When the bell rang at 4 am, I hadn’t slept much and I was already deprived of sleep from the previous days. I was furious, and hadn’t experienced anything like it for a long time. In the meditation hall I though, “Fuck this! I’m going back to my dorm to sleep!” So, I snuck out and went back to sleep the first 2 hours. I almost missed breakfast, which would have made my day worse yet, even though it seemed impossible. Back in the meditation hall, I was way too agitated to concentrate. It was impossible for me to focus, so I went outside and walked around.
At lunch I told one of the assistants that he had to move the coughing guy. Everyone had been awake for at least an hour because of him. He could have gone outside instead of keeping 15 people awake. The assistant told me that he understood my problem, and that he would talk to him. I later saw he got some medicine, which must have been some Ayurvedic herbs, since I was in Kerala, where Ayurveda was born and where all the hospitals are Ayurvedic.
Later that day I was standing next to the showers, by a doorway leading outside, and watching the palm trees, the grass and the sky, when the elder Indian guy, with a towel wrapped around his waist and his big belly bouncing around, walked into one of the showers while he moaned. I had heard him come towards the showers from the other end of the dorm; mmm…mmmm…cough…mmmm…mmm…mmm. It seemed like it was just a habit for him to moan every time he breathed out. The sight of him walking around with his big belly and a towel wrapped around his waist, combined with his complete ignorance about his own moaning, suddenly seemed so incredibly comical. I started laughing uncontrollably, although I tried to keep it silent. The laughing kept on for quite a long time.
Back in the meditation hall I felt more relieved. It seemed the laughing fits people had, and now also me, was a release of energy. When the burping guy sat down right behind me, I started to chuckle. The meditation started and not long after he started burping, and this brought me into another laughing fit. I didn’t want him to think I laughed at him, and I didn’t want to disturb anyone else, so I tried to keep it as quiet as I could. But it was hard, because it just kept coming. Whenever he burped or made a sound it suddenly just sounded so funny. What had made me, and more or less everyone else, agitated before, now made me laugh. He was really the greatest comedian of this place. Everyone was serious about meditation and sitting in silence. It could just as easily be seen as funny as it could be seen as annoying. It was just a matter of perspective. Sure, it was distracting, but only to the extend one would let it. It could just as easily be a practice on concentration. A thing I found admirable, was how he just did what he felt like. Most of us in this world are holding too much back out of fear of offending anyone, he probably did that as well, just in other ways. Of course there are degrees to how much is enough. But we can also be too afraid to do something that is considered annoying by other people, whether we are doing anything wrong or not. It’s all a matter of perception. No matter what, it gave me a lot of food for though.
Finally I was halfway and could start counting down. It seemed possible to make it now.
Eventually the laughing subsided and the agitation came back again…and then I laughed again…and became agitated…and laughed…and became agitated.
At some point I heard some strange noises behind me. I turned around and saw a guy with his eyes rolled back while he seemed to hyperventilate. I was a bit concerned that it was caused by too deep meditation, and I didn’t feel like getting to that point myself, because it didn’t look very pleasant.
In one of the breaks while I was sitting in my bed in the dorm, the guy who had been coughing came over to me and asked if I had a tablet he could borrow. It took me a while to register how absurd it was. Didn’t he have any clue what this was all about? Before I could stop myself, I replied, “No, they have it.” “Do you have a phone?” he continued. “No, they have it!” I answered. I was a bit annoyed that I had accidentally broken one of the rules (even though I’m strongly against rules, this was different, because I had volunteered to obey them for my own sake) but in the end I realized it made no difference to me what so ever. The experience and the things I learned wouldn’t have been any different if I hadn’t replied him, or if he hadn’t asked me. In other words, I didn’t lose or miss anything because of it, so I quickly found peace with it. Besides, not talking with people was not a problem for me at all. I didn’t need it, even though it would have been nice sometimes.
We had also begun the group sitting where you are supposed to sit still for an hour without moving or opening your eyes. This time I wanted to complete it while sitting cross-legged, which seemed harder because I always felt so much pain where my upper leg was lying on the other, and my feet would become numb. But with agonizing pain I was so happy and proud to complete it once again, but in a different sitting posture.