Vipassana: All that you need to know about the 10-days Silence Retreat !!
Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Scaling Mt Everest, Memorising 100 contact numbers and Completing a 30-days #Vipassana #Meditation #Camp is what I would call a few Types Of Achievements. They don’t seem mainstream but they fall under a big-deal category to me.
So far trekking for me has been the #Jain religious mountains/ hills. I believe they are all under 3000m of height plus comparatively human-friendly wrt difficulty level of the trek.
Really lagging when it comes to memorising contact numbers. I’m working on it !!
But what I managed to do was a 10-days Vipassana Meditation Camp in March 2018’ and a few single-day ones later on.
Not a bad start I would say !!
Vipassana Meditation is a type of meditation that Gautam #Buddha practised and taught[Some say until his last breath].
During the 10-days programme, we were step by step guided how to meditate. Starting with focussing on the #breath and then slowly self-observing our body, mind and maybe many layers deeper or above as one goes along.
It is said that by practising it one removes the #layers that one needs to get #enlightenment.
It is said that while these layers get removed a person may get many experiences. Experiences can be different for all.
My guess is that these layers are layers of #attachments, layers of #karma of many lives and so on so forth.
The #schedule needs to be followed strictly.
Wake up at about 4 am and sleep at about 9:30 pm.
Daily 10 hrs approx meditation which means about 100 hrs in 10 days.
CODE OF CONDUCT
It is mandatory to follow all of their rules. Some of them are:
a. Noble Silence or Aarya Maun: One is not allowed to speak with mouth, gestures, eyes or even writing. No contact with the outside world to focus on the inside.
b. No gadgets, writing, reading material allowed: Everyone was asked to hand over their cellphones and anything they wished to before the programme begins. A token with some digits and your details is given to you to show it at the end of the course to collect your belongings later on.
c. #Comfortable and #conservative clothes are expected to be worn. Comfort for oneself and conservative to not distract any other person. By conservative I mean not revealing[skin], not flashy, simple and lose clothes that do not bring attention towards your body.
I went to Gorai, Mumbai. A majestic #Pagoda, Buddhist Temple is in the premises.
Roughly we were about 100 of us. Men and women sit, eat and sleep separately. The meditation room is common but men and women sit separately.
I believe everyone was given a single-occupancy room which had an attached bathroom with hot water. We were supposed to maintain the cleanliness of our rooms. They gave washed bedding on the joining day. On day-zero, I cleaned the room thoroughly removing cobwebs and dust. #Cleanliness is important to me and I cleaned my room everyday at 4 am followed by early morning shower.
There was a small garden where we could go for a walk in our free time.
There were these modern man-made caves or meditation cells called Shunyagaar which were introduced after a few days to the new students. As per the teacher’s instructions, one could go there and meditate for a few hours if they didn’t want to sit in the common hall.
Medicines and essentials were made available if someone wanted it. [You have to pay]
Laundry service with some charge was available.
Can request for wall or backrest or a chair in the common meditation hall. The request may or may not be granted. It's best you ask for it while online registration if you know you can't sit without it.
Btw, the entire course including food and stay is absolutely FREE. One can voluntarily donate if they wish to later on.
For people who do types of fasting and detoxes, this would fall under #intermittent #fasting.
3 #vegetarian, mainly Indian cuisine meals were provided between 7 am to 5:30 pm.
The option was between spicy and non-spicy food. No outside food is permitted. For rest of the day filtered water and ginger water can be filled from the kitchen.
The food to me was livewithable. The variety was also good. Fruits and salads were ample. There was tea, coffee and plain warm milk available. Evening/ last meal was light.
It is said that it’s good to have less food in the stomach while meditating. Also, since we are sitting all the time, we do not need a lot of food or a heavy 3rd meal.
Never the less, I always felt full all through.
Uneasiness can only be caused by a mind which is habitual to eat a big dinner and many unnecessary in-between snacks.
I can say that this was my first time experience with meditation and I happened to land at Vipassana Centre. Almost like jumping in the deep ocean without knowing how to swim. My main struggle was my body. I had times when I was like I can’t sit anymore. Sitting crossed-leg for a long time without moving isn’t possible for me even today. But then I took up a #challenge of neither to ask for a backrest nor open my eyes during the meditation. I don’t know how intelligent the decision was but I think I would have focussed more with a backrest.
Cushion Game: Like I said I went with basic information on food, security and living. On Day-zero or joining day we were introduced to the common meditation hall in the evening. While I was soaking in the atmosphere and was delighted at their organisation on how every seat was pre-designated with name tags, how comfortable the meditation seat looked and how neatly they were aligned in proper rows and columns, I was brought in the real world by hush-gush of the ladies around me who were rushing and bringing different sizes of rectangular cushions from a corner of the room. I looked around to the already seated legends and figured those would be required to sit for long hours and instantly I went and fetched myself a few of all sizes too because I had no idea which one I would need.
I think till the end of the programme I kept playing build-the-block with the cushions arranging them in different ways to see which one was more comfortable.
After a few days I happened to observe a girl[didn’t see her face until the last day], she would slowly walk towards her seat[which was in the same row as mine, ahead of me] almost always the last one to sit and with poise without any cushion or probably just one single one. Figured that worked for me too. phew...
Falling ill phenomenon: There was a time many ppl in the group were falling sick... guess that is considered a normal part of cleansing... like the unwanted stuff coming out in form of fever, cold, cough, etc. I even had a throbbing pain in my gums. All these pains sprout up like demons to block us from meditating. MAYBE.
On the last day when we were allowed to talk, I met the owners of the footwears I was looking at for 10 days. Oh! so you are the proud owner of the fluffy slipper, and you of the Brand x and you had the same one as hers. Mind chatters, I tell ya. You put a stopper, it would find another way to slip away. Practices like these help us tame or control it to some level.
Since we were exposed to only a few sounds for the 10 days, it was natural to hear #MrGoenka and the #gong a few days after the course also.
NOW THE WOO-2 EXPERIENCE
I felt energy moving through me like a lightning... but only once in 100 hrs.
Many times I felt I knew what the teacher is going to tell next... I asked her on the last day and she said I may have practised this meditation in my previous #births.
It’s normal if emotions come out... I cried for no reason in my room one of the days[I don’t cry usually]: I don’t think so it was because I wanted to escape the programme.
I had visions of times which I had never seen before in this life even on TV... I saw some clear date in my vision... I felt uneasy... I think... but it was fine later on. My logical mind says maybe I might have read about it somewhere.
All this can be my imagination or something that had some logic in the world of meditation.
a. Do not talk to anyone before the course.
b. Do not talk a lot on the last day when it is permitted.
c. Enquire about the facility and basic schedule, etc but do not dig deep-in to know every detail of the course. Best to go with an open mind, ready to learn and experience.
d. Do not hope or expect for any magical experiences because I think that is a kind of a blockage.
e. Do not expect to experience the same thing as the person you enquired from. Best not to ask for deep experiences because it programmes the mind to hallucinate sometimes.
f. Due to any reason you are not enjoying it over there, I request you to keep that feeling to yourself without getting loud about it and spoiling it for the others.
WILL I GO AGAIN?
Yes. I don’t know why. But I will go at least one more time for the 10-days programme.
I did go for their day’s programme a few times after that which lasts for about 5 hrs including mealtime, but the 10-days experience is much #intense.
IN THE END…
I think we all have a lot of #power within us to tap into. Occasional instances in my life makes me feel that. I’m not trained or have the know-how on how to tap in my power at any point in time. When something unexplained happens if my logical mind is active I say what a coincidence and if my creative mind is open I say I did magic :)