Wow. The last days have been nothing but life-changing for me. I’m still trying to make sense of all my thoughts. Of everything that came up throughout the Vipassana course. Those 10 days changed my life and I feel it’s one of my life’s purposes to spread the word and get as many people as possible to experience what I just experienced.
Everyone who made it through those 10 days was nothing but amazed. We all started to feel this inner urge to tell others. To bring others. To spread this technique across the world. Luckily it’s already all over the world. The tens of thousands of people who came before us did already what we will be doing now too. They spread Vipassana into many corners of the planet. Little did I know that there are now over 200 meditation centers run by volunteers already.
I feel so happy and hopeful for the future knowing this exist.
And no, it’s not a religion. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s the universal truth and only you yourself can experience it before accepting it as such. No blind faith. No cult. No weird rites. Just you yourself discovering the law of nature.
It’s one of the most important building blocks of life. Something that should be taught in primary school. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this and I’m so grateful that I got to know it.
After a few days already I wanted to bring my mother as well as creating an organization to spread this further across the world. At the last day we learned about the Vipassana centers across the world and I’m glad that my idea has been executed already. But I know that one of my life’s purposes is to spread this into the last corners of the planet.
Everyone can be happy. No matter who you are and what you belief, you are welcome to try. No one forces anything on you. You will be given the tools, but have to walk the way yourself. You will experience it yourself. You yourself decide what to think about it.
Buddha’s Universal Truth vs. Buddhism
Careful not to confuse. Buddha was not religious neither did he create a religion. Buddha is not even a person. Everyone can become Buddha if one practices Dhamma. Every enlightened person is Buddha.
Some people made it a religion and like every religion it’s been used as a tool. This is not Dhamma and not what Buddha was about.
So, Dhamma is the cosmic law and order, the universal truth. No religion. And no one tells you what it is. You yourself will experience it. Only then you can accept it as truth.
10 Day Vipassana Silent Meditation
I’m still trying to find the best way to explain what we just experienced. But to get the basic picture and rules please visit http://dhamma.org. Here you will also find the list of centers across the world.
In a nutshell:
ITS HARD AND YOU WILL WANT TO GIVE UP. DO NOT GIVE UP.
Here is how your mind works:
- Consciousness: You smell, see, hear, feel, taste and recognize emotions.
- Perception: You perceive a sensation using your feelings
- Sensation: You mind recognizes the perceived feeling and gives it a meaning depending on your memories
- Reaction: You have good or bad feelings associated with the sensation and react subconsciously to it.
Example: Some says something bad to you. You perceive sound using your hearing consciousness. It creates a certain sensation in your ear which is recognized as an insult. You dislike what you hear and automatically feel bad because you have an aversion against “someone saying something bad to you” in your subconscious mind.
Example 2: You eat ice cream and like it so much. The next day you want the same ice cream but it’s sold out. You feel bad because you can’t have the ice cream now. That’s because by liking the ice cream you created subconsciously a craving for it.
Buddha discovered that the only way to break those circles is to stay equanimous to all sensations. Instead of reacting, you just observe.
In the first example you just observe that someone says something bad to you. Thus you don’t feel bad about it. It doesn’t touch you. You don’t react.
In the second example you enjoy the ice cream in that moment but you don’t create a craving for it. Accept that everything is impermanent. Every moment is unique and everything is changing. Enjoy the ice cream in that moment. And enjoy the moment even when you can’t have ice cream.
And Vipassana teaches you the technique to liberate yourself from all those cravings and aversions.
- We weren’t allowed to speak, not even to make eye-contact with one another
- We weren’t allowed to kill, not even a mosquito
- We lived on the charity of former students
- We got fed on the charity of former students
- We woke up at 4 AM everyday
- We mediated for 11 hours daily
- We experienced life without responsibly nor stress. We had nothing to do but to work on ourselves
What kind of meditation?
Day 1: You learn to concentrate on your breath. Every time you close your eyes your mind starts wandering into the past or into the future. You’ve to realize that your mind wanders and bring it back to your breath. It’ll take time but you will be able to realize it faster and faster. By focusing on your breath you learn to focus and observe the moment.
Day 2: You learn to concentrate on the area around your nose. Feel any sensation. Your focus is now either on breath or sensation
Day 3: You learn to focus on just a tiny spot below your nose. Your focus sharpens and you will be able to feel the smallest sensations. Don’t worry if not yet. It takes time and is different for any student
Day 4: You start practicing Vipassana. By moving your sharpened focus across your body in a systematic pattern you learn to feel the smallest sensations across your body. At first you have many blind spots but with time you focus and sensation becomes sharper.
Day 5-9: You keep learning and practicing Vipassana. Everyday you will learn a new technique to move forward.
Day 10: You are allowed to talk with your other students again. It was important to keep the Noble Silence for those 9 days not to confuse you. Because we all experienced it our own way. Don’t try to feel the same as another one felt. That’s not the purpose. That’s not Dhamma. You have to feel your own reality only. Just as it is, not as you want it to be.
This of course is a very rough description of what we went through.
The daily life
We were woken up at 4 AM. One of the volunteers walked around with a tiny bell. We took a quick shower and started walking in the small park until the bell at the Dhamma Hall rang at 4:30 AM. We spent 2 hours meditating. It’s really hard. You are tired. You want to fall asleep. You are hungry and want to eat. And you might have pain from the long sittings every day. But that’s something you will get used to. You will learn not to react to your sensations. You will learn that everything is impermanent and that reacting to anything does not make any sense. Of course that takes time and we all struggled a lot. At 6:30 AM the bell rang and we went for breakfast. The food has been amazing. It’s vegetarian and prepared with love. After breakfast we had time to walk in the park or rest in our room. At 8:00 AM the bell rang and we went for 1 hour of group meditation. In those sessions the Dhamma Teacher is present and we learn how to use the technique. From 9:00 AM till 11:00 AM the Dhamma Teacher takes time to talk with us in small groups. The rest practices in the Dhamma Hall or the Pagoda Cells. At 11:00 AM we have lunch. Something we all kept looking forward too. It’s the mist delicious food and the last meal of the day. We have time to rest, shower, wash cloth till 1:00 PM. The bell will always ring when it’s time to return to the Dhamma Hall. I lived without knowing time nor days. We meditate by ourselves till 2:30 PM. Then we had another 1 hour group session. From 3:30 PM till 5:00 PM we mediated by ourself again. Some of us could go into the pagoda cells. At 5:00 PM it’s tea time. I never went because I wanted to practice fasting for those 19 hours daily. So I only drank water and either walked in the park or rested in the room. At 6:00 PM we had another group session. From 7:00 PM till 8:30 PM we watched a new video of S.N. Goenka, the founder of the Vipassana meditation centers. This was my ultimate highlight of the day. A truly wise man and his teaching are incredible and truly life-changing. From 8:30 PM till 9:00 PM we meditate and at 9:00 PM it’s bed time.
Keep in mind that I didn’t talk to anyone during those 9 days. No contact except with the volunteers who took great care of us. It was an incredible experience. You mind wanders. Many things of the past might arise and you will be able to face them. It might be tough but it’s totally worth it. Cleanse yourself once and for all.
I don’t know what else to say. Maybe I said too much already.
We all experience it differently. Keep that in mind. This is my experience. Yours might be different.
You don’t know what you don’t know. It’s worth a try. The earlier the better.