If you are following me around, you might have heard that I went to a 10-day meditation course called Vipassana. I wrote about it a bit, but today I wanted to go deeper into the experience and let you know about what I experienced.
A lot of people think that Vipassana is very difficult. They think that it is difficult because, for 10 days, you cannot talk to anyone, make eye contact with anyone, no phones, no reading and no writing. This is not the hard part.
People think that the hard part is sitting and meditating for 10 hours a day (starting from 4 am) at the meditation hall. That's also not the hard part.
The hard part (esp. the first 3 days) is your mind. You will observe that when you do not have any new inputs for your mind, your mind will surface past hurt, guilt, anger, frustration, and regrets. In normal life, we carry this baggage all the time and we don't realize that our mind is not clean.
Most people do not like a weekend without plans. They resist staying alone because being alone, though not as powerful as meditation, still gives space for the mind to think about the past. We become miserable when that happens. We have not sorted through those elements of the past yet. Some people keep distracting themselves with work, entertainment, drugs, and recreational activities. They grow old like that.
The Vipassana meditation technique makes you enter the madhouse of your mind and clean every room of all the cobwebs that we have built through our life experiences. All the old stuff surfaces. A friend might have said something and you got hurt. Mom or Dad said something or their behaviour affected your life. Your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend or ex-wife or husband wronged you and you feel angry about that.
The technique is just to observe what surfaces and not react to them. If you get a good memory surface, just observe it. Don't crave the same experience again. If a bad memory surfaces, just observe it. Don't create further entanglements.
You will observe that in the process of 10-day meditation (for almost 10 hours a day), every past impurity from your mind will be cleaned off and you will feel like you are born again.
Jesus said “You must be born again, to be able to enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3)
That doesn't mean that you have to let go of this life and be born again. It means that you have completely not just made peace with your past but put it behind your back so much that you don't even feel like you are related to the past.
Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, or anyone from any religion can do Vipassana because it's a scientific technique and has nothing to do with religion. Human suffering and bliss are universal. There is no such thing as a Hindu suffering or a Muslim suffering. We all suffer because of our minds in the same way. Vipassana is a purification of the mind so that you don't have any baggage. You will start to live life in the present moment.
Since my Vipassana experience, the relationship I have with my wife (Sandhya) has become much better. We do not fight as we used to because I do not react in anger much, which is the seed of all marital disputes in the first place. You get angry, they get angrier and the cycle continues until one person (usually the wife) starts crying, and the cycle breaks.
I am planning to do Vipassana again this year and probably once or twice every year because I have seen that I have turned over a new leaf since that 10-day experience. I am not anxious about the future anymore and I don't have regrets about the past anymore. I have not just forgiven everyone who has wronged me but also forgotten about them (almost). I have no emotions attached to my past and my past is as good as a different person.
The only way to achieve world peace is to achieve inner peace. Look inside. Turn into yourself and look into the mind which is the source of all suffering. The body experiences pain, the ego experiences hurt, but our mind is the one that creates the suffering. It thinks "Why me". Vipassana will teach you to accept things as they are and you will come to the peaceful conclusion that "it is what it is" and what's done is done.
Remember that this experience is not intellectual. Yes, you will get to listen to some discourses, but the gyan part is just 10%. You can read all the books in the world and your behavior won't change because you are learning from your conscious mind and it never touches the subconscious mind. The only way to scratch the surface of the subconscious mind is to start a meditation practice and train your mind to be more present all the time so that you can flow like a river in life.
A river flows, it is always changing. Life is also like that. From moment to moment, life passes by. Things happen. Some things are in your favor and some things are not. But just like a river that flows down its path just changes its direction when it meets an obstacle, you also just navigate through life moment by moment.
Stop looking at the rear-view mirror of life. And stop looking at your maps to see where the destination is and how far it is. The only way you are going to go to the right destination is to see the road in front of you, in the moment and be alert and safe in the journey. These words might give you a momentary insight into the right way to live life, but the only way to change your behavior is to train the mind through meditation.
May all beings be happy.
P.S. If you want to apply for this course, there are 240 centres in the world and 102 in India. Head to Dhamma.org for finding the course dates and application dates.