Vipassana Day 0: I lost my only pair of slippers
I was the first to arrive at the Yangon Joti Center in the morning. Almost two hours later, I met another student. She was actually on the same flight with me to Yangon, but I did not see her. She’s an old student of Vipassana, not religious, but very serious about this meditation course. My roommate, from the US, arrived in the afternoon, after I spent a visit to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. The room was basic – we had to buy our own toilet paper, and our beds were just made of a piece of wooden board.
At 5 p.m., every one gathered at the dining hall and had our first dinner together. After that, we would have to stop any sort of communication. Oddly, I could not find my slippers after the dinner. I waited there until every student had left, still my flip flops could not be found. I had to walk back bare foot. It’s painful. I felt every sand touching my soles, small or big, sharp or round. Someone offered to lend me their sandals, I refused. I was that type of person who is really meticulous about the things I own and wear – I don’t like wearing other peoples clothes or shoes or anything. But it’s only hurting more so that I had to give in. A server gave me her green sandals – it’s better than walking barefoot in the darkness.
The servers put up a big board that writes, “if you took someone else’s slippers by mistake, please return them to here. ” But no one did, the entire night! All the servers were looking out for my slippers and I was scanning everyone’s feet, but no luck. Where are they? It’s such a mystery. We had our first meditation session that evening. I could not help but thinking about my slippers the whole time. Where could they be now? So they just disappeared into the void? Such a magical place! This was probably the first thing I learned at the center – accept the anicca, go with the flow when needed and do not be too attached to certain things, in this case, my slippers!
After the session, I was not able to walk for a few minutes. I tried to stand up, but immediately I fell on the ground – my legs were numb and throbbing. I just had the thought that I must be crazy to have come all the way to here for this retreat.
Also published on Medium.