Vipassana Day 7: Ants In Bed
Woke up in the morning, I found out that I have bug bites everywhere on my legs. It’s annoyingly itchy. I got bitten during the days before, but not so many as now. I had the mosquito net up, and I saw no mosquito in the net. It’s getting quite frightening with the detailed thought of – maybe some other types of bugs?
Finally it’s noon break again, I inspected everywhere and found several ants in my bed – now I felt goosebumps. I reported to a server right away. She said to me, “just a few days more before it’s over, but remember, you cannot kill them. ”
Then I went to ask the teacher. The teacher said, “mosquito, bugs and ants, they are all living creatures. They live on your blood. They can’t live without our blood. It’s the ecosystem in nature. Just think of it as a blood offering. May Dhamma be with you.”
Blood offering made it sound so honorable and grandeur somehow – I had no choice anyways. I just hope these ants won’t come back on to my bed any more.
Today marked the first day that the new students were allowed to meditate in the Pagoda cells. Only old students were allowed there before, and I had been curious for days.
Inside the Pagoda were many small cells – like a jail cell, but each cell much smaller. A wooden door could be closed and locked from the inside of the cell. But there were several notes on the wall that the door should not be fully closed. There’s also a red light and two black hooks and some belts on the wall.
Later I asked the teacher, what is the difference between the Dhamma Hall and the Pagoda. The teacher played it down, “Dhamma Hall hosts a lot of people in the same room and you may get distracted. You can choose wherever you like to meditate.” I just thought the answer shouldn’t be this simple.
I slept less and less these days, but felt more energetic comparing to the first day I arrived here. While I was just wondering about this interesting phenomena, Goenkaji answered me in the TV recording at the evening discourse – how should we deal with abnormal sleep conditions these days.
He said, “we are becoming more and more sensitive every day. We should keep observing all the sensations before we go to bed, just like how we are meditating in the day. We should at the same time keep perfect equanimity for all these sensations, and be aware of Anicca (impermanence). ”
“You may fall asleep, or you may not fall asleep. But please don’t think it is insomnia if you cannot fall asleep. Just keep your awareness on all your sensations throughout the body and keep equanimity. Just observe. If you start to think it is insomnia, you’d get irritated and it is no good to having a good rest. When you keep observing peacefully, maintain perfect equanimity, even if you stay awake till morning, you can still get enough rest. ”
Mystically I got “insomnia” that same night. I was so awake that I could not fall asleep. Luckily I remembered what Goenkaji said.
I had sleeping problems for a long time before I came to attend this retreat. I could not easily fall asleep and I woke up feeling haggard that I was also doing work inefficiently. The harder to fall asleep, the more infuriated I got. It’s a viscious cycle.
Now I was feeling really tired physically, but my mind was wide awake. At around 1 or 2 am in the morning (I could not check time because we handed in our phones already), I started to feel sleepy and finally fell asleep.
But for the first time, I did not hear the gong strike in the morning.
Also published on Medium.