I recently completed my first course in the meditation technique called Vipassana. The course of 10 days was without doubt, the most powerful, empowering, liberating experience I have ever experienced; and I have experienced quite a few things. I found myself continually amazed by the experience as I worked, and knew that I must share it with as many people as I could as soon as I returned to the world. Here is my account.
Without the slightest hint of exaggeration, Vipassana is the actual technique Buddha used to reach enlightenment. The story most told implies Buddha’s captivated India due to his words of wisdom, but in actuality, it was his delivery of this technique to the people that changed so many lives. As centuries progressed and the technique was silenced, altered, and eliminated, a select few teachers in the land of Burma maintained it in its purity, passing it down through generations until the time it would again heal the world. It has helped hundreds of thousands since its return. The gravity of this is not easily grasped at first, but upon taking the course it becomes clear.
Why you Should Go
You Need A Break
Not you ‘could use a break’, ‘might wanna take a break’, ‘a break might be nice’, etc… you NEED one. Functioning in this society equals dys-functioning by all other standards and you NEED to take a step back from the constant hustle, to see what is real if your going to make any real progress.
Parties, vacations, alcohol, etc, simply distract one from the source of their unrest temporarily. These brief and pseudo-successful escapes offer no lasting solution. Vipassana on the other hand is relaxing and productive. it equips you with the ability to vanquish stress permanently. You will return so focused, clear, and new that your performance in all your pursuits will dramatically improve.
You’ll Get Rid of Whats Holding You Back
I found that the challenges and barriers I struggled with most in my quest for progress fell away. The technique goes so deep that you will find many of your surface issues solved.
You Get to Play Monk for 10 Days.
Its not a monastery and there are no monks involved, but you do get a glimpse into what the existence of a monk is like- and its rather interesting.
You’ll Make Major Headway in your Spiritual Progress
If you’re already on the path, the course will help you get a lot further and show you what it take to move forward in the future. Your intuition will improve and your skills in any esoteric efforts you have will improve.
It Will Change your Life. nuff said.
Why You’ll Tell Yourself Not To Go
I Don’t Have Time
Who owns your life?? You or your activities? If your life is your own, there should be no reason under the sun why you cannot take ten of your own days to do something that will prove so very beneficial for the rest of your life.
In the western rat race, we run from school, to work, to family, chasing money, success, and empty things, never finding time to work toward the purpose we came to earth for in the first place. We’ve been raised with skewed concepts ‘responsibility’ so that we view things like this as unnecessary or slacking off.
Vipassana is actually one of the most responsible things you’ll ever do. Understand it is not a retreat. It is the most productive 10 days you could wish for. You will never believe you could transform so much in such a short amount of time, and your success going forward is sure to increase.
We find time for the things we care about. If you needed an operation, you would make arrangements for everything else in your life to get it done. Allow yourself no excuses; the barriers we create for ourselves are never real. You’ll be so happy you did.
I Don’t Want to be Brainwashed
You won’t be. If anything, you’ll be un-brainwashed. The process does not present to you any dogma or belief to accept. It shows you how to go within and see what is real for yourself. You’ll come out liberated of any beliefs you held based on illusion.
It Goes Against My Religion
No it doesn’t. Is your religion against breathing? Didn’t think so. No beliefs are taught of the course- its just you, yourself, and you. You learn only what you observe yourself. Whats more, plenty of members of every major religion, including leaders, have taken the course with excellent results and continue practicing their faith.
I Already Know How to Meditate
Trust me. The meditation you’ve done in the past does not compare to this. Even if you’re quite content with the practice you have, give this a good try to see the difference yourself.
It’s not worth it/ It won’t work/ I’m atheist, etc.
We’ll you have no rational way of knowing that until you try it do you? You’re only selling yourself short. Don’t.
Bla, Bla, Bla, etc…
Numerous excuses and trifles can arise to persuade one against Vipassana; ‘I don’t like this, I can’t deal with that, I don’t need this,’ etc. Its the voice of the lower self, who doesn’t want to be destroyed. In the end, none of it will matter. When you encounter the results, you’ll only smile thinking of the reservations you originally had. Kick the crap to the side and say hello to a better life.
Things to Remember
Knowing. One might consider themselves quite learned in matters of spirituality, philosophy, or wisdom, etc. The more you can put prior knowledge to the side, even if temporarily, the more full your experience will be. Know enough about the course to decide your going, then stop your research. I went knowing nothing more than ‘I’ll be meditating for 10 days,’ & I’m glad I did. The more unnecessary information we gather, the more room we create for argument, doubt, worries expectations, etc. that will impede our progress. Go knowing nothing and expecting nothing & let your very own beautiful experience unfold.
Eating. Before the course, you might want to gradually lessen your food intake. While there will be plenty of food at the course, eating large amounts presents a real barrier to concentration, and you will be happy if you become accustom to smaller portions ahead of time. Remember that oatmeal & peppermint tea aid digestion.
Talking. Try not to talk so much on the way there. Words have a way of staying with us long after they’re uttered. Conversations, even those of few words, float around our minds over and over, stealing our attention. The less speaking you do on your way to the course, the less chatter you’ll have to clear when you begin working. Similarly, at the end of the course, your mind will have become conditioned to very little outside stimulation. You’ll become very exhausted if you go from very little input to lots of input in a short time. Cut talking in half on your way to and from the course.
Upon Return give yourself time to ease back into normal life. Don’t evade close human interaction, but make firm decisions about who you interact with and how. Also, you’ll have had plenty of realizations about what you want to change and things you want to do, so don’t return to life and its activities until you have a plan; even if its one quickly drawn up on the ride home. You are a baby in the world of calm and this will ensure that your old ways, habits, and mediocrity don’t reestablish themselves before your bliss sinks in strong. Allow no cow to eat your plant! (Goenkaism)
Don’t Worry. Don’t worry about anything. Don’t let anything, within or without worry you. Don’t worry about not fulfillling any of the things above or not fulfilling anything for that matter. Smile. You are on your way to Ultimate Freedom. All is well.
Olympia Auset El.
More Links & Media
Register for the course:
Dhamma Brothers– a documentary capturing the amazing impact of Vipassana in prison
A Humorous Snippet from Goenka on Religion