Please read along if you wish to live with less (or no) suffering and truly love yourself and others. Spare these minutes that might really help you, and the suffering animals :)
Some inspiring travelers along the road told me about an effective way to eradicate suffering and that this technique really improved their day to day lives. This wonderful experience is being shared and practiced around the world and spreading as we speak (or write and read). Last week I got the chance to take a course myself and would love to share my experience and some basic knowledge about this technique. Although, it is something that one will only fully understand when experienced by oneself.
I am talking about Vipassana meditation, and please even those that are non-spiritual, atheist, highly religious or anti-meditation (if that even exists!) do read along. The technique is a rational and scientific one, no invisible mystical stuff or crazy sect. For those unfamiliar with Vipassana I will lazily quote some of their own introduction:
“Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques. Long lost to humanity, it was rediscovered by Gotama the Buddha. The word Vipassana means seeing things as they really are. It is the process of self-purification by self-observation. The entire path (Dhamma) is a universal remedy for universal problems and has nothing to do with any organized religion or sectarianism. For this reason it can be freely practiced by everyone and will prove equally beneficial to one and all.”
Vipassana is “not a ritual based on blind faith” “nor an escape from the problems of everyday life”. “Vipassana is a technique that will eradicate suffering. It is method of mental purification which allows one to face life’s tensions and problems in a calm and balanced way. And it is an art of living that one can use to make positive contributions to society.”
“Vipassana eliminates the three causes of all unhappiness: craving, aversion and ignorance.”
SO, WHERE CAN I SIGN UP?
Vipassana is only given through courses. A ten-day course/retreat being the minimum, which is so one can really experience the technique. There are centers around the world (I joined the one near Auckland (NZ)) and everything is taken care of (delicious, healthy and wholesome Lacto-vegetarian, but vegan-friendly, food and basic accommodation). Just ten days of only eating, sleeping and sitting to meditate to eradicate or lessen suffering.
That sounds too good to be true right? I actually came there with almost no knowledge about Vipassana or the given course. Just trusting the positive words from old students. People that had only vaguely heard about it, joked that I would be unable to talk for 10 days and had to wake up at 4 o’clock. With only this little knowledge I went to the secluded centre: let’s try out this supposedly wonderful meditation thing!
WHAT I EXPERIENCED
I left the centre 10 days later with a smiling face and heart, new tools to face myself and the world and priceless insights and experiences. But to reach this stage can be quite a challenge, although one I will continue to recommend to all others from now on.
With the help of a teacher, the first days are all about observing and concentrating the mind with the help of only the breath. These are days that one will notice how uncontrolled our mind is and how we are a slave of our (crazy) thoughts. Days of confrontation but also filled with lots of insights. The next days one will “observe the changing nature of body and mind and experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness.” Ungraspable words for many but with the use of your own body (and guidance by teachers) they all become so clear.
In ten days I gained so much mental calmness. Old habits were clearly seen and started changing. I personally saw how I could change my habitual thoughts to start having a more peaceful, forgiving and happy life. Although one might not expect to become fully enlightened and liberated from all suffering in just 10 days, if followed correctly and practiced afterwards, life will change for the better. No matter who you are, in which (mental) state you are in or which age you might have.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY THIS
Whoever reads this, please take my words and see if and when you can give this technique a fair chance. You can do this everywhere around the world and it’s never too late or too early. You don’t have to be able to sit like Buddha; you can sit however you like, in whatever clothing you find comfy! It is not my goal, nor Vipassana’s, to convert anyone. I recognize so much suffering, obvious or well hidden, around me. And since all suffering is universal, so is the solution. I wish all of you less or no more pain, suffering, anger, grief, fear, frustration or mental instability. Please don’t hold on to your anger or grief, since everything is impermanent, don’t identify yourself with all the suffering or self-made ego and go for a positive future. It’s only ten days and some effort from your side, but positivity and less suffering will be a present in return.
BEST TIME TO DO IT WHILE TRAVELING
The new insights and vision Vipassana gave me could have been useful for my entire trip but I did the course during my last part. It could be different to all but personally I think doing a Vipassana course in the middle of my trip would have been the best. This way the first part is experienced with the usual perspective, then after Vipassana one can take some time to readjust and calibrate and fully experience the last part with the possibly gained insights. If you’re not traveling at the moment, feel free to do it whenever you got the time!
If you have any doubts, questions etc., please ask me or do your own research.
May you find peace and eternal happiness :)
“May all beings be happy” – S. N. Goenka
I wrote a post about Vipassana from a vegan’s perspective which you’ll find here. Vipassana can be very helpful for vegans, especially those who are frustrated with the world as it is today.