Vipassana Meditation - 10 days silent
Updated: Feb 6, 2019
My Journey through the Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N Goenka in tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin (05th-16th Dec 2018)
The science of mind and matter. Seeing how the mind is influencing the body and later on how the body is influencing the mind by reacting. Understanding my expectations are resentments waiting to happen. My goal through this journey was to try to be able to reflect on what really matters, not on impermanence, people, lack of attachments and mountains of distractions that I [and we all] tend to create for ourselves to escape things that bothers us.
What was I looking for ?
Know Thyself. Observe reality as it is. Peace of the mind with true Meditation technique ; Inner truth. Be more in the present and less in my mind reworking the past and organizing the future. A more balanced & reality of mind and avoidance of diversion, constant escapes while facing unpleasant things. Connect with my unconscious, searching for the link between thoughts, actions and sensations... How to deal with fabricated negativity in the mind ?
It took me 6 months between hearing about from my friend living in the UK and actually make a booking.. I wish I had made it earlier :) you can hardly go for next Day there is a huge waiting list and heavy demand. I choose the one in Gloucester, a huge center and great facilities, but it was a 10h journey to get there from Basel .. With my good planning skills all went perfect. Centers are all over the world, just pick location, language etc. Here is the official website https://www.dhamma.org/en/index
Little disclaimer : it is not a religious thing, not a cult or anything as such. Just an Art Of Living practice technique. The main work is done by analyzing the Present through the truth of Breath..
Overview of my experience..
11 days without any connection to the outside world , (kind of living like a None).
No access to mobile phone, no internet , no books, no pen, eating what is served, woken up by the gong everyday by 4am and practicing meditation until 9pm, that was rough. You have to work seriously, diligently, to understand the technique and get the true benefit out of it.
I can’t explain how I feel, to be honest no words can describe my state of mind right now and all the positivity out of this experience, a bit euphoric, happy for sure and grateful. It it something you really have to experience it yourself to understand !
It is for me , the best useful 10days experience of my life, the best challenge, the best outcomes, the best teaching (reinforcing what my parents have already thought me too) and the best Art of Living.
We were around 80 women and 80 men, maybe more. Women and Men are separated, and in the hall although we mediate we all have a side and our own sit zone. F7 ;)
The food was great and simple and vegetarian and kudos to the servers for their abil to manage all this. We had breakfast at 6:30am (porridge, sweetner, cereals, milk, tea, bread and toppings), lunch at 11:15 am (veggies , always different, rice or pasta and salad) and then tea break last food at 5pm (tea , coffee and 2 fruits ). You are not allowed to bring your food and eat outside those hours nevertheless I was not feeling hungry during the day and in evenings despite the fact I am a food addict ;)
There is a Teacher and 3 Teachers assistant onsite to whom you can speak to in case anyone would feel the need to ask questions about the technique or is encountering personal difficulties, really important. The teaching is a mix of audio and video from S.N Goenka. Really motivating.
“Are you aware of your breath?” , “Do you feel any sensations? “, “How are you doing with equanimity?”
Ohhh.. this felt odd at the beginning but you will soon get to understand where this is heading at while practicing or reading about the technique... I won't spoil it here ;)
The program highlights..
The first 3 days was focused on the breathing exercise “Anapana”. As the mind is agitated and it’s difficult to feel sensations and not to react to them we are tough to focus on the area below the nostrils and above the upper lip and try to remain aware of our own breath. Really sounds much each to say than to do! Observing & not Reacting.
Vipassana really starts on Day 4th. Some people unfortunately left, my roommate was one of them. I was quite down a little as it was getting harder and harder and lots of thoughts and doubts one has to deal with.
Day 4 was hard on me... the physical pain of sitting for 2 hours straight, no move no change pain and overwhelming sensations (high discomfort followed by an extreme very short floating happy connected body sensation ) had me run to my room (as fast as I could which was kinda slow ) when I heard the “gong” and went straight into my bed in tears for long long minutes. The pain in my body just felt like I lost two legs ! How am I suppose to sit for so long and we just on day 4?! I can’t do it ! I can’t ! I did not come here to suffer [ I had yelled in my head ]. Then, realized I was being childish. Not a big deal. Pain comes and goes, get over it.
I felt satisfaction because I followed and observed the rule by the book, did not move, didn’t speak, didn’t disturb other students and was super serious at it and finally got the results! It was not an easy piece. I passed it. Continued and gave it another try the next day ...
I thought we would have 2h non stop sitting everyday morning afternoon and evening , hopefully when I looked at the board this was not the case, I felt relieved.
Vipassana starting, the exercise went harder. Having to get attention focused on sensations throughout the body from head , top of the head, to feet, observing each and every single part of it and experiencing, analyzing , observing them objectively without reacting. Remaining equanimous. Pleasant or unpleasant keeping the attention moving throughout the body symmetrically - Sounds easy?? Go try that while your mind-wandering!
During the 10 days there is a daily strict timetable to be followed and be really serious about every single thing.
Mentally, I am quite a strong person. At no point have I ever felt I would have given up half way although I had no clue what was coming or going to be experienced during those 10days. This because I made the decision no to look it up at all.
So first I was determined with a clear objective in mind, get to master my overwhelming thoughts, get calmer mind, empower myself and MEDITATE properly. That is indeed what I needed most.
The End of The Experience..
When I had my phone back in my hands the feeling when writing a text or scrolling felt really strange. New, like I had came out of some creepy addiction in fact.. [Definitely doing this again from time to time it really feels good].
After this experience which was for me very positive and enlightening in a certain way, I really believe people should try it out and learn from it (everyone has its own personal experience!) I can only suggest and recommend you to see for yourselves.
Understanding the root cause of all misery in ourselves are linked to craving, aversion and ignorance makes a huge difference in one’s life. Why, how and how to come out of it is indeed a key learning. This technique of self observation shows us the inner and outer reality.
I know I can’t control everything in Life but I can control how I react to it.
#Important words : What’s what?
Buddha - anyone who is fully enlightened
Dhamma- the law of nature, teaching of an enlightened person; the way of liberation
Sangha- anyone who had practice Dhamma and had become pure-minded, saintly person.
“May all beings be happy, peaceful, liberated “