The first three days of the Tapa Brata were [pause, let me see if I can find a positive word for this] ‘the least pleasant’ for me.
The body and mind (or soul) were adjusting to this new lifestyle, activities, and schedule.
My body ached all over. There was a lack of (or rather, non-existence) of concentration. The feet went numb. The stomach got upset. The weather was chilling. The mind seemed unable to grasp about what it should do and feel during the meditation.
First day. Second day. Third day. It was honestly challenging and somewhat frustrating.
So at the night of Day 3, after everybody had returned to his or her room and I returned to mine, I sat down for a late night prayer and conversed with God.
I proposed a pact with Him. I told Him, more or less in these words, “Look, God, I am willing to go through this gladly if You want me to, but You have got to help me out here. Make this process easy for me.”
Yes, I am fair, straightforward, and stern even to Him.
I must remember this so-called prayer because it seemed quite effective.
Day 4, I woke up feeling determined. I told myself I had got to go through this. I felt like Po in Kungfu Panda when the four heroes gave him a (literally) hard-hitting ‘lesson’ during their first training session together.
Po fell down over and over again. Yet every single time he fell down, he got up again– looking all enthusiastic beyond common sense–and yelled, “Woo hoo! That was awesome. Let’s do it again!”
I felt like that. I promised myself that I would do my best, even if I could not concentrate 100% or the feet and back were aching.
Thus, the new ‘regime’ was put into place. I came to every single meditation session. I sat quietly throughout the 45-60 minute meditation session. I diligently dragged back my thought whenever it swayed away (for the thousandth time) during the meditation.
I did my prayers. I did my yoga practice. I walked around the garden to stretch my leg. I even folded my blanket, pashmina and jacket every time I finished the meditation session. I also promised myself that I would smile every time I started and ended a meditation.
That morning as I sat facing the hills during the sunrise, I felt God nodding to my proposed pact. The clouds lifted up from the hill nearest to me. Behind that hill, I can see another hill, and another hill, and yet another hill. Clarity. I smiled. They smiled back.
I went out of the dining area and looked up to the sky above. The moon was still there. It was seven o’clock in the morning and the moon was still there. It was as if the moon was gasping its last breath and pulling off its last strength to see how my conversation with God turned out, cheering and smiling at me all the way. I smiled. I shall be okay.