What The Hell Am I Doing Here?

One meal every 48 hours
No drinking (even water) for 32 hours at a time
No speaking every other day

And I am choosing to do this!
What The Hell Am I Doing Here?!

The answer is of course to understand myself better, and fasting in a Buddhist meditation retreat setting is about learning how to deal with your desires. When we are hungry, naturally we want to eat something. And it is like this with all of our feelings: as soon as a feeling arises, we do something to get rid of it. When we desire something, we immediately find something to satisfy and fulfill it.

These desires can sometimes get out of control and become a full-blown addiction, of which I have had a lifetime of experience in. This yearly retreat in Scotland has become a pilgrimage for me, part of my recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, and a journey within my own mind -getting deeper each year.

So as I lay on my bed starving hungry I instead meditate: meditation becoming my food; it fills me up; satisfies me; and rather than running away from my feelings I sit with them and investigate my true nature.

My annual trip to Scotland is for 10 days this year, in a working Tibetan Buddhist monastery. This specific retreat only happens once a year, and it is a commitment I have made to myself to attend every year (and I have done for the last five years).
The Temple at Samye Ling
One meal every other day
Silence on the fasting day
…and not even any water on those days.

We meditate for around 9 hours every day: the days are the same in that sense, but totally different for my stomach who is completely confused by the lack of food for 48 hour stints, and even more freaked out by no water for 32 hours every other day!

The hunger is ok, actually I can deal with that, but the thirst is TORTURE.
Luckily there are around 25 of us all going through the same torture every other day. It makes it easier to cope knowing that the person sitting next to you probably did not get a good night sleep because they also were interrupted all night by their starving belly crying out for food and hydration.

My meditation on each day is so different.
On eating days I am unfocused and distracted by the thought of a meal, or conversations I’ve had with the other participants.
On fasting days there is nothing else to think about other than the practice; the meditation; the hunger and thirst that we have CHOSEN to endure.

Us Buddhists believe that we develop courage by facing suffering. Through it we realise that we can actually survive the toughest situations if we have to. And by learning this in retreat we are readying ourselves for what life throws at us on the outside when we return back to ‘normality’.

It’s funny as the mornings after the fasting day, in the few hours before that first cup of tea, I felt like a 90 year old woman hobbling to the temple afraid I was going to faint from hunger/dehydration. It was such a struggle to get up on those mornings: I felt so weak; so pathetic; stooped over and freezing cold! But on the very last morning with the exact same lack of food and water, I had a real spring in my step! I knew I was going home later, I knew I could eat ANYTHING I wanted to later! And there was energy in my body from that knowledge!
So interesting how powerful the mind is, and how a ‘mind over matter’ attitude can transcend your morning!

I did it! I survived! I made it through the 10 day retreat!

Another layer gone.
More lessons learnt.
A new level of being now experienced.

I am left in a deep state of gratitude

More and more has fallen into place as the emotional blocks and old ways of thinking evaporate. Suddenly I can see clearly, that in fact HARMONY is the norm. The first 40 years of my life was dominated with struggle, a belief that life is meant to be difficult. “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, “You need to work hard to get anywhere in this life”, “I’ll never be truly happy”, “I’m too fat/ugly/unattractive/skinny/spotty”, “I’m not smart enough” etc..

But this week I am different.
Now every conversation holds a clue.
Every encounter means something. All of a sudden I realise that the universe is providing me with every single experience that I have, THAT I NEED TO HAVE, to understand…and all I have to do is slow down and listen.

But this is not new information for me: it’s that the information sinks a little deeper into my psyche. Before, this was something that I read in a book and it sounded really cool….but now there is a deep knowing.

I breathe it. I believe it. I am it.
The work now is to translate it, teach it, and to share this beautiful way of living withYOU.

Life Changing Epiphany
So a book is being born, my absolute life’s work. What I believe I am on the planet to do. All from my own path, my own battles, and my own understanding of how to find true and lasting happiness. It will show you how to get rid of addictions, how to value and believe in yourself, all through following your Inner Guidance.
And you won’t have to go into retreat and only eat once every 48 hours! You won’t have to be silent every other day!
I’ve done the groundwork to get the answers, and I am going to deliver these answers to you: THAT IS MY JOB.
And I have to say there isn’t a better job I can think of having.

I’ve made a commitment to work on this book one day every week, and Saturday was the first full day.
There is such a shift in energy now that i have made space for this new project to grow and evolve: it’s funny how obvious this is to me now, but just a week ago I hadn’t yet made that commitment and therefore couldn’t see HOW i was going to be able to birth this idea.

We Are All Addicted
….to some extent: it’s not just drugs and alcohol but can be sugar, caffeine, self flagellation, sadness, anger or needing to be right all the time. An addiction is a strong habit, yet some habits are good for us and don’t need to be changed. So this book is for anyone that is out of balance in any department of their lives and would like to feel more mentally satisfied.

I wrote a blog a few months ago about giving you a magic pill, and this book is exactly that in detail. The culmination of the last 20 years of self development and looking inward. These are the results, what works and what to avoid. HOW to find genuine all encompassing happiness xx

I cannot tell you how excited I am to get this information on paper, and to share it with you, so that you too can find the contentment and good health THAT YOU DESERVE. It’s time to have the life that you dreamt of but didn’t think was possible….
….well I’ll let you into a secret: IT IS POSSIBLE xx

Copyright Jo De Rosa April 2015

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