 more meditations and I’d be free of it. I could do it.

And I did. In fact, the small space was soothing for me. I had no one to compare myself against, or a fan to distract me. I didn’t worry about what pain I felt – or how much longer I had to remain in there. I just took it one moment, one sensation, one limb at a time. I had no ability to think any further ahead than the present. It was almost liberating. That is, until I was actually free.

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