Smart CHECKLIST for an easy 10-days stay at the Vipassana Meditation Centre
hello beautiful people!!
It's been a while I wrote here.
Hope everyone is doing well.
As promised, I did a REIKI PRAYER for everyone who subscribed to this space and would continue to do so.
Previously, I had written about my experience of Vipassana Meditation.
Today I am enclosing A Checklist for Vipassana.
Some tips and tricks that were passed on to me. I would also be mentioning what I packed. And what one should pack according to me for this wonderful Vipassana Meditation Experience.
In no particular order, here it goes...
Reach Early To Get The Best Room Or A Single Room
I was suggested to reach early to grab the best accommodation. The centre my friend went to was a big one in Igatpuri, some of the rooms were in huts that were in nature aka visits from tiny non-human living beings. Also, many people from all walks of life and different hygiene standards came in for the Vipassana Meditation. Sharing the room definitely can become challenging, especially while one has just jumped into this ocean of meditation.
My centre was rather small, mainly single occupancy rooms and it was rather a tidy property. The problem for 1 of the participants was that she was scared to stay alone in the room and in that case, I think they did shift her to the few rooms that had multiple beds.
Besides this, I don't know if anyone can choose a room.
Whatever be the case, I think it is a good idea to discuss it with the organisers when they call you. They were rather very patient and helpful in my case.
Lock And Key
So no one goes and hides in your room while you are in the meditation hall to give you a ghost-scare when you enter the room. Ok, that was me trying to be funny... ehem...
At the beginning of the programme, everyone is asked to hand over their valuables like wallets and gadgets. If you do that, then my guess is there is no need to lock anything. But let's say you did not hand over all your valuables then you may need to lock your room. Well, I am sure no one goes there to steal but just for your mental peace, you can use a lock.
Also, if you are sharing the room with anyone, maybe you would need a lock on your luggage. They may be falling short of underwear and may think of taking one of yours. Who knows!! Right?
Again you can check with the organisers on the phone what kind of lock system they have so accordingly you can prepare yourself.
Blanket, Bedsheet, Pillow Cover
All of it was provided to me. And they appeared straight from laundry, i.e. clean and ironed.
I took an extra warm shawl with me because I tend to feel cold soon. I also carried with me a bedsheet and pillow cover. I would take these with me again just so if I am in a centre where cleanliness is compromised, I am ready with Plan B without having to trouble anyone over there and getting into unnecessary conversations that you don't need have. Plus prepare according to the season.
This is a big one. These have the capability to break our peace of mind into pieces.
Luckily Vipassana Centre in Gorai, Mumbai was not infested with them. It could be the season in which I was there. Also, the rule of thumb should be to close the doors and windows before sunset. Check if there is any window in the bathroom that remains open too. Check if any window is broken or does not shuts properly. I was suggested to take a thick cello-tape just in case one needs to put it on some broken window.
It is not permitted to take food with you. But if you do plan to sneak in some food for whatever reason, please take dry food, energy snacks like dry fruits. Or at least keep your room clean. One of the rooms had ant trails outside it after a few days only. And that wasn't very pleasant. phew...
One doesn't necessarily need one because there are volunteers who are ringing the bells in appropriate times to put you on track. Plus the main gong bell on the speaker that I could hear even after coming back home along with Mr Goenka's voice were a good enough alarm clocks.
Never the less, an alarm clock was important for me because I liked to wake up before time to be able to clean the room and shower before the first meditation in the morning and 30 mins, in the beginning, wasn't enough for everything for me.
Empty Water Bottle
That way you don't have to rush to fill water every time you need it. Also, I realised later that one could fill their bottles with the herbal tea or something all through the day from the kitchen. I am not very sure about that though. May be I would update you on this once I go again.
I think they do keep a basic first aid with basic medicines. And one can order medicines if they are not available by paying them.
But it is good to carry a small first aide of your own. It is common that some body part aches, especially the back due to prolonged sitting. So ointments like Move or Volini could be handy.
A hot water bag could also be nice depending on how much your body aches.
Toilet roll is not a necessity to most Indians. But they can be used as a duster here and there. Sometimes the flush in the toilets could be messy. The water would fall on the seat so to wipe that off a tissue roll could be helpful.
One can have a plain cloth duster also to avoid paper waste but oh well, I am just sharing my ideas.
In the Gorai, Mumbai Vipassana Centre, we had a laundry facility available. There was a minimum charge of about Rs. 5 per clothing. I don't remember because I had taken clothes for all 10 days, so I didn't need to wash my clothes.
It appeared to be a very systematic service the way clothes use to be kept on a table pre and post washing.
There was a rope in the room on which I use to dry my small clothes like undergarments, socks and handkerchiefs. I was washing them on a daily basis. I don't remember if the rope came with the room or I took it along with me. So a ROPE, if you wish along with clips.
Oh and as part of the rule and common sense. This is a meditation place, not a fashion show. So wear clothes that are comfortable for meditating and does not gain attention.
One could purchase these from them. It was not included. I took mine from home. Now for a person like my mom, she may just need a bar of soap and shampoo for 10 days. I took my shower gel, loofah, shampoo, conditioner, hand wash, face wash, body lotion and shower cap. I think there was no shower there or something was wrong with the shower because I took a bucket bath while I was there.
Advice: Try to take toiletries with not very strong fragrances. It can disturb you and others from meditating.
Men and women participants were asked to cover their private body areas with a dupatta or a stole. The entire orientation was together but this instruction was given separately to men and women. I was helping with the chairs while the men were given this instruction, so I heard. haha
Well, I think it is part of not gaining attention and wandering from the goal of the programme which is to meditate and go within.
Also, I think while sitting in the common room, the body changes as per the temperature of the room and as part of the meditation also.
So wrap up!!
You have to wear and remove footwear almost every hour and you only get less than 5 minutes break to visit the loo that might be on some other floor. So something quick and comfortable can be a good option. Like a flip-flop or a slip-on.
This was the only distraction for me I think. For all 10 days, eyes were gazing down and so you had a connection with the various slippers people wore. Oh my! The furry one, the gemstones one, the dirty one, badly worn one, etc.
Well, I would also wear socks many times because I didn't like my feet to get dirty plus for warmth.
You could have another pair of footwear that would be your coming from and going back to home footwear. I had a beach to walk on to take a ferry ride that took me to the other side of the water body where the centre is located. And after the ferry ride, there was a long walk to reach the centre.
Polythene Bags for the dustbin, used clothes, etc.
If you are expecting your monthly periods then carry a pack of sanitary napkins or whatever you use.
OTHER THAN THAT
Centre to centre things may differ so it is a good idea to have a detailed conversation with the organiser on the phone to be prepared.
Season of the year would also call for a slight tweak in the checklist.
Your personal choice is another big factor. I carried a milk strainer because I can't stand cream in milk and I can't stand without drinking milk.
EOD, everyone would have a customised checklist.
I guess when the goal to meditate for 10x10 hrs is set in your head, then nothing would matter much. But still, let us be real! We are not monks who have renounced the world, we need some sort of arrangement to put us on the track. And such things definitely can become a roadblock. At least to a cleanliness freak like myself.
So these are my suggestions. Hope it helps.
Happy Meditating :)