10 days of silent meditation is arduous and demanding. I wanted to control as many things as I could, prior to the training, to make my experience more comfortable. Intimidation and aversion makes me act in some undesirable ways. I decided to bring a giant bag of yoga props to my recent meditation training because I thought it was impossible for me to sit on the ground like everyone else. I also stuffed my bag with several rolls of toilet paper because I did not want to be limited to only using the butt hose (those of you that travel to Southeast Asia know what I am talking about). This attachment to trying to control my environment generated agitation in my mind. No amount of yoga props and toilet paper could make the experience of sitting for 11 hours a day comfortable.
Around day six, I felt like giving up and leaving the training for a big meal and a hot shower. Fortunately, I had a disciplined roommate named Kunchin. He would wake up at the strike of the gong at 4am, practice pranayama before the 430am start time, and did yoga during our breaks. Kunchin’s posture was impeccable and it seemed like he never move an inch during the meditation.
I felt motivated by his presence and completed the training in its entirety. On day 10 the silence broke, and I had a chance to express my gratitude to Kunchin. To my surprise, he told me that I also inspired him! He appreciated how I conducted myself throughout our time together. Kunchin also admired that I came into the training so prepared with all of my yoga props and toilet paper. This was so comical to hear that a person would be inspired from what I considered one of my less than admiral qualities!
It was a special feeling to make a connection with a person that I only knew through observation. It is fascinating that our friendship was based on attending to our own interests. We basicallyy cared for each other by showing up and taking care of ourselves. Our relationship did not begin with sacrifice, but rather it was initiated by simply being in our own nature. I learned that serving my own obligations and observing another with appreciation could build a friendship that did not require a single word.