Day 2 (Are we eating the same food?)


What is the sound of the meditation room (or “Dhamma Hall” as they called it in Igatpuri)? Burping and farting mostly, with some coughing, sneezing and smaller helpings of unidentifiable cracking or wheezing. I am finally able to concentrate mostly on my breathing, but interrupted often by the massive amounts of flatulence in the hall.

Today I am supposed to further refine my concentration by focusing on a small triangle defined by the top of my nose and extending to the two corners of my mouth. I am supposed to notice the flow of air within the nostrils. I watch this for hours (and hours) and by about 4 in the afternoon I start to feel that the inside of my nose is all tingly and feeling a little numb. I am worried that this will interfere with my ability to feel the air inside and that I am a doing something wrong, perhaps forcing too much air back and forth and that I have caused some odd muscle twitching that will impede my progress. At least the throbbing and shooting pain in my back has now transformed to just regular pain. On the other hand, all of this cross-legged sitting is starting to do a number on my knees, the right one in particular.

On a side note, I have finally understood something that has long confused me about meditators. In the past I never understood (if the goal of meditation is a kind of tranquil calm and relaxation) why meditators would drink tea which has caffeine in it. I realize with this practice that a mind that can focus is of utmost importance, and caffeine is a big help in sharpening the mind. Mystery solved.

At that evening’s DVD discourse entitled (surprise) “Vipassana 10 Day Meditation Course: Day 2”, I am thrilled to learn that the odd feeling in my nose is exactly what they were looking for and a sign that I am becoming aware of subtler sensations. For some reason I find total elation in this and am able to think of this as the very rational, scientific, experience based technique that Goenka tells us this is. Goenka starts to explain the reason for the conditioning we are going through, with the goal being to train the mind to notice ever subtler sensations within the body. He gives us a little preview of day three telling us that we will further restrict the area of study to the trapezoid defined by the corners of the mouth up to the bottom of the nostrils. I can’t wait.