Vipassana Meditation Course: Part 7

Day 10: People

On the last day we are finally allowed to talk again. After 10:00AM we can once again speak to the people we’ve been living with for the past nine days. I run into my roommate and her friend and we exchange a few words. She doesn’t speak English very well so the words are few, but she introduces me to another woman in the course.

This woman tells me that I had a very calm energy around me throughout the course. The next woman I meet tells me the same thing. It think this is one of the few wonderful places in the world where you can comment on a person’s aura without a second thought. I also don’t think they’re wrong.

I realized after the first few days that I was very calm in this environment. Sure, I was slightly annoyed sometimes, but my typical feelings of fear, worry, and anxiety were mostly absent. Today, though, they are back in force.

It’s like I forgot how to talk to people. I have to relearn how to introduce myself, start a conversation, join a conversation, etc. By 10:30AM I am completely exhausted. And starving. It’s like being able to interact with other people instantly drained all of my energy. I scarf down some lunch then collapse into bed to sleep until the next group meditation session.

People exhaust me. That’s what I’ve learned from this meditation course.


Day 11: Lost

I have finally come down from the mountains. I have access to internet once again, and one of the first things I learn is that I booked my bus ticket for the wrong month. My plan was to bus to Warsaw, where I would catch an overnight bus to Riga. Now it’s not so clear.

I arrive at the central station in Warsaw, where my overnight bus was originally scheduled to leave from, hoping to find an office for the bus company (or any bus company) that will sell me an overnight bus ticket to Riga. There are no bus ticket offices at the central station in Warsaw. Apparently, most busses do not leave from the central station. They leave from the station I had just passed on my way to the central station.

I spend the next two hours walking in circles around the central railway station in Warsaw trying to figure out how to get to the bus station. I feel like the stupidest person alive. Who gets lost in a train station? Apparently, I do.

I tried buying a train ticket, but the machine only accepts credit cards with a PIN number. Our card does not have a PIN number that I am aware of.

I manage to purchase a metro ticket, but cannot for the life of me figure out where the metro is.

I try to ask a woman at a ticket counter, but she just stares at me disdainfully over her magazine and says something angry in Polish. While I’m trying to communicate my distress to her, a beggar interrupts me to ask for money. I tell him I don’t have any extra money to give.

A few minutes later, as I wander frantically, tears welling up in my eyes, the same beggar again asks me for money. I snap.


Of course, I immediately apologized, but the damage has been done. One more sankara created, I suppose.

I manage to find some free wifi and send a desperate email to Patrick. He responds immediately with a sweet pep talk. He tells me to find a hotel for the night and just catch a bus in the morning. With his affirming words in mind I step out into the Warsaw night air. I buy some food at a 24 hour grocer and manage to tag along behind another traveler to a hostel for the night. I pay my 50 Zlotys for a bed, and after a shower, a cup of tea, and a Skype call with Patrick I am feeling 100% better.

I purchase a bus ticket for the next morning online and fall asleep.

The next morning I walk the hour-long trek to the bus station, not daring to attempt Warsaw’s public transportation again. My feet are blistered, but I make it to the bus on time and settle in for the long journey.

I’m glad I did this course. I’m glad I traveled on my own for a little tiny bit. I’m glad I learned more about meditation.

I’m also glad it’s all over.


If you are interested in joining a meditation course of your own, you can find more information as well as locations and schedules here.




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