“No talking. No reading. No writing. No thinking.” And with that, I am left alone in the forest for 12 hours of Vipassana meditation—on exactly the date of my fifth month away from home.
I am volunteering at an organic farm run by a former Buddhist monk, and so far I’ve found that living a simple life takes a lot of work.
The goal is to always be mindful—live in the present, be conscious of our effect on the earth, gain control of our thoughts and emotions.
I am really bad at all of this… which is why I think this might be really important for me to learn.
So I am eating vegetarian, doing yoga as the sun rises, sleeping under a mosquito net protected by more or less two walls, waking up to a view of gorgeous misty mountains, meditating each night by candlelight, and working on shutting off my brain and giving the worrying a rest.
(Oh, and there’s a little bit of gardening thrown in there somewhere.)
And while at first I was a bit judgmental of the hippie-ness of the other volunteers sharing the farm, now I am finding them some of the most interesting people of my whole trip. They are passionate, informed, self-aware, worldly, giving, and they are always working on improving themselves and everything around them. This is the perfect environment for growth.
When I am volunteering, I usually wear my glasses. This morning during silent breakfast I took them off to clean them on my shirt and everything looked clearer after. I think this farm is doing the same thing for my mind.