I have been contemplating on writing about my first vipassana experience for a while now. However with a subject so deep, I felt I wasn’t qualified enough (still do) and feared that I may possibly not do complete justice to what it really is. So, with this humble submission and with a prelude that this is subjective and based on my limited experience I wish to share this unique experience.
Doing a Vipassana course was always a ‘good to do’ and on the back of my mind for several years. But last year I was overcome with a feeling of ‘must do now’. So, I had applied online for a 10 day course in December last year. My simple objective was ‘only’ to explore. I was not under any kind of stress at any levels at that point and personally feel that that frame of mind worked out perfectly to explore.
There are various precepts that one has to undertake during the tenure of the course like no telling lies, no stealing, no physical contact, no speaking to each other, no mobile phones, etc all of which did not seem like a big deal to me. But watching the mind factor was a challenge I was dreading.
The whole course is to learn the technique of vipassana meditation that was practiced by Gautama the Buddha eventually leading him to enlightenment. The technique as such is fairly simple but involves a lot of effort. Shri.Goenka’s voice booming through the hall is all that one really needs to tune into. The first few days were challenging. But it was the challenge that got me through. Meditation starts from 5 am upwards and there is about 10 hours of meditation one does in a day with breaks in between. For a starter, it seemed a lot in the beginning. Also the schedules (like practically finishing your last meal for the day by 12 am….though ofcourse there are tea sessions ‘only for the first timers’ at 5 pm) were a little rattling initially. I informed our mentor, on the first day, that I was prone to acidity related issues if I do not eat in regular intervals, but she insisted that I do not preempt anything and go with the flow. The first day was tough but from the second day, I had nothing to complain on this aspect. Seriously it was amazing, for someone like me who had been facing chronic health issues on this ever since my first pregnancy, it was revelationary. I guess it may have had to do with the energies or the vibes around.
Once I got into the grind there was no going back. Sitting for long hours for one, was a very tough bit. But, the sheer challenge of watching myself , got me going. I went through various physical and emotional changes as the days progressed. The energies, the flow, everything so different.
The first few days start with Anapana meditation and gradually shifts to the Vipassana technique. I benefitted much from the Anapana meditation. The vipassana technique was tough for me. I can only say I have somewhat scraped through the elementary schooling process and have a whole path ahead to master it. It involves immense dedication and serious discipline. At the end of the road, it is an experience that could only leave you for the better.
There were moments when I experienced a very clear understanding that I was beyond my body, my thoughts….and it was possible to just watch everything go by as if you were not a part of it. The self goes beyond. Similarly there were a few other scattered realizations…and as I say it, though it was only during certain moments, it was something to experience!
There is a lot that Shri. Goenka during his discourses talks about DHAMMA – the law of nature. To me it seemed like the indisputable truth in life. I enjoyed the evening video discourses by Shri. Goenkaji thoroughly. The thoughts completely struck a chord with me. It was like, I just had to hear it from him. There are some phrases and words which stuck like glue – like being equanimous, the sankaaras we create for ourselves, etc, etc. But these are things that one should feel and find for himself.
So here I stop , and if you wish to explore or learn more about this, do look up this site :
This experience is completely about you…an opportunity to explore your own self further. It has nothing to do with religions or laid down beliefs, but only the TRUTH as you see it for yourself.