Either I do ___ or I Die Challenge (what I learnt from Will Smith and Vipassana Meditation)

A Vipassana Meditation course, as you probably know by now (check out my previous post on the Vipassana Meditation Course to know about the course), has a strict schedule of 10 hours of meditation from 430 in the morning to 7 in the night (followed by a 1.5 hours of evening discourse).

Among other things, there are three time slots: 8-9am, 230-330pm and 6-7pm which are group meditation sittings. In these group meditation sittings, a strict rule called “अधिष्ठान” is followed.

Enter Will Smith

One evening, I saw an interview of Hollywood actor Will Smith (on YouTube) where one particular thing that he mentioned which had a lot of effect on me. He said (not verbatim), “I don’t consider myself as a very talented actor, but where I excel is this ridiculous, sickening work ethic.’ He continued, ‘The only difference between me and the other guy is, I’m not afraid to die on a Treadmill. You may be more talented than me, you may be smarter than me, but if you and I simultaneously get on a Treadmill, EITHER YOU GET OFF FIRST, OR I DIE. It’s that simple.’

The sheer determination and the strong will, to having the courage not just to say but do such a thing, ‘Either you get off first, or I die.’ It’s that simple. Or is it?

अधिष्ठान: Adhisthan (a Sanskrit word which means, among other things, strong determination). In Vipassana Meditation course, the अधिष्ठान that is followed is during the three group sittings during the day, one sits in a position comfortable to oneself in the beginning of the group sitting and then no matter what happens, one shall not open his/her eyes, arms, and legs during the entire hour of the sitting. (Simple as it may sound, it is not so.) Sounds familiar? It seems Will Smith has been talking of (and doing) the same thing.

My अधिष्ठान: For the first three days, I was a bit relaxed during the group sittings. I changed my posture once during those sittings as I felt the pain in my legs increase. From the fourth day onwards, I took my अधिष्ठान, the Will Smith way. I will not open my eyes, arms & legs during all three group sittings, else I die. Simple.

Or so I thought. I clearly remember the pain in my legs on the 5th day evening sitting. I felt really happy to have crossed that hour with the teacher announced the end of the hour. I also cannot forget that 7th day evening hour when I was practically fighting with myself. ‘Yes, do it, open your legs.’ ‘No, I can’t open my legs.’ The pain was unbearable but it too went through successfully.

My अधिष्ठान was successful. Now, after tasting that sweet small success, I am ready to take up bigger and fiercer अधिष्ठान in life!
Your अधिष्ठान: Are you facing a situation where you are stuck? Or too lazy to take action? Or afraid because you thing the problem is too big? Take up the Either I do _____ or I die challenge. Make it your अधिष्ठान. You will do it, no matter what. And see the results. I’m not saying it will be easy. On the contrary, it will be all the more difficult and painful. But if your अधिष्ठान is strong, I’m sure it’ll keep you going and you will end up writing your own success story!

Try it out and do let me know by commenting on this section as and when you succeed. It’s always good to be motivated by each other’s success stories 🙂