They say, Vipassana isn’t an escape. It’s an art of living. “One learns the art of dying by learning the art of living,” S.N. Goenka. But with very little knowledge about Vipassana, I felt that I am running away from life and my worries! It was my hideaway. However, I ended up working diligently with myself every single day of the course and finding myself again and grasping that feeling of real peace, real happiness and real harmony within.
“The bird of wisdom needs two wings to fly, and they are awareness and equanimity”
I came across Vipassana meditation a few years ago searching through online. Then I came to know that few of my friends have done it, and I always thought that I would love to do it too but there always was some excuse for me… Until last autumn, when I finally sat the 10 day course!
But now that I have done it, I can honestly say that there is nothing to worry about! Of course, it is a very personal experience and like everything there is ups and downs. But when one feels the calling for it, I believe they are ready for it!
Vipassana is one of the India’s most ancient meditation techniques that was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha. Through self-observation and sensations in your body, you focus on a deep interconnection between mind and body and change the old patterns of your unconscious (or maybe always conscious?) mind. So when the situation arises in your life, you welcome it with awareness and equanimity. Goenka, the great teacher of Vipassana, has a beautiful quote for it: “The bird of wisdom needs two wings to fly, and they are awareness and equanimity”.
Throughout those 10 days, I found lots of similarities with yoga and what I have been already tapping into. And as much as I enjoyed focusing only on mediation, I really missed the physical side of yoga, asanas. Yoga poses prepare you and your body for the mediation. In Vipassana, your daily schedule includes at least 10h of mediation, and I found that sitting was the hardest part of the whole experience. Not that I couldn’t necessarily focus my mind but that my body was aching and sometimes in pain from sitting cross legged for so long. And so often during the course, all I really wanted, was to stretch out. But there never was a though of quitting the course earlier!
Nothing is permanent, except the change.
The noble silence during the course for me was actually one of the easiest disciplines. It really helps to go deeper into yourself as there is no more overflowing information and noise coming in from the outside so when you’re mind and thoughts are becoming still, you truly start connecting with something more precious inside you. You’re body also doesn’t get so tired and it naturally has more energy! So the early mornings and waking up at 4am didn’t feel so ambitious, it even felt natural.
Now it’s been a few months since my first Vipassana. And honestly, I don’t practice the technique anymore, it naturally faded out. But some of the teachings has really sticked with me. And one of the probably most remarkable life’s reminders from Vipassana, that keeps coming back for me, is the lessons about constant change that happens every moment of our life.
Everything is a change. That’s the universal law of nature. Dhamma. And Vipassana teaches you to accept every moment as it comes, observe without impulsive reaction and to see things as they really are and acknowledge that it is bound to change, because nothing is permanent, except the change. When you come to accept that, life become more enjoyable, more precious and more authentic.
And if I would have to do Vipassana again, I would definitely do it! When the time is right again and I would feel the need for it, I would enjoy going back for another 10 days of silent meditation. Even just to experience that blissful feeling of complete withdrawal of all the distractions in the world. And to welcome maybe a completely different experience and lesson!
Dhamma Dipa Centre (The UK centre)