It has been incredibly hard for me to understand the full implications of how much recovery is necessary to live symptom free from the concussion. After another relapse, I felt an urgency to get out of the city before my condition worsened again.
On January 20th, I began my second session of Vipassana, a 10-day silent meditation course near Montebello, Québec. All our immediate needs are tended to- two meals and a tea break with ample amounts of delicious food and clean accommodation. We are there to focus solely on our practice. In a nutshell, the technique itself is simple- we feel sensations on our bodies which are a manifestation of our experiences so by becoming more aware of these sensations, we have a buffer to gauge and respond to what they manifest as, rather than to simply react. An example, irritation could be a quick-fire way to a snappy reaction but after some practice, you’re more attuned to what’s happening in your body, realize that you are starting to feel something, that it relates to that irritation feeling you get when your body tenses up in a certain way, you can then accept it and act how you desire to. It’s like a superpower.
View from the dining hall. Beautiful trails as well.
On the surface, it seems pleasant enough. My first experience three years ago felt euphoric while this time felt like hard, hard work. There’s no outlet of expression so we feel everything- the good, the bad, the mundane and when Day 6 came along, I knew I had gone slightly crazy. Lying in bed, “this is how they break you,” had been on repeat in my mind. The bell had rung for us to head into another hour long session but before I went, I looked into a mirror and realized how dead my eyes looked. Things started going uphill after I accepted the state I was in and the refinement of my practice felt like it finally started, as if the training had finally begun.
The two main things I took away from the meditation retreat were to work diligently, thoroughly and systematically, and that I need to accept my current state before I can work fully on what’s to follow.
There are Vipassana centres internationally which are run solely on volunteers and donations however no one is forced to pay if they do not desire to. I believe that’s a good enough testament to something worth trying, especially if one wants to give meditation a fair trial.
The concussion symptoms still exist but have subsided at least 40 percent. It has been 84 days.