Before I share my Vipassana Meditation experience, I would like to say one thing about myself. Since childhood, I have been a spiritually inclined person. I have always been fascinated by the concept of spiritual enlightenment and the enlightenment of the Buddha, and have always believed that it is possible for a man to be a Buddha oneself. If he could do it, so can I.
The only meditation practice which I liked and understood thus far (before attending the Vipassana meditation course) was the breathing meditation. Primarily because it is simple in concept – just observe your breath that’s it! But more importantly, because there is/are no word(s) attached to it, making it universal.
When I went to my first Vipassana course in October 2012, I had no idea of what was going to happen. All I knew was I have to stay silent for 10 days and I have to meditate (both of which I enjoy!). So I went.
The First Course: On the whole of the first day, we were just asked to observe respiration. Now, it is one thing to do it once a day for an hour or so, but watching the breath for 10 hours in a day can be really boring! At times I was counting; 1,2,…50,…100,…200,…500…!
First day to me was crazy, until the evening discourse.
The Purpose of Vipassana: Every day in the evening, there is a video recorded discourse by Sh. SN Goenka (introducer of Vipassana movement in India). On the first day of the discourse I learnt – the thing which struck me, the thing because of which I became all the more serious – the purpose of Vipassana Meditation. I learnt that the purpose of meditation course is not to focus the mind on one thing. The purpose is not concentration. It goes much beyond that. The purpose of meditation is to cleanse the mind of all its hidden impurities.
“विचारों से नहीं, विकारों से मुक्त करना है।“
What impurities (विकार ) – anger, fear, lust, jealousy, greed, envy etc which are so deep rooted in our subconscious mind that they have taken complete control over us. The purpose of meditation is to free the mind of all these. And the person who does this becomes a Buddha or an enlightened being. That anyone can do it, it’s not the monopoly of one or a few men in history.
This man was saying what I always had in mind. Not only that, he was also showing a way to do it!
Vipassana and How I Feel: Vipassana is all about watchful awareness. Anything that happens outside has a reaction on the body in the form of either or both of the following two ways – change in breathing and in the form of body sensations. Try looking at your breath or what’s happening on your hands/chest the next time you get angry or afraid or lusty or greedy and you will know what I’m saying.
The whole idea of Vipassana is to observe these body sensations whenever such a situation arises so that you don’t react to them. The more you react, the more you add these impurities of the mind. The more you observe and hence the less you react, the more relived you get of these impurities.
This is what I learnt in these 10 days. Not just in theory but in practice. Not only after those 10 days did I feel happier, I also learnt that the more I inculcate the practice of Vipassana in my life, the better it would be for me. So that’s what I did. Driving, jogging, bathing, eating and all such activities which do not require me to use my mind to do something, I try to meditate as much as possible.
The result, since the last course, although anger, greed etc have not been that much problems for me since beginning, still, now whenever a stimulus comes, my focus gets on my body – its breathing and sensations. As a result of this, I get out of these situations sooner than before.
The Second Course: During this second course which I just completed a few days ago, my experience has deepened a bit more. I could get closer to my body sensations during these 10 days than I could earlier. This, however, is an unproven theory as after leaving the course, I have been traveling and have little human contact and hence less opportunities for a triggering situation.
To Sum It Up: I have come to believe that the world is like a cricket match, and the meditation course & the daily morning-evening sittings are like the net practice sessions. The first net practice led me to live last 2 years of life doing as much meditation as I could, with good/bad results I cannot say. Since the second course, I am yet to face the real world and its challenges. Will play the real match after reaching home. Hoping to play a successful innings! 🙂