Day 83- Nyepi the day of silence

I am not speaking today. Nyepi is a day of silence and meditation though it is well known fact that not everybody will be meditating all day. In the dry parts of Bali, where people depend upon rainfall for water, it is likely they will spend the day drinking palm wine. The roads are ruled by packs of dogs, free to wander. It is only the birds who have not been told about Nyepi. Or if they do know about it they just don’t care. Especially the roosters. I once met a man who said that one Nyepi he was playing the guitar when he got struck by lightening! But I’m not silent today out of fear, I enjoy the chance to just hold back on superfluous chatter and absent minded commentary. This is the first time in my life I have tried a whole day of silence. I actually really like it.

I spend the day meditating, doing yoga and reading about meditation. In my first meditation session, I simply stare at the water crashing up against the breakwall. I go upstairs into the attic to practice yoga and in savasana I have an epiphany about the flooded bathroom. The drain is blocked and two days of shower water covers the floor meaning anytime I want to go in there, I am standing in nearly ankle-high water. I realise it is time to bail out. I grab a bucket and start scooping all the water into the toilet. This works surprisingly well but I’m laughing hysterically at this situation. I’m bailing myself out of a bathroom. I feel like there is some underlying message in this for me. Am I sinking? Do I need to bail out of something in my life?

I am reading a free iBook called Introduction to Insight meditation. It is a short and simple guide to various Buddhist vipassana (insight) meditations. I enter the attic looking over the lotus pond. The lotuses have opened up for today like the thousand petalled lotus of my crown chakra which lets in the light of the universe. The meditation involves sweeping the attention over the entire body until it feels completely relaxed. I start at the head, paying particular attention to the face, and move down to the feet… When the mind wanders, the attention is brought back to the body to find presence. In complete stillness I resist the temptation to brush away the tiny ants tickling me as they crawl across my neck and back. Once the awareness is settled on the body and I am relaxed, I come to easy breath awareness. The best part is knowing that there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, but sit here and meditate. I gently guide my attention back to my body several times and after half an hour I feel my eyes open on their own. I don’t remember giving them that command but it happens and I accept it.

After lunch I practice the same meditation and another asana practice. By 5pm I am again reading when something unusual happens. I speak. I don’t say anything important or really anything I can even remember. I don’t even realise I have done it until afterwards. It isn’t surprising that I crack my silence, what is surprising is that I found it so easy up until that point. I guess when I am one of the only ones here actually practicing silence it makes it easy to forget. I scan the skies for lightning among the dark rain clouds and check that the bathroom hasn’t flooded again. It seems I am forgiven for breaking my silence. Just in case, I keep my mouth shut.

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