Tag Archives: vipassana

final thoughts on Vipassana experience

By the end of the week, I was able to sit longer periods without hating the pain in my knees and back. The more I observed my physical discomfort, the quicker it went away, even if during that one moment of observation.

I can’t say that I had certain goals I wanted to accomplish coming into the 10 days, mainly because I didn’t know what to expect. But, I did learn some things that I’m deeming as important in my life journey, and will definitely play an important role in seeking the Truth.

1. I know I’m an emotional person. I react to every situation that comes at me. I now realize the extent to which this happens. How can I live a balanced life when I don’t even have a balanced mind?
2. I left Vipassana with a greater awareness of myself. I can definitely feel the sensations on my body, and I realize that they are there now. Do I still go in for that scratch on my nose. Yeah, a lot of the times, especially when I really can’t stand it. But, at least it’s not an unconscious act. I know that I am reacting. It’s not just another motion of life. Awareness-it’s a pretty amazing thing.
3. I left a huge grief in Kaufman, Texas. One that I wasn’t aware still hung tight to me. I realize that I let past situations determine my future sometimes, when it’s my current actions that determine my future. I’m learning to let go.
4. I have an attachment issue. To my friends, families, ideas, schools of thoughts. They’re in my comfort zone, and I’m scared to venture out. As much as I’d like to think that I’m open-minded, and as much as I am, I am actually very limited to what I am open-minded about. When it comes to spirituality, I like what I’m doing. Like I said, if I went to this pre-India, I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much as I do now. My world is being filled with so many new and exciting things, and it makes me so excited for my future, and the path I’ve decided to walk on. To become closer to the Divine, to have a real and fulfilling relationship with the Supreme involves so much more than I ever imagined, and I am realizing this a lot now. If I keep focusing on the one or two things that I don’t like about an idea, a person, a school of thought, I could be missing out on so much more that means a lot more. What is wrong with me!? At least this realization is coming now. Better late than never.
5. I want to live my life with so much love and compassion for all beings and creations that walk or sit this world.

At the end of the day, can I say that Vipassana Meditation is the technique I want to practice here on out? No, I can’t. It’s something I’m still learning about, and figuring out if it’s for me or not. But I can say that it has taught me a lot about myself, and a lot about what kind of life I should be living, and want to live. A balanced life. A neutral life. A positive and hard-working lifeA life filled with love.

I am so in love with life right now, and I am so in love with the path that God is sending me on. My friend describes it as scary, but I like to describe it as fun and exciting.

May all beings be happy.

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Vipassana experience: part 2

I’ll have to say, that the first couple of days were actually extremely boring for me. I found no mental stimulation, and focusing on my respiration and the reality of my breath was tedious and anything but exciting. Plus to top it off, it was raining the first few days, and I had holes in my shoes, which equals wet feet. Great.

Day 4 finally came, and we were actually going to learn vipassana meditation (up to this point it was just ana pana…focusing on the breath and concentrating your mind). Maybe I won’t be so bored anymore. This is where the real stuff was kicking in. It was an adjusted schedule this day. We had a sit from 3-5pm where we weren’t allowed to leave the room so that we can fully understand Goenke’s directions. So, we’re sitting, eyes closed, focusing on our respiration, focusing on the area underneath our nose and right above our upper lip, observing any sensations we may or may not be feeling there. Then, all of a sudden, he tells us to bring our attention to the top of our head, and slowly make our way down the body to the feet. We must make sure to feel every sensation, whether it be hot, cold, tingly, itchy, prickly, sweaty, whatever, in every nook and cranny of our body. And let me just tell you, woah. Like, freaking woah. I literally felt a movement of tingly-ness run through my body again and again. It was probably the craziest and surprisingly cool things I’ve ever witnessed. It was hard not to create an excitement towards this feeling that overcame me. To just observe and be neutral was a much harder task than I originally anticipated it to be.

Over the next several days, my meditations were just a bunch of ups and downs. My mind just would not stop on some days. I couldn’t stop thinking, and the music would not stop playing. There were days where I just could not concentrate and focus. At all. In the discourses every night, he would mention the importance of working hard. But not just working hard, but working diligently, patiently, persistently. I would walk back to bed some days thinking maybe I’m just not working hard enough, despite my serious effort to concentrate my mind. What was going on? I just wanted to concentrate. I just wanted to feel those sensations like that first time of doing vipassana.

Gji-sittingBW

Hey Goenkeji!

And there it was. I was creating craving and aversion before my very eyes. The one thing that Goenke said not to do. Well played Goenke, well played. Everything began to click towards the end of the middle. The root of misery, craving and aversion, I was creating for myself. I can’t blame anyone but myself.

I decided to work even harder than I was. I wanted to work diligently, patiently, and persistently, without wanting the good sensations and without wanting the bad ones to go away. I can’t say that my concentration and focus got exponentially better and that I could sit hours upon ends focusing on the sensations without being bombarded by my thoughts. Honestly, that happened a grand total of 2 times. Just two. All the other times it was a struggle. But, I worked. I worked hard. I know that this practice is going to come with time, and that’s okay.

Vipassana experience: part 1

So, I’m back. And, I think that I’m going to have split this up into a few parts, because, well, it was a lot of experience. I mean a freaking lot. I’m not really sure what the best route is to go through all the details, so let’s just see how it goes.

Like I said before, this course was a no talking, no writing, no reading, no communicating with anyone 10-day trip. And, seriously all I can say is that it was mind-blowing. Never have I realized just how crazy I am. I mean, I know that I’m crazy, I think we all do. But, when you’re stuck with yourself for 10 days, you realize just how crazy you are.

Let’s start with the first day, or as they call it day 0. When we walk into the registration area that afternoon, I’m feeling pretty confident. Like, oh yeah I totally can handle this. I mentioned in a post from India, how I try to meditate every day. I think meditation is such a great tool to use to strengthen your relationship with the Divine. So, yeah, I went in thinking that I totally got this. Boy was I in for a little surprise. Our first meditation started that evening after dinner. And it’s safe to say that I got little to none meditation in. The whole concept behind vipassana meditation is to focus on the reality of the moment. We are so always caught up in either the past or the future, two parts of our lives that we have absolutely no control over. It is so difficult to focus on the present. Go ahead, see if you can focus on your breath without intruding thoughts about things that happened yesterday or things you have to do for like 5 minutes straight. Seriously. It’s really tough.

This was the first time I realized how unstable my mind really is. I can’t focus. At all. Maybe, I would get in about 2 minutes of real focus on my respiration at a time, but my thoughts just wouldn’t stop. What was going on? I realized I am never living in the present. My mind is on turbo speed. Always. Woah.

The early days continued. 4am wake up gongs were terrible, yet easy to wake up to, and surprisingly I felt pretty fresh waking up that early, not groggy at all. Back to meditation. Progressing a little bit as the days went on. By day 2, I was able to hold my concentration on my respiration for longer periods of time. Cool! Maybe Mr. Goenke is right after all. With practice comes success. This isn’t so bad after all. One of the harder things was to not get frustrated at yourself at a seemingly easy task. But, just accept the reality of it.

Another phenomenon happened on day 2 as well. Towards the evening, right before the night group sit, I began to feel very lonely and isolated. The real-ness of not communicating with others and living an isolated lifestyle began to really sink in. I did not like it, and it is safe to say that I could not stop crying. So, here I am, sitting in the meditation hall, trying to concentrate on my breathing, but all I can do is cry. But then, an amazing thing happened. Basically what was going on, was a lot of past situations and experiences started coming back to me, that I never wanted to feel again. So I told myself, snap out of it, and focus on your breathing. That is what is going on in the now. I did. And I stopped crying. It was so incredible. The minute I stopped dwelling in the past, and actually focused on the present, I was able to let go of some huge weight that apparently had been dragging me down, and was just waiting to resurface. It’s awesome what focusing on the present can do. I was beginning to get what Goenke was saying about the past and future, and how we should begin focussing on the present.

This is all getting pretty cool.

off the grid- vipassana meditation

So, today I will be leaving for a 10-day strict silence meditation course, camp I’m not really sure what to call it. But, regardless to say, I’m pretty stoked! This trip was planned while I was in India, and so something I was looking forward to experiencing when I got back. Now, a lot of people probably think I’m crazy for wanting to do something like this. I mean 10 days of no talking, no communicating, no writing, reading, nothing. Just 10 days of meditation.

Sure several of my friends have done the 10day course, but amongst the conversations I’ve had with other random friends, they know someone who has completed the course, and for them really was an enlightening experience.

Is it crazy? Maybe. But, if there is one thing I’ve learned in my 22 almost 23 years of living, it’s not to knock something you don’t know anything about. Every opportunity either given to you or seized yourself is a possibility for something really incredible to come out of it.

I’m not really sure what to expect. Mainly, I’m just worried I’ll be able to keep my mouth shut for 10 days (those of you who know me well, know I’m quite the chatter!). I can’t say for certain that I’ll leave the 10 day course with some new enlightenment or the answers to life. I am spending 10 days with myself. So, maybe I’ll learn something about myself I never knew before. But, what’s the point of holding these expectations, if in the end we disappoint ourselves.

People ask me if I’m nervous, and I can say that if this was pre-India, I would be freaking out. But, I am definitely more excited. My India trip was exactly what I needed to take on these crazy experiences. I am definitely more confident in myself, and have more faith in life post the motherland. That’s the amazing thing about life. Everything takes place exactly when you need it, and as long as we take things as they come, and be open to them, there is no reason to be nervous about anything that comes your way!

Open mind. Open door policy on life.

Alright folks, I’m off to vipassana. Here’s to hoping I don’t go crazy with the silence! I can’t wait to come back and post my experiences.

In the meantime, if you guys have any questions about the process, the course, whatever, want to know something specific about my experience, please post a comment, and I’ll respond when I get back in 10 days! Wish me luck 🙂

inner reformation

So, I’m at my grandmother’s house in a small village, which isn’t so small anymore. I’ll be here until Saturday, and I don’t have any internet. How am I writing this post you say? We made a day trip to visit someone, and I brought my computer to get some work done.

I have a TON to talk about from my last trip to Shreenathji and Udaipur. I can’t wait to post everything. But, since my computer is about to die, here’s a daily encouragement that really makes you think!

“Where can we find the royal road to reformation and change? Emerson declared: “Not he is great who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind.” He strongly urged us to undergo an inner reformation. I want you to be assured that the challenge to which we set ourselves day after day–that of our human revolution–is the royal road to bringing about a reformation in our families, local regions and societies. An inner revolution is the most fundamental and at the same time the ultimate revolution for engendering change in all things.”                –Daisaku Ikeda

I just read an excellent book called “The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenke” by William Hart (I think I’m going to do a book review on it, so be on the lookout soon!), and it talks a lot about how we are responsible for our own selves, our own suffering, and our own progress. And, I’ve mentioned it too in some of my previous posts about how we are responsible for our own happiness and no one creates our problems but ourselves. We hear this all the time from the all time favorite quote of Gandhiji‘s “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. This quote or some sort of paraphrase is literally shoved down our throats in every setting you can think of. So, there has to be some truth to it, right?

When we start to live a life in which we are truly happy, that positivity is going to spread to others and we can really truly be a catalyst of change. But, are we ready to take on that responsibility?

Sometimes, I wonder if I can do it myself, it’s definitely a huge task to take on. But, if we can start with even the smallest thinking of “today’s going to be a great day”, we can begin to be really be that catalyst, if for no one else, than for ourselves. Because at the end of the day, we are responsible for our own lives.

How are you going to start the human revolution?

 

want more awesome daily encouragement? be sure to check out www.sgi.org