"My" Vipassana experience
Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Vipassana is a meditation technique, not to be associated with any religion, sect, cult or rite
It's my first week back into the World after a 10 day Vipassana course.
Without a doubt one of the most challenging experiences I've undertaken with 4 am wake-ups, 8.5+ hours of meditation a day, two vegetarian meals, fruits and water for dinner, 12 hour fasts, no access to tech and complete silence.
But, also one of the most inspiring environments I've ever been in with some incredibly conscious people.
Vipassana is a meditation technique, not to be associated with any religion, sect, cult or rite. It enables a meditator to use their breath in order to sharpen the mind (first part) so as to increase their overall awareness of sensations in the body (second part). The sharper the mind becomes, the more sensations one is able to feel. The meditator is taught to remain equanimous whenever any sensations arise irrespective of whether these sensations are pleasant or unpleasant (third part).
Awareness and equanimity result in a sharpened mind which then becomes purified because one's equanimity allows them to alter their "subconscious" mind (which is where human defilements such as anxiety, stress, fear etc. are found) by rewiring their biochemistry.
Day 0 gives you a great opportunity to meet your co-meditators before Noble Silence begins at 19:20.
Day 1 is a very difficult adjustment (especially if you didn't sleep a wink the night before!). My biggest piece of advice for anyone looking to do the 10 day course is to pack earplugs and an eye mask. You get about 5.5 to 6 hours of sleep a night so it's important you rest well.
Day 2 is, apparently, when most people consider quitting, but it was much better than Day 1 for me. The meditation feels repetitive, but learning the first part of the technique is so important for the next few days.
Day 3 gets better, especially if you make sure to nap during the breaks, drink at least 3.5 litres of water, and walk as much as you can (more to follow in the next post).
Day 4 was monumental for me. I felt deeply inspired after the first morning meditation from 4:30 to 6:30. Tons of ideas came to me and I realised a lot about myself both in terms of my personal and professional worlds.
Day 5 was a bit challenging because I wanted to keep feeling like I did on Day 4, but a core teaching of Vipassana is to train the mind to avoid craving and aversion. Wanting something or disliking something to the point that it imbalances your mind is the root of all suffering. Whether you're having a great meditation and inspired day, or not, the key is to focus solely on the technique.
Day 6, 7 & 8 were very challenging because I was struggling to feel any free flow sensations over my body. Again, I had to remind myself that this technique is not a means to an end. The true measuring stick of progress is equanimity. Showing up, practicing the technique and not reacting to any thought, feeling, emotion and/or sensation is all that matters.
Day 9 proved to me that the previous days were very worth it. I made a breakthrough at 20:30 with free flow sensations on parts of the body, for the first time.
Day 10 continued in the same manner as Day 9 and I felt no pain during my second last hour-long meditation with no change of posture (first and only session with no pain!).
Day 11 was absolutely sublime as we got to connect with our co-meditators, share our experiences and acknowledge our achievement of making it through an incredibly intense course. The best components of this course are: the technique, the discipline you get to practice and the people you meet.
If you're interested in the technique, make sure to read this short, but very inspiring book: https://bit.ly/3oxvYql
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