Serving at Vipassana is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. I spent 33 days as a Course Manager at the South East Vipassana Center In Georgia. I meditated up to 7 hours a day and had so many things come up during this intense surgery on my mind.
Yet I had to stay calm and collected while I remained the main point of contact for over 40 women and worked with a team of 10-12 other servers which mainly cooked all the delicious food for the meditators.
Serving in the kitchen at a 10-Day Vipassana Course
When you serve in the kitchen, you meditate three hours a day(which is also a lot), and you gain the wonderful support of all the other kitchen servers.
Most of them slept in cabins with each other and OMG no Phones.
Course Managing at a 10 Day Vipassana Course
As a course manager, I didn’t have that support group of the servers in the kitchen. They grew close as they worked together day in and day out to feed over 100 people. It’s understandable.
My service was a bit different, I grew close with 40 women in silence, I knew only their names, but somehow it was like I knew more, I felt their energy, I resonated with their ballads. I felt their sorrow, and I sent them love and compassion while dealing with my own demons.
I felt so alone, yet so grateful to make those women smile even for a moment as I offered them a toothbrush with as much compassion as possible.
We became grateful for the littlest of things.
We lived with no phones, no contact, and only the humming of the birds and chirping the bugs for the first time since our birth from a mother’s womb.
The servers in the kitchen inadvertently separated me as an outsider through their inside jokes, late night hangs, and separate tasks. They too had their inner battles and mountains to climb for 10 days.
But on the 9th day, when those 40 women thanked me, I found solace in the loneliness. I found peace in knowing that I played a part nestled so tightly to their spirits. Their faces became tattoos in my heart. And their tears ran like rivers through my veins.
I wanted nothing more than to do it again, and again. To walk that path as more and more women bathed in the Ganges of life.
Writing & Reading at Vipassana Brought me Joy
Without my journal, I may not have made it through. I wrote poems that broke through my spells of fear, anger, or inner turmoil. My feelings felt distant among the sea of compassion for the other women who were experiencing some of the most intense moments of their life.
There was no me. There was no my. There was no I.
There was only this collective feeling of all emotion, and extreme happiness in knowing that we all experience the same basic trials, tribulations, and moments of joy.
I was able to study ancient texts like the Edicts of Ashoka through the collections of texts stored in the kitchen at the Southeast Vipassana Center. The strange prose made me laugh and cry all at the same time, as I sipped my mint tea while the center slept and wrote freely.
Mountains, I seek refuge, take me back,
Welcome me with sweet lavender and lilac.
Speak to me great wonders. I long to hear your voice.
I beg for your silent voice,
What I know now, no one else can, and when I fall into my mind.
Time begins to bend.
There is no person except my own to walk through these eyes.
I walk alone in constant harmony of rebirth.
Everyone has a road to walk down
An ocean to sink, swim or drown,
But when we find the safe and sound
Kindness begins to resound,
Spreading like wildfire,
Making hearts glow so that others may know
the beauty peace and harmony
& light candles as they go.