Of all the things we gave up when we signed up to the meditation, the hardest thing for me, was my phone.  Not because I wanted to contact anyone.  Truth be told, in the four and a half months I was travelling, I think I only sent one text message.  Didn’t receive many more than that either!  No, it wasn’t the communication I missed – it was the time-keeping.  For someone who doesn’t wear a watch, I’m unhealthily obsessed by what time it is.  How long have I…?  How long until I….?  If you ever want to test how “in the moment” you really live, lock your phone up, cover the clocks, unplug your computer and TV.  Avoid any public places that may be brandishing a clock, such as a train station, or shop.  Avoid people.  They might be wearing a watch, and if not they’ll definitely have a phone.

I couldn’t bear it!  But, what if I don’t wake up?  What if I shower at the wrong time?  What if I’m mid-way through washing my clothes?  What if….what if….what if…???

What was I really worried about?  We were under such a strict schedule:

4:00 am Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher’s instructions
11:00-12:00 noon Lunch break
12noon-1:00 pm Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher’s instructions
5:00-6:00 pm Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm Teacher’s Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm Question time in the hall
9:30 pm Retire to your own room–Lights out

– http://www.dhamma.org/en/code.shtml

How could I get it wrong?  Chances are – if we weren’t meditating, we’d be “resting” or eating.  And as for over-sleeping, there wasn’t a chance in hell that I’d sleep through those bells.  The speaker was pretty much next to my pillow, and they rang out at every single interval.

It wasn’t any of those things that were causing me grief.  It was my aversion to surrender.  My aversion to letting go.

As the days wore on, it became increasingly apparent to me how controlling, how restrained, how unliberated I actually am.

During the course with Matthew, we’d massage each other at the end of some of the afternoon sessions (ahh – such a hard life!) and Pedro would always give my arms a shake, “relax!  Why aren’t you relaxed?”

“What are you talking about?  I AM relaxed!”  Lying on my back, limbs sprawled out, smile on my face…what more did he want?  Jeez.

“Surrender!”  Surrender, surrender, everybody telling me to surrender.  Tolle in the Power of Now, Matthew at the head of the shala, Pedro in massage and just any general incident of human contact….Surrender to what?  Divine, God, Being, Self, the Now??  What???  and How?

Is it about faith?  Is it about awareness, love, compassion?  Relinquishing the ego?

Perhaps its all of the above, and you just have to take it one step at a time.

My first step was letting go of time…