We made it to the house in very good time. He had prepared a set of several reading materials he wanted to pass along to me. Explaining each item in some detail, he said matter-of-factly, “I usually don’t get too involved with new students, but I was impressed with your work.” He went on to say that it was good to see someone like me from the corporate world had taken a keen interest in Vipassana, and how I could become an example for maintaining a normal business career while incorporating meditation into my life.
I wanted to stay a little longer and talk further but knew that my in-laws would also want me to spend as much time with them as possible, so I started to take my leave. I had wanted to touch his feet throughout the camp as a typical gesture of respectful greeting with elders in India but was bound by instruction not to make any physical contact during the ten-day course. Now I couldn’t hold back my respect and affection, and in typical Indian tradition touched his feet and asked for his blessings.
I had asked the cab driver to wait knowing I wouldn’t be very long, and he quickly doubled back to bring me to the apartment guesthouse. One particular book in the readings I received was the story of another meditator who had traveled from one country to the other in search of the correct Vipassana technique and finally found it after a quest of several decades.
As I started flipping through the pages, I couldn’t help but notice that my reading speed appeared considerably faster than what I had ever known it to be. Surely, I hadn’t read anything in print for the last several days but I knew that as an average reader a typical novel’s page would take me a minute to read and now I was comprehending two, maybe three pages per minute.
In the 30-minute cab ride, I had read and absorbed five reasonably long chapters! I figured that this must be one of several enhancements in mental functioning that were the side benefits of a mind that is free of continuous mental chatter of positive or negative thoughts related to the past or future.
My father-in-law had made special arrangements to serve drinks for the evening very thoughtfully, as he knew my taste for fine spirits.
I had anticipated this evening ritual and gently explained that I could no longer drink alcohol after uncovering for myself that intoxicating my senses led me further away from maintaining an aware and equanimous mind. Curious, my father-in-law wanted to know if the choice to abstain was a short-term one and whether it was something the practice of Vipassana required. I explained that while there was no prescribed restriction imposed upon us about lifestyle choices once the course was completed, and that it was something I was choosing to do based on what I believed would help me sustain my practice and receive benefits that I had experienced during the camp. Instead of the customary libations, we enjoyed a light cup of tea. Soon after, my wife started to repack some of our belongings to rebalance the suitcases we were carrying back home.
I thanked my father-in-law for the ream of paper he had brought for me and explained that I planned to write about my experience at the camp. While everyone else became occupied in other activities, I cleared some space on the dining table in the guesthouse and sat down to write.
I noticed something interesting as I started writing long hand as was preference for content that required fresh ideas and concentration. My right hand was flying off the paper as I tried to write, as if possessed with a power I had never known I had; words were coming to my mind faster than I could process them, and my writing speed was a good deal faster than I had normally experienced.
It felt as if my hand-mind coordination had broken its sound barrier. I stretched out my hand in a starfish to see if it was still my own hand because it was acting in a way that was completely foreign to me. I also noticed that my fingers and nails had a darker tinge of pink to them than I had ever seen before, certainly in recent years.
I first started making notes for my internal book and story lined several chapters about my initial years in consulting. I remembered minute details from projects that were long over, names of clients and consultants I hadn’t thought about in years, visuals of celebratory dinners and team events, what I had said, how I had felt, as if all those things had happened days and weeks, not years ago.
My hand was skipping off the page as I wrote phrases that sounded right in my first attempt to express a thought and didn’t seem to need revisions or corrections. My writing hand started hurting but my mind kept racing far ahead of my fingers and so I kept going. I must have penned over 50 pages worth of handwritten content in a couple of hours. This might be par for the course for gifted writers, but for me this was nothing short of completely unthinkable. I decided to take a break from writing and resume on my return flight to Singapore.