I want to share with you my experience with Vipassana meditation, after coming back from my 4th 10-day retreat.
Each time I have done it, it has been the most valuable experience of my life.
The courses are free of charge, I am writing this article out of the genuine wish that more people benefit from this meditation technique to contribute to a happier and more peaceful world.
Vipassana, which means “to see things as they really are”, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living.
The teaching is universal and not connected with any religious organisation and can be practised by anyone without conflict with existing religious beliefs or absence of beliefs. This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation.
Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.
A 10-day course is the minimum requirement for a new student to grasp the technique and to go back home with the ability to apply the technique in daily life.
Courses are held all over the world and they are free of charge. You can find a list of courses and locations worldwide here.
The main center in the UK is Dhamma Dipa, located in Hereford.
The program for the course is very strict, disciplined and simple: 10 hours meditation a day, no speaking for 10 days, no reading, no writing. Just you and yourself.
Here is what the typical day at a Vipassana retreat looks like:
|4:00 am||Morning wake-up bell|
|4:30-6:30 am||Meditate in the hall or in your room|
|6:30-8:00 am||Breakfast break|
|8:00-9:00 am||Group meditation in the hall|
|9:00-11:00 am||Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher’s instructions|
|11:00-12:00 noon||Lunch break|
|12noon-1:00 pm||Rest and interviews with the teacher|
|1:00-2:30 pm||Meditate in the hall or in your room|
|2:30-3:30 pm||Group meditation in the hall|
|3:30-5:00 pm||Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher’s instructions|
|5:00-6:00 pm||Tea break|
|6:00-7:00 pm||Group meditation in the hall|
|7:00-8:15 pm||Teacher’s Discourse in the hall|
|8:15-9:00 pm||Group meditation in the hall|
|9:00-9:30 pm||Question time in the hall|
|9:30 pm||Retire to your own room–Lights out|
…And here I am, after my 4th retreat, this technique of meditation definitely works for me.
I feel happier, more aware, balanced, tolerant and focused… and a selfless, authentic love for my fellow human beings.
Negativities still come up in my mind, of course I don’t expect miracles from just a 10-day retreat, but I am able to face them with equanimity and balance of mind.
I feel so grateful to have come in touch with this amazing gift, that has changed my life for the better each time, and continues to do so every day.
I don’t want to talk about my exact experience during the course, as this differs for everyone, and one really has to experience it. Vipassana cannot really be understood at the intellectual level.
It’s not an intellectual game: It is based on experience and one can fully understand it only by practicing, which is what you will be taught at the course.
I would encourage everyone to try it. Really, it is amazing. You won’t believe how much a purer mind will give you a better life, under every aspect.
If you want to find out more, visit: www.dhamma.org
P.s. Needless to say, since I came back from the course I play guitar much better! 😉