One of life’s nudges guided me to the vipassan meditation. Having completed the10 day course, it feels like it was always meant to happen. The Vipsaan centre at the Penang Hill, Malaysia is located amidst lush green hills with a constant stream running down. It is beautiful.
What does Vipassan mean to me?
I assimilated the Vipassana technique in the hierarchy listed below. One can get more details for intellectual understanding from the link provided below, however if one wants to experience this technique, one has to attend the course. You can read about Vipassana here
1. The Precepts to be adhered in Vipassana- these can be found on the website here
2. Respiration – 3.5 days of observing the respiration & sharpening the minds observation to one small spot
3. The Vipassana itself – Insight through observation of the body sensations – this lasts for the next 6 days
4. Metta – Sharing the Love, peace and harmony
The moment I heard that the entire course is directed to experience life I.e it provided experiential wisdom I was glad. I have been reading various books over the last so many years and particularly the last 4 years leading to accumulation of intellectual knowledge. There was a gap in my experiential wisdom. The 10 day Vipassana course offered few of the experiences that i have been reading about.
I experienced tangible practical aspects of the wisdom at almost each of the meditation sittings, however the most important ones are linked to some of the questions I have had. This experiential wisdom is:-
Turning the mind Inwards..
Eckhart Tolle has played an important role in my life. I have used many of his practical teachings, however the concept of directing the consciousness inwards kept eluding me. At the Vipassan course, during the first 3.5 days of respiration I experienced what it is for the mind to be turned inwards to encounter what Eckart Tolle, in his book Practicing the power of now meant by “When your consciousness is directed outward, mind and world arise. When it is directed inward, it realizes its own Source and returns home into the Unmanifested.”
Awareness- Keeping the attention in the body..
I have been meditating for a little while, and during this time I wanted to keep the attention in my body in some of the engagements with life. This had proved to be difficult. On the 4th day when the Vipassan technique was handed down, I could experience what it was to have the mind turned inwards and to keep the attention in the body. Observing the sensations gave me the first hand experience to link it to the intellectual reading. This wisdom is proving invaluable as I make efforts to live the technique. With this I was able to be in the now, though not fully but a considerable reduction in mental chatter has occurred. The little thoughts left were so easy to observe. The mind had slowed down and quietened as Eckhart’s teaching in Practicing the Power of Now points “inhabit the body” is to feel the body from within, to feel the life inside the body and thereby come to know that you are beyond the outer form.”
Equanimity and constant Change
The sittings of “strong determination” -these were the most daunting of the sessions in the 10 days. With my past experience of having being physically trained in the Navy, I assumed that I could pull through the strong sittings with little challenge. All this dropped by the way side and I found that the real teaching was to develop equanimity, neither to crave nor to develop an aversion
The first moment was when at the end of one of the hour long sittings, I wished the end was near and I could get over with one session. A smallest fraction of realization occurred through that pain the body was going through and a sense of calmness descended, this was the equanimity the teaching was all about- to stop struggling and Know deeply that “this too will pass”. The struggle ceased
The second moment occurred when a thought of hanging on for the sake of ensuring completion as an achievement was prominently resurfacing, as my mind wanted to prove a point that I could do it, as though I was being watched. A quiet moment flashed by and I could calmly see that the real lesson is not the achievement of sitting through but the equanimity to accept that this is a form of craving, A craving to be notices, patted on the back and appreciated.
The third moment – I was getting anxious as we neared the 6th day because we still had 4 days to go and the mapping and thinking of the sheer number of sittings looked formidable. Aversion was building up. Then In one of the sittings, soon after, I experienced that this anxiety is also a teacher and that it will pass away. Even if I move a little during the sittings it was a teaching, your movement also will pass and it does not effect the learning that has to be experienced. It is only important to observe and accept the moment without craving for it or having an aversion.
There were also a few transient ever changing by products which occurred during the meditation sittings & outside of the session. I kept having the uncanny felling that I have gone through this course before sometime in the past. There were moments when I experienced as though I am growing outwards in ever expanding circles. There were also one moment, at each breath, where I went deeper inside myself very deep inside. Don’t know where………
At completion I could look back and sense the complete experience of awareness from moment to moment, at each moment to be Equanimous. The experiencing of this great depth , this stillness was always there. I did not have to search for it. Though It was found only when I sat still, quietly.
It was the same with observing the life within my body, I could feel the sensations on my body and also a deep vibration within as Eckhart points out in Practicing the Power of now “Keep focusing on the feeling of your inner body for a few moments. Do not start to think about it. Feel it.” I also experienced the wisdom that these sensations have always been there, only my consciousness has never been able to turn inwards to observe these sensations. The Vipassana technique guided me to this amazing experiential wisdom.
Look forward to hearing more…
I am sure I will hear more varied experiences from others who have gone through this. For those who are interested in a working meditation technique, I am sure this one is worth an experience.
May all beings be happy