This post was written by one of our work trades and Queen Street Conversations organizers, Leslie! Leslie spent 10 days this past summer in meditation at the Ontario Vipassana Centre. In this post she shares what she learned from sitting still and breathing.
Experimenting in mind-matter
Did you ever wonder what it might be like to get up at 4 AM and sit directly on your ischial tuberosities (those are your sitting bones 🙂 ) for ten or more hours… for ten days in a row? Me neither – but this past August I did happen to find out, and am here to report back on exactly how that kind of thing feels. It’s tough and it hurts, but wouldn’t you know, it’s worth the struggle.
The precise details of this experiment in living monastically can be found on the website for the Ontario Vipassana Centre – a fully-functioning retreat and service space in the tradition of S.N. Goenka, offering the opportunity to learn about and practice Dhamma and the meditation techniques of Anapana and Vipassana. For me, a school teacher in summer-mode, the schedule was punishing. The noble silence was astounding. And with seven hours of self-directed meditation time and three and a half hours of group sitting, the mental work, boredom and solitude ran the gamut from insufferable to incredible. With a mere six-week course of introductory meditation at Queen Street Yoga under my belt, I pretty much dove into the deep end after one quick toe-dip.
So what exactly happens when a run-of-the-mill yogi (in the modern, Western, I “do” yoga kind of way) gets serious about exploring the reality of their mind-matter conscious experience?