Farooq Omar wrote a beautiful post on the power of silence. Commenting on the post I briefly mentioned about my experience of a 10-days meditation retreat called Vipassana. Farooq’s curiosity to know more details of it inspired me to write this post.
Vipassana means to see things / people the way they really are, instead of seeing them through our filters, that we often do.
Many years ago, I was driving past this place Igatpuri in India, and saw a huge golden pagoda. I felt strongly drawn towards it and went to check out the place. This was the Vipassana International Academy. They didn’t allow me to enter the place because a meditation retreat was going on. I immediately decided to register for the retreat, more out of curiosity to be in that place rather than anything else.
The 10-days meditation retreat starts as one of the best mindfulness techniques to be in the present moment. And then one learns to go beyond mindfulness to practice equanimity, while using the law of impermanence in every situation, every moment. The highlight is using breath as the bridge between the Physical and the Metaphysical.
Throughout the retreat, you observe complete silence, even when you are not meditating. They call it the noble silence. You are guided through the mediation techniques, and everything is handled so excellently in silence. The idea is to be with yourself 100%.
As we live life, we have so many past memories that have been stored within along with the mixed array of feelings and emotions. These are the root cause of everything we go through in life emotionally as well as physically.
In the silence and stillness generated through this mediation, the so-called past baggage within automatically starts surfacing so that it can be released from our system. You go through such a wonderful deep cleansing, and you come out feeling lighter, happier, and calmer.
I have attended Vipassana multiple times, and it has been by far one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life, and I have been practising it regularly.
A few years ago I went through an extremely traumatic experience of my life which shook me up and pushed me into a deep depression. I had collapsed emotionally and physically. It manifested in my body as a severe backache. I was on strong medication and had to use the heating pad regularly.
I knew that Vipassana retreat was my need of the hour, but didn’t know how I would be able to sit for meditation for long hours every day. In spite of these dilemmas, I booked myself for the retreat.
Can you believe that after day 4 I stopped taking the painkiller, and by day 7 I didn’t need to use the heating pad either? I went through deep catharsis, and came back happier, healed, and energised.
Vipassana is the technique that majorly contributed to Buddha’s enlightenment at the age of 35. After that, for the next 45 years, he devoted every living moment of his life teaching the step-by-step technique to people.
Though enlightenment may not be the objective for many people, please know that Vipassana is an empowering way of life that potentially transforms the quality of one’s life at multiple levels. Overall it is such a liberating experience.
They have multiple meditation centres throughout the world. Check out more details on their website: www.dhamma.org