Sometimes you have to be alone,…

… to find out who you really are and what you really want in life.

And alone. I was. During the last 10 days. In a Vipassana meditation center. No wifi, no communication. Just sitting around doing nothing (but meditating). When I first heard about it in January everyone at the table (including me) couldn’t quite wrap their minds around the idea of doing “nothing”. For five days? Yes. For seven days? Maybe. But 10? That sounded like a challenge. And it had been. Especially since I already figured on the first day, that I wasn’t really interested in learning how to mediate (I reckon I am just not spiritual enough for that). But I liked the idea of being offline and alone with my thoughts. And I just haven’t trusted myself enough to manage that on my own. After one year of travelling I just wanted to see what thoughts would come up. But without wanting to spoiler: I didn’t find my inner peace or centered myself, cause I probably been quite balanced before that already. I also haven’t revealed any buried childhood memories like other people (claim to have) but I found some other things:

  1. Going offline is a weird thought. For all we knew, the world could have gone down within the next ten days and that scenario wasn’t that unrealistic since the message that Trump actually made it president was coming through just before we had to hand in our phones.
  2. Actually being offline was then quite relieving. Since mobile phones have been invented we can’t really be without them anymore (trust me, I tried). We installed this messenger and that app and before we know it we are running around looking on our phones all the time, walking into the next pole (or into another smombie -> smartphone zombie)… Where ever we are going, text messages and phone calls come with us. And then we feel stressed about answering right away, and that stresses the other person to answer right away as well. Or we don’t get any messages and stress about why no one is texting us… We can’t win… And I don’t say that I wanna be offline for good. I am just saying that it was a nice “holiday” the last ten days and I might need to force myself to be offline more often (but probably not for 10 days in a row).
  3. Cause being alone with my thoughts was quite nice. It brought back some focus. The internet (not just mobile phones) is distracting us way too easily. We were planning on doing something and then we are checking the news more often than they are actually updated or passing time on “fun” sites even if there is an actual funny posting once in a blue moon. So I hope I will be able to transfer some of that “focus” into real life.
  4. Since we hadn’t been allowed to talk, read, write or exercise I actually allowed myself to sleep without feeling guilty. The first day I slept right through the first meditation session cause I needed to block my roommates snoring with earplugs and hadn’t had heard the gong in the morning due to that. And since no one cared, I did that with most of the sessions we’d been allowed to meditate in our rooms (that’s when I figured that I wasn’t really interested in learning the technique). After two days I was finally starting to be less tired. And normally I would feel guilty for sleeping almost two days in a row even if that is just my body, taking the rest its needed.
  5. Without a watch we lose track of time. When I slept through the first meditation session and had a look on the clock in the bathroom, I thought it would be wrong cause it was saying 5:30am. So I went to bed again and was planning on fixing that later and as soon as I would know the actual time (There was a clock in the dining room I trusted since I compared that time when I still had my mobile with me). And it got even worse when I didn’t even know which weekday or date in general it would have been after day 4 or 5.
  6. My thoughts have usually been in english but once in a while and out of a sudden, I thought in german. So it is still there.
  7. I found out that once you are not talking to each other faces become just shapes and people are not interested in forming groups anymore. Someone from our group left on day 5 and I needed quite some time to figure out who (and that guy was in my dormitory^^). And then other people were changing their spots in the meditation hall and I thought they would have been gone as well. And while taking our meals, we were just sitting down somewhere. Maybe in the same spot than yesterday, maybe in a different one but most certainly not with our best mates.

So I guess I already knew who I am and what I want from life. I already knew that before I went in there. Cause for now, I finally managed to decide on a return flight and booked it today. In three days (Yes, I booked my flight three days in advance) I will leave Australia to set foot in Germany a day later and start a new job in January. And then I will see what the future will bring. I sure have hopes for what I would like to happen but if it comes that way I might just find out on the way. As always ;).

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