by Shayne Larango
Things were not good with me, but little did I know they were about to get worse. Something was pulling me from a self-destructive relationship with my job. I had started wearing flip-flops to my corporate office, I developed an eye twitch, and my blood pressure was rising. Every day, I felt as though I was walking underwater against the current. But instead of taking all the pills my doctor had recommended, I started seeing an acupuncturist who gently suggested I try meditation.
So I quit my job and signed up for a ten-day vipassana retreat. Ah, ten days of solitude. Ten days of silence. Ten days to freedom.
As I tapped the heels of my bare feet together in the meditation hall, I knew things would get better. I was shoeless and jobless, but not hopeless. Not yet, because I was learning how to meditate.
Vipassana means seeing things as they really are. I thought I wanted to see things as they really are more than anything else in the world. I thought the ten-day vipassana retreat would immediately calm my mind, center my soul, open my eyes, and enable me to move on with my life. It never ceases to amaze me how wrong I can be.
Excerpted from the Spring 2013 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly, available on newsstands and by subscription.
Shayne Larango is a personal consultant and coach. She practices at the Dallas Meditation Center.
Illustration by Kim Scafuro