To see things as they really are.
A 10 day silent meditation course stemming from Gotama Buddha, over 2,500 years ago. Which, simply stated, is concentrating on the body, its sensations and the insight that this provides.
As a serious meditator for the past 10 years, having first practiced when I was 11 years old. I could feel my discipline in practicing had been slacking for about two years. I signed up for Viapssana, knowing that 10 days with 10 hours a day of meditation would switch my discipline button back on.
I have done over a decade of inner growth and well being work, varying practices as a way to gain inner insight. Whether it be meditations, leadership and communication courses, detox regimes, Kundalini and Hatha Yoga, Native American healing work, energy and sound therapy, Guru work……. I could go on….. 😉
Yet this was different than most anything I have undertaken.
It was putting effort into observation. Focus on respiration. Mindful of the sensations of the body, without allowing aversion or craving to take over, to allow old mind patterns that cause suffering and misery to become eradicated.
It sounds simple, sitting for hours, almost like a reTREAT.
Not quite. It was extremely hard work, training new parts of the mind to work in a different way than what one is inherently programmed with.
The first four days were cold, stormy and rainy, trudging across the soggy grounds it felt miserable, synonymous with how my mind felt. I couldn’t fathom how we could get through the rest of the course. It felt like one day was a week and my body felt uncomfortable sitting for so long. What gave me solace was the food. Vegetarian, delicious rice and curries and veggie dishes, soups and salads, prepared fresh every day.
At times I felt like
Other time I felt a quality of beautiful inner
Focus. Equanimity. Awareness. These were key words for the process, one that became intensely beautiful, with profound self-realizations. The technique is a practice which creates a foundation for self transformation and awareness.
The facilites we stayed at were simple, clean and nice. The break from the phone and internet to tune into the natural world was a relief, one that was much needed for my mind without any tech distractions.
The last 5 days of the course seemed to become lighter. The sun finally came out and at night the stars were vivid on the magical lands close to Yosemite. The 8th and 9th day something profound was happening, it felt as though my senses were super heightened and everything took on a technicolor hue, like a 5 dimensional quality. The silence became solace and I felt an unburdening of my layers of consciousness, which created a lighter, buoyant sense.
Vipassana is a practice, of mindfulness and awareness every moment. To be present, now. Relinquishing normal reactions to self or situations and taking a step back to allow observation to keep the mind in a place of equanimity. With discipline I feel this technique has the potential to enhance life immensely, I can sense a transformation from the 10 days.
My intentions when I left were to live a life of more joy, inner peace while radiating compassionate love.