As I entered the 9th day, the penultimate day Vipassana Meditation…in actual fact it was the penultimate to the end of the offical course but as the 10th day of the course ends late in the evening we have another day before we leave…I was feeling very balanced and I now truly understood what was meant by being centred. What encounters were left for me to experience?
All through the course we had been sitting in our own designated spot in the same position for 10hrs a day. I had watched many people over the days add another meditation cushion to their place mat, trying to get comfortable and ‘cushion’ the pain. No matter how many cushions you sit on, it still feels like you are sitting on concrete or a piece of very hard wood.
Decision made that morning was I’m going to go without my small cushion on my meditation stool, that I had sat on all the previous days, in hope that it would ease my pain. It didn’t really matter whether it was there or not, my arse was in pain. The other reason was, that I was not in as much pain as I had been and I reckoned that the stool would be just as uncomfortable without the cushion.
I was right; the cushion made no difference but I was starting to feel way more comfortable sitting on it for an hour at a time. That’s what happens when you keep diligently working though your sankhara’s.
On one of the morning sessions I came out of the hall on my own. I was heading to my room to do some Vipassana practice. I put my feet into my shoes and as I turned to take a step onto the path I abruptly stopped and took one step back. There in front of my path
was a Green Tree snake sliding majestically across the tarmac right in front of me, minding it’s own business. All I could do was watch in awe! I have been living in Australia for over nine years and I’ve only ever seen four other snakes, one about 500 metres way, one about 100 metres away, two others on the road, all of them from either inside a building or a car. I’ve never been this close up to a wild snake before and it was beautiful. Knowing that Green Tree Snakes are not dangerous, and too be honest I don’t fear snakes, I just stood there memorised by this beautiful creature and the significance of its symbolism hadn’t eluded me either. Snakes symbolise transformation and new beginnings as they shed their full skin and transform many times in their life span. For me this gorgeous reptile was reminding me of my own transformation and the continual changes going on in my own human body…arising and passing. Anicca (imperminance)!
I mentioned to the manager that there had been a snake spotted that morning, just to be alert. As I went about the daily routine and practice. Later we all came out of the meditation hall for our few minutes break. Some people headed to their rooms, others for a walk, me I always do a few stretches, had some water and took some time to just ‘BE’ with nature. As I stood at the same spot I had seen the snake that morning I took in the view and the trees.
At that moment on the trunk of tree nearest me, there he/she was…the Green Tree Snake once more. About twenty five people had walked right past this tree, that was positioned just to the left and right outside of the meditation hall, and not one had noticed this beautiful creature pinned to the bark.
It was about one and half metres long and just sitting pretty. I went down the path to the manager and told her the snake was on the tree. We both headed back to the tree and just watched as the snake lifted it’s head up and look straight at us, moved it’s head froward slightly and flicked it’s tongue to smell and feel the air in front of it. It was at a very safe few mertres away from us. We were both mesmerised as it then decided to come down off the trunk and make it’s way into the long grass.
We followed it for a bit and then a few others realised we were watching something and guessed it was a snake as they asked the manager. About 8/9 people got to see that beautiful reptile make it’s way over ground to a safe haven. They witnessed their own symbol of transformation that day too.
The deep appreciation for this technique was growing for me day, by day!
Next Blog: Don’t Miss The Last Day of Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana (insight – seeing things as they really are) is a different experience for every individual, as we are all so unique and interpret the world around us and within us so differently. We have also had our own experiences in life that are unique to us. So this article is all about Mags Bell’s experience and self discovery through Vipassana.