Journey to Vipassana via Charlie Pickering
Well, I am finally getting around to writing about my 10 day silent meditation retreat, known as Vipassana in Yarra Valley outside Melbourne. I had been meaning to go since I came to Australia, nearly 5 years ago. But I kept putting it off as the thought of waking up to a gong at 4am, having no food after 11.30am and then 12 hours of meditation sounded something like an Army training camp or a cult! However, I kept hearing about it from people and friends who always ended up raving about the experience even the hard times they had there. So I finally plucked up the courage and booked my place for Wednesday 5 August.
As my time for Vipassana was approaching, I was alternating between feeling ok about it and getting a bit daunted at the prospect – couped up in meditation room for 12 hours, no food, no exercise, no TV– what was I thinking? I don’t need to do it, I am happy, whose hare-brained idea was this?
My lovely friend Lauren made me a vegie shepherd’s pie for my ‘last’ meal before the event. She also offered to help carry some of my gear, sleeping bag, pillows, blankets etc and come with me to Flinders Street Station. The day before my trip I was watching TV, the prospect of not being able to watch it for 10 whole days was bothering me, I like my comedies and movies! I mentioned to Lauren I was going to miss ‘The Weekly’ with Charlie Pickering, a favourite show on mine that would be on the next day. (Just google ‘Charlie Pickering’ if you don’t know it).
Then, all too soon, came the day of my journey, the beginning of my self-imposed ‘diet’ from normal life. I had a huge breakfast but I also packed a bag of food just in case I got hungry on the way there! As Lauren and I started to walk to the train station, I again told her, ‘I am sooo going to miss not watching the Charlie Pickering show!’ We get on the train and find a two seats facing backwards. Suddenly I noticed the person on the seat that was facing opposite me. Guess who was sitting there directly in front of me, playing with his mobile? It took me a few glances to make sure and then my head nearly collided with Lauren’s as she had been gob-smacked too! Yes, it was Charlie Pickering, the man himself, in person! I was about to do something, I am not sure what. ‘Aaahhhh, aaaaahhh and aaaahhhh’ I felt Lauren’s panic as she put her hand on me and said ‘If you do anything embarrassing I am not with you!’ That brought me a tiny bit down to earth, the train was full but also very quiet. What could I do? Wow! Charlie Pickering spent the whole time looking at his mobile with just quick glances through the window and then straight back to the mobile again. And then Charlie Pickering got off at Flinders Street Station and rushed off, beep beep, faster than the Road Runner!
What was my universe trying to tell me here? We can do better, ask and we can do better, think big, trust? What would be in store for me at Vipassana, what was I going to uncover in myself? Am I on the verge of discovering something? It seems the possibilities are limitless. Was this a sign of what was to come, whatever I chose to focus on, would appear before me? What was in store for me in the next 10 days?
More to come…