Meditation Experiences

A week of silence meditation, what is it, how does it work, and most important: what are the results?

When silence comes, and there’s nothing and no one left to distract you from yourself, that’s when they come. One by one they come, the demons, fears and insecurities, the character flaws. All your memories, made up of 33 years of life, stored in that poor body that you call yours. It's definitely what you call a major clean up.

Pak Merta Ada said it could heal, meditation, I at least had the feeling it might help me with this life, with this disease. And so I took off and traveled to the foot of the sacred Gunung Batukaru, the second highest volcano in Bali, an old sleeping giant. Here among the rice fields, far from the modern, noisy every day Bali, is where a week of letting go started.

Day 1 was letting go of communication: talking, reading, calling, texting, Facebook, writing, even eye contact. The dare to go inward, despite the others surrounding you. But it was also letting go of that little devil in me that kept crying out: you can’t do this, it takes too long, your knees hurt too much, your back is too stiff, they’re fooling you, stand up, open your eyes, what are you doing here between these freaking hippies, just go home! It was also letting go of my two men at home, who came to visit me in my dreams at night. Letting go of ideas about time (why we have to get up at five o'clock !?), to let the pace of nature take charge, the sound of the gong. Rise when the stars are still in the sky, meditate until the first morning light dawns, drink tea until daylight breaks, breakfast as the sun starts to get hot, lunch when the crickets begin their symphony, sleep until the worst heat is over, meditate, listen, watch, silently, until the night falls, the frogs take over the crickets and the stars take their positions in the night sky again. Day 1 was a fight.

Day 2 I got a taste for it. My mind was over exited for all the space it got. In one single meditation session I designed my dream house, completely styled it and also did the garden like it was nothing. I sang songs in my head: "There's plenty of time" and "I got life”. I felt great. But after my afternoon nap, when my day was already 9 hours old and I had already sat there meditating for hours, that’s when the hangover came. I wasn’t here to have a party with myself. Again I had to let go: the fantasizing, daydreaming, secretly writing in my head. To lay it all down. Find the focus, concentration, mindfulness: a harmonious mind.

Day 3 my harmonious mind was strong enough and we could continue with the body scan. Scanning your body part by part, looking for memories. Memories of pain and anxiety, memories from the early days and everything beyond that, memories still vivid and alive and those hidden in the endless depths of the subconscious. And when they come, you see them, accept them and let them go. Anicca: all conditioned things are impermanent, everything changes.

And with this new found wisdom I spend Day 3 and 4 searching my body for things to let go, the good and the bad. Emotions stored in flesh, bones and blood. There was the rheumatism, that terrible moment at the hospital, my newborn baby, the teacher who said I’d never be a writer, there was my homesickness. And so the stories from the life of Jette Vonk, big and small, mixed silently with the many shades of green of the rice fields, dissolved quietly in the blue sky high above the waving bamboo, drifted away to the gentle sounds of a ceremony in the distance. And when the memories were released there came space to go to the places where the cancer had settled. To go there with love, attention and gentleness. Space to use all the positive energy that I had built up these past days to help my body to heal itself.

Day 5 started with a slow return to 'normal' life. An exercise in loving kindness: may I be happy, may my family be happy, may my friends be happy, may neutral people be happy, may dislike people be happy, may my enemies be happy. I am blessed with a large family, many friends and fortunately with only an occasional, temporary enemy, because before I had arrived in the latter category the gong had often sounded long before. And then we were allowed to speak again. To speak! Who are you, what are you doing, sorry that I was talking in my sleep! No one slept that night, so full of impressions from the outside after all those days within.

Day 6 was the summary of our stay. Meditate a bit together, drink tea, do exercises, eat breakfast, one last story of Pak Merta Ada. And then we were allowed to share, with the group. And I spoke. I spoke about how day suddenly turned into night just six months ago, how I started a quest to find a way to deal with this, how we decided to leave for Bali, how we struggled with ourselves, with each other. I told about the search for my spirit, my strength, and I told them how I found it here, in the lessons of Pak Merta Ada. He had taught me that the mind is a muscle, one that is weak if you neglect it, strong when you exercise. How every thought, every action, every reaction can go in two directions: negative and positive. That you decide which direction you go, time and time again and how only one of those two is healing. I told them that whatever was waiting for me in the Netherlands, I had come to realize what an extraordinary journey this had been, how incredibly grateful I was that we were able to experience this together and that I would continue my path with faith. I told them that what I had found here was no less than my life. "I'm taking home my life."

Read this article in Germany (Translated by Michael Schueber)

Original article written in Dutch can be found at :