Spying on monkey families, plotting how to provoke one of them to bite me – this was the best solution I could come up with for how to get out of my first 10-day meditation course in India with my dignity intact.
It was not an option just to get up and leave – I was not a quitter. But if I could just get a cute little grey baby monkey to bite me… Then I’d have a legitimate reason to leave, right?
It seems strange now to think I’d risk getting rabies just to get out of a meditation course, but that’s where I was at 13 years ago.
I’d never meditated or even done yoga before and there I was diving head first into one of the most difficult meditation programs ever!
Physical pain, hunger, living in a make-shift tent crammed next to 2 other ladies I didn’t know… And then on Day 4 onwards having to sit without moving for 1 hour straight, three times a day! It was torture.
But something deep inside me obviously knew that doing this was going to be worth it, probably a part of me that had done it in past lifetimes and already knew the great benefits.
By the end of the 10 days I’d found something so valuable that I’d been craving all my life but never knew existed. I’d had my first glimpse into naturally attained inner peace, and it was wonderful.
I say naturally attained because I’d found synthetic ways to achieve what I thought were nirvanic states before, but they were fleeting and left me feeling empty after.
At my second 10-day meditation course in Thailand a year later I was sailing through. “I got this, I’m a pro, nothing can touch me” – were thoughts going through my head.
That was, until Day 6.
On Day 6 at the end of the final evening sit I left the pagoda meditation hall feeling immortal. When I saw hoards of tiny ants on my sandals, I thought, “Ha! You can’t hurt me. I have attained equanimity and am impervious to pain.”
So I slipped on my sandals and slipped into a world of pain that I could not in fact handle.
Each little ant hated me and bit furiously into my flesh. They didn’t know I was the owner of the sandals they were on. Or what sandals were. They were just defending themselves.
And defend they did… Bite after stinging bite they inflicted vengeance on me. Some even burrowed their little heads into my leg.
These tiny creatures brought me to my knees and back into reality. Just because I had a balanced mind and was reaching deep states of meditation did not mean I could somehow bypass what happened in the physical world.
I went to my cot and cried and cried and cried. I felt like a failure, I felt defeated, I felt like I wanted to give up and never meditate again.
And then eventually as the pain wore off I slept.
The next day as the first gong sounded at 4am, I took a deep breath.
I made up my mind that I was going to stick with it and that day I had the most incredible meditation experience I’ve ever had – even to this day. It was indescribable.
It was the first time I experienced being one with Source and it changed my life.
What I hope these two tales from my early meditation course days have helped you see is this: That on the other side of our darkest times are our biggest breakthroughs.
We go through them as a sort of right of passage. Do you want what lies on the other side? Really?
Achieving greatness in life and living our truth requires dedication and determination. It requires getting back up when we’re knocked down and trying again.
Failure isn’t the end. It’s the beginning of the next attempt.
As you look back over 2017 and notice that you maybe didn’t accomplish everything you wanted, or you encountered some big setbacks and got off track, see it as an opportunity to try again.
An opportunity to try a new way, a different approach.
But do not do not do not let any of your dreams die. You feel them for a reason and they are attainable. The really valuable things in life are worth working for.
In love, light and truth,
Side note: I’m actually in the middle of my 8th 10-day meditation course right now, but thanks to Hootsuite I’m able to deliver this to you without even being there : ) Yay technology!
Twyla K is the owner of Soul Shine Healing & Coaching. She offers Clarity Sessions to help people who are tired of feeling stuck uncover their blocks, what they truly want, and get their soul sparkle for life back. Click Here to apply for a Clarity Session today!