Yesterday presented a turning point in my retreat. I had been feeling down under, lugubrious, wasted, I presume as a result of the July 4th ordeal. My adrenals were shot.
So I rested, and waited, and meditated. And watched my tricky mind make up stories, and ponder imponderables. A difficult passage. I was up against the impossible, and didn’t see a way through.
Then, yesterday morning, during my first of three daily meditations, I felt the whole imponderable mess as a powerful emotional blockage in my solar plexus. Really felt it. Felt my way into it. Allowed it to fully be. (Have you ever actually seen the “solar plexus”? It’s an enormous branching array of nerves, like Grand Central, for the human nervous system.)
And, as I expected, that surrender, almost immediately, allowed the feeling to move. Five minutes later, I endured one of my rare, but unmistakable, cleansing reactions, the entire contents of my bowels releasing into the toilet.
From then on, I could feel a quickening. My energy had reignited, and started to return.
I decided to do my second of three forty-minute Vipassana meditations in the temple here. This is something I did in various temples in Thailand, India and Nepal a few months ago. Only once in each temple however, as I seemed to prefer the privacy of my room.
But this time was different. This time, in this temple, I found myself immediately surrendering to its extraordinarily light, pure, steady energy field, one which held me, stabilized me, to the point where I could have sat there for a much longer than usual.
Afterwards, marveling, I took a few pictures. Here’s the view from my seat on the floor.
Here’s a gorgeous thangka created by a local artist in the sangha . . .
Most thangkas are painted. This one is made of tiny glass beads!
On my way back to my little “yurt” for lunch I saw a flash of blue on the road in front of me. Oh wow! Butterfly, symbol of transformation! And not just any butterfly, but Blue Ulysses Butterfly.
Here’s what it looks like. Unfortunately, though it fluttered around me and up in the nearby forest edge for many minutes, with me fumbling to take it’s picture and failing to get close enough — and then later, again walking the same road, there it was again, this time stopping for me to get a good look, only three feet away, its wings slowly spreading in glory . . . but when I fumbled for my iphone it flew away . . .
The perils of the path. Ulysses. Hummm. I googled “symbolism for Ulysses” and came upon this post, which oddly, I read in full. Once I came to the end I realized why. According to the author a massive conjunction of Ulysses-related asteroids in Cancer/Leo began last year and ends, with all of them in Leo, this month, July 2013. (That post was written in 2008).
Leo, ruled by the Sun, is the sign, for me, that has been besieged during my recent ordeal. And notice the name, “solar plexus” the sun’s intricate network of nerves, seat of personal power.
I need to recognize the 4th of July ordeal as part of an ongoing odyssey, one with many temptations along the way, all of which augur very strong experiences that ultimately, prove to be illusory. After all, what I want, like Ulysses, is to go home. His journey took 20 years. And mine? Here’s an interesting post from Oliver Sacks, who has just turned 80 years old.