We go through years of schooling to become “smart” from an analytical perspective. We work hard to become engineers and technical competent but what about emotional intelligence. Today we are so lopsided that the smartest people have difficulties in relating with others, with managing their emotions.
Moreover what surprises me is that – there seems to be a significant resistance against anything spiritual or self help oriented. We feel that if we did any of that then we are either “messed up” or “becoming a jogi”. The truth can not be more far from it – especially in case of Vipassana meditation. Vipassana means “insight into the true nature of reality”
The Technique (Taken Verbatim from http://www.dhamma.org/en/vipassana.shtml)
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living.
This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose.
Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.
Last year I was leading quite a hectic life. A life where I was doing too much, not getting anywhere, and spending my time almost running away from myself – could not stay “without doing anything” or “could not be peaceful just being with myself”. It was almost like I was running away from myself. Just could not be alone or inactive.
Then a few things happened in my life that made me question my life style, how I spent my time, how I managed my emotions. Guess a sort of “spiritual emergency”. In this time I did many things to bring balance to my life and a dear friend of mine recommended Vipassana. My first reaction was – “I can’t stay without communicating for 10 days!” and that exactly I took as a challenge and signed up for the 10-day course.
I also said to myself that it would be a great 10-day break from all habits and routines – if nothing else, that itself would be valuable as I would be able to see which of these habits and routines served me and which did not serve me anymore.
After a strong resolve I landed up there on day one and saw they had many strict rules. Right from when you wake up (4 am) to strict diet of simple vegetarian food to no communication with anyone outside or there. Ofcourse this included no emails, technology, or even any reading or writing materials. Detailed Code of Discipline – http://www.dhamma.org/en/code.shtml
They are very organized and explain all the rules and the rationale for it in detail and request that we suspend all our “religious and moral beliefs and practices” for 10-days to get the most out of the experience.
Day 1-3 were the toughest one for me as my mind kept wavering and running away. I felt the uncomfortableness of observing myself so closely, and so constantly. But guess that was the whole point so I kept at it.
Day 4-7 were also anxiety filled but my concentration on the meditations improved. My mind became calmer and more focused on the meditations.
Day 8 – Was the day when things turned for me and I had amazing sessions where my mind did not waver and I was able to practice meditation well.
Day 9-10 — were very joyous as I was a lot peaceful inside and felt I had learned something valuable.
After Effect / Result – 10 days later
After 10 days I find myself a lot calmer and aware of my emotions – though I must admit I have not practice completely they ask you to afterwards. I find myself a lot more aware of my body and what it is telling me about my emotions. I am more aware of the negative feelings – though I am not critical of them.
The key thing they teach you is the connection between the body sensations and emotions. How we can get to “Samta Bhav” – (Equanimity) where we are able to look at our emotions in a balanced way to the point where “they loose their grip” on us and we no longer have the “highs and lows” that we find ourselves in – connected with the cycle of “pain and pleasure”.
I feel today that I have learned an “Emotional Management System” that will serve me well in all areas of my life and help me be more joyous and achieve more without the attachment and the roller coaster ride of pain and pleasure. I feel that everyone should give this non-religious, scientific, and non-sectarian practice a try and may be even repeat is every year or every other year.