Many times in the children's courses I have explained to them that anything that is born, grows, blooms and then decays and dies. Pain came on its own, grew in intensity, reached its peak and then had to decay and die. I saw that happening through my experience.
In the beginning, on the first day I did think---maybe I am not worthy of a 30 day course, I should have gone for courses of shorter duration. I thought --I have learned everything that I can--worked with sincerity and now this? I felt like calling Raja and asking him to come over and take me away back to Singapore.
And then wisdom dawned.....let me put to practice what I have learned. My foot hurts when I walk--that was the truth of the moment. However, it did not prevent me from meditating when I was seated. So I focused on my respiration, calmed my agitated mind and focused on the sensations on my body without reacting to them. I found that whenever I rolled in the thoughts mentioned above, my mind got agitated and I was making things difficult for myself. I realized through experience that a calm and focused mind is a rested mind and a sensible mind that worked towards solutions.
Having thus calmed my mind, I worked towards getting to the Dhamma Hall every evening for the group sitting and discourse--it was difficult but not impossible. It was not impossible because my mind was calm and focused and could accept the reality as it presented itself. The discourses were so helpful. It was as if Goenkaji was speaking to me personally.
He said: Storms may come up from time to time...face them bravely... it could happen due to some deep seated negativity (sankhara) which would not have arisen if one had not worked seriously...so it is a good opportunity to clear oneself from the negativity.
Marananu sati: (awareness of death) what if death come in the next minute...would you want your mind to be in a state of agitation? This will lead to the next mind state which would be of a similar quality.
Another useful point made in his discourse was "chittanu passana" --Awareness of the mind, which is one part for the four establishments of Mindfulness. Very frequently my mind would engage in conversations with some people in my life. She says this..so I will say this.. then she will respond in this way and then I will say this in return and on and on.....!
I began to observe this pattern of conversations in my mind...whenever it occurred--I would just notice it---Oh here it is again! and my mind would quickly abandon it and return to the focus of respiration and sensations in my body.
It was a liberating experience--to cut the chatter in my mind, to break the generation of negative thoughts, to realize that everyone was suffering in their own way and every one was hurting others through their own ignorance. Some of the conversations in my mind were painful, yet I was indulging in them--I was doing that because of my own ignorance and what great attachment to this madness!
Another liberating experience was non-identification with whatever arose in the mind and body. Constant observation, noticing of the happenings in the mind and body paved the way for a gradual detachment or non-identification with them. I could watch my thoughts as they came up without getting involved with the contents; I could observe the pain, the swelling of my foot as it happened without getting perturbed or worried.
When I returned from Jaipur, I was transformed-- I knew I had changed. There were provocations for anger--but all that I felt was surprise--surprise that people could behave in a way that was different from my expectation. And compassion towards them...they don't know what they are doing! I felt lighter and happier than ever before.
My daughter Akanksha said that so beautifully: Amma is so happy ever since she returned from India.
Yes, it is not just an ordinary happiness one experiences when one returns to a family after a gap of one and half month..it is a happiness from deep within.... gratitude for being born in this era when I could receive the teaching in its purity, gratitude to the noble person who showed the way and people who preserved the tradition and brought it to us to learn and experience.