August 23, 2012

My experiences with Vipassana

Parmendra is back from Vipassana and has submitted a very comprehensive in-depth account. A must read for every one:

What is Vipassana?

The word ‘Vipassana’ means “to see things as they really are.” Vipassana is one of the world’s most ancient techniques of meditation which was rediscovered about 2500 years ago by Gautam Buddha. Here it is very essential to mention that it’s not associated to Buddhism, Hinduism or any other religion.

As I found out, it is a totally scientific technique of self-observation. It focuses on deep interconnection between mind and body. It is an observation based self-explanatory journey in which you feel (not learn) the nature of your mind how it regresses, how it produces sufferings and how after practising Vipassana this super self-consciousness leads to a life characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and more importantly peace.

How it came to me?                    

As I wrote in my last post after suffering from depression (chronic unhappiness) and living in denial for a long time, finally I accepted it. As it is rightly said, “Acceptance is the most important step for your problems.” Perhaps because then we are ready to talk about it openly and the same happened with me. Although, I had been hearing about Vipassana for a long time but I never thought I would go for it. Reasons were countless—
·        This sounds too hectic; I won’t be able to make it.
·        I can’t afford to have a 10 days break in a row.
·        I don’t need that, this isn’t my type.
·        I have never done one hour meditation in my life how I am supposed to meditate 10 hours a day.
·        What is the sense in being silent for 10 days?
And many more and they all sound absolutely sensible and logical then. But I have acknowledged the seriousness of the problem and there is a saying which has always helped me in taking big steps in my life—
They say, “towards the end of your life, lying on a bed in some hospital, when you’ll look back you’ll regret more on the things you haven’t done in your life rather than the ones you have.”

About the ten days course

There exists many centres of Vipassana throughout the country and most of them offer the 10 days course. You can register for it on their website www.dhamma.org. This whole cycle of teaching Vipassana techniques works on donations given by past students for the future ones. Thus, there is no charge for the course, for accommodation and for your daily meals.
You have to stay at their centres for all ten days. You have to live in complete seclusion from the outer world. You have to maintain complete silence for first 9 days of the course. For the people who are attending for the first time there will be meals three times a day, morning breakfast, lunch and evening tea with snacks but no dinner. About 10 hours of meditation is the part of the daily routine. You are allowed to ask your doubts to your teacher.

What did I learn there?
Meditation, silence and such high level of self-discipline were the different world things for me before attending this session. Frankly speaking, I wasn’t sure whether I would make it or not. But as Sachin sir rightly said “Environment is stronger than will.” The environment there was so conducive that it made all this much easier to follow. Let me divide my experiences in two parts—
SILENCE — ‘A nine days silence’ for sure it was the biggest challenge for anyone like me who loves to talk. Besides it, I was never convinced for the logics behind the concept of silence. I remember, once when Sachin sir took me to an Ashram near Herbertpur, where the Guruji was silent for years. Most of my questions were related to the silence only. But its rightly said, “experience is far more explanatory than debates.” Now after going through it I realized how amazingly silence itself can solve many of our daily life sufferings and how it is the first step in controlling our mind, our endless chain of thoughts and constant worries which spirals us down to sadness, anger, hate and all our sufferings.
VIPASSANA — The course duration is divided into in two parts:
Anapana (first 3 days): It is better known as ‘Mindfulness’ in western countries and nowadays it’s a very famous practice there. In Anapana you try to concentrate on your ‘natural’ breathing. You are advised here not to modify your natural way of breathing while practising it.
I found it very helpful in following three things —
·        Sharpen my mind
·        Learn to live in this moment
·        Keeping your mind thoughtless
Vipassana (rest 7 days): Recently, I read a very good book about mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn (thanks to JP Sir). Since, practising mindfulness is getting very famous in western societies I have heard a lot about it recently. But I must say what I experienced in this 10 days session is beyond just mindfulness. Vipassana deals with very depth of our mind.
While practising it I experienced how my mind and body is so deeply attached to each other and how do they function together. How my mind has become the master of this amazing machine and how it controls and reacts to each little activity in each little part of it. I also experienced the auto pilot mode of my mind and how it ruminates between past and future. How it relates and creates an explosion of thoughts from a minor incident and then how it constantly worries about its own created thoughts or mind events. I also have experienced how our body reacts with a sensation to each and every thing happening around us or in our mind and how our mind develop craving or aversion for such every little sensation which results in sufferings. Above all I also experienced the law of impermanence.
I also experienced how to see things objectively and how to see your thoughts as a mind events and how sometimes just observing your thoughts objectively can solve the problem itself. Here it is very important to mention that many of these things I tried to explain here were known to me intellectually for a long time. But trust me, experiencing them and feeling it all happening inside me was totally a different world thing.

How does it relate to my stammer?

As per the definition of stammering, “Stammering is what you do when you try not to stammer.”
This explains almost everything about my stammer. For me stammering has always been a struggle with myself. A struggle before speaking the word (whether I’ll be able to speak it!). A struggle while I am in a block. A struggle after I stammered where I didn’t want to.
I knew it for so long if I could learn to be just in the moment 100% and stop worrying for future and stop relating it to the past, my struggle with my stammer would have stopped. Intellectually it always sounds so easy but it is very-very difficult to be in the moment completely.
This is what Vipassana teaches you to be in the moment without being judgemental. Stammer too has become an inseparable part of our mind and body. When we try to speak it’s not just our speech but our whole body and mind caught in the act stammering. While practising Vipassana you learn to observe each little sensation in your body without being judgemental to it. Sensations create thoughts, thoughts create worries and worries create struggle and sometimes just watching the sensations without judging them can be the solution. Our body creates many visible and non-visible sensations while we stammer and if we could be aware of these sensations it can be a way out for our struggles with stammer. Stammering also creates very strong aversions with our past experiences. Vipassana also helps us in getting rid of it.                        
              
I tried my best to explain my experiences but still I know it very clearly, what I have experienced there is literally impossible for me to convert it into the words. If you want to know what I am talking about, you have to go there and experience it yourself.

Thanking you.

8 comments:

Dinesh said...

Very well and cleary explained.
Thanks a lot Parmendra.

Recently, 1 month back, I had sent my mother who is 60 years old to Vippassana. She came out with lot of happiness with improved health and with clarity in her thoughts.
The astonishing fact is that she could easily follow and feel all the experiences shared by Parmendra and yes meditate for 10hrs per day!!
Currently, my brother is sitting in one of the ongoing Courses! :-)
Mine is planned in Chennai (Oct 31 to Nov10)!!!

I can only salute the great Gautama Buddha for the treasure that he has left for us. Everyone should stake claim to this treasure..

sachin said...

Yes- it is an amazing and powerful experience.. and so easily available..!

j jasbir singh said...

Our biggest problem is we always try to live either in the past or future. Never in the present. Multiplying our problems with sad past memories and future imaginations. Vipassana teaches to remain in the present.Our mind further gets clear that nothing happens in this world without a reason. We take birth due to our sanskaras only. At last I would say Vipassana can only be experienced, which is difficult to explain. I have taken two vipassana courses and is planning third in october. I have benefitted. I recommend to spare 10 days and undergo the course. It is worth.

honestindian123456 said...

Dear all,
I completed 4 vipassana courses,but i never had problems with food (even outside my state). (ACTUALLY ABOUT VIPASSANA centre I FELT THAT I AM LIVING IN MY HOME WITH INTENSIVE CARE FOR ME). Neither i heard of such food problems before. I sent my father (54 years of age worked in police department for 34 years) for Vipassana course.as he always dealt with crimes and criminals with no fixed hours/duration of duty, sufficient sleep at proper times,no meals/breakfast at proper time.he became short tempered. (As He Strictly Followed Every rule,NATURE rewarded him with peace,Harmony,Happiness ,Silence. His Such a Melodious,happy,calm and quiet voice,which i heard first time in entire life) His firth Sentence after 10 days of NOBLE silence was "THE PURPOSE OF MY BIRTH IS COMPLETED"after listening this I cried, I Realized that I did great thing for my father.the best which any son can do for his father.
About food he told that in his entire life time he never had such a nutritious food.even my experience is also the same.Every body should note one thing that if we break rules during vipassana course knowingly/unknowingly.then we will not get the benefits.And if we follow rules with all dedication,Persistence,patience and courage THEN NO ONE IN THIS WORLD CAN STOP THE IMMENSE,IMMEASURABLE BENEFITS OF VIPASSANA MEDITATION because of which that meditation has survived for 2500 years of History.Murders cried after doing vipassana in Tihar Jail (The Biggest Prison of India,Where Permanent Vipassana Meditation Center is Opened).
just thought to share because i read surprisingly negative about Vipassana.
Breakfast And Lunch Is Nutritious And unlimited (We can take from our own hands as much as we want and whatever we want out of available items). Only Dinner is small which helps to get concentrated Sleep and assist in better Meditation.(Those who are habitual with luxurious life styles have to struggle little bit more.)
There is only One Best free thing in this world that is Vipassana Meditation.
thanks victory

Anonymous said...

PART1
Dear all,
I completed 4 vipassana courses,but i never had problems with food (even outside my state). (ACTUALLY ABOUT VIPASSANA centre I FELT THAT I AM LIVING IN MY HOME WITH INTENSIVE CARE FOR ME). Neither i heard of such food problems before. I sent my father (54 years of age worked in police department for 34 years) for Vipassana course.as he always dealt with crimes and criminals with no fixed hours/duration of duty, without sufficient sleep at proper times,no meals/breakfast at proper time.he became short tempered. (As He Strictly Followed Every rule during vipassana meditation,NATURE rewarded him with peace,Harmony,Happiness ,Silence. His Such a Melodious,happy,calm and quiet voice,which i heard first time in entire life) His firth Sentence after 10 days of NOBLE silence (avoiding speaking except to teacher) was “THE PURPOSE OF MY BIRTH IS COMPLETED”after listening this I cried, I Realized that I did great thing for my father.the best which any son/Daughter can do for his/her father.
About food he told that in his entire life time he never had such a nutritious food.even my experience is also the same.Every body should note one thing that if we break rules during vipassana course knowingly/unknowingly intentionally/unintentionally.then we will not get all the benefits.And if we follow rules with all dedication,Persistence,patience and courage THEN NO ONE IN THIS WORLD CAN STOP THE IMMENSE,IMMEASURABLE BENEFITS OF VIPASSANA MEDITATION because of which that meditation has survived for 2500 years of History.

Anonymous said...

part2
Murders cried after doing vipassana in Tihar Jail (The Biggest Prison of India, Where Permanent Vipassana Meditation Center is Opened).
just thought to share because i read surprisingly negative about Vipassana.
Breakfast And Lunch Is Nutritious And unlimited (We can take from our own hands as much as we want and whatever we want out of available items). Only Dinner is small which helps to get concentrated Sleep and assist in better Meditation. this rule for less dinner was decide on the basis of thorough study, observations, analysis, discussion .and from the feedbacks and true positive, negative experiences of lakhs of meditators(Those who are habitual with luxurious life styles have to struggle little bit more.)
There is only One Best, free of cost thing in this world that can bless and bring revolutionary changes in all aspects of life is Vipassana Meditation.
everybody who want to experience haven on earth, please copy following sentence with quotes and paste in Google search.
"vipassana meditation experiences"
and THEN click on videos. and select video of 15.13 duration. different meditators from different countries and different profession and different religions shares their Vipassana experience on SCREEN.
please copy following sentence with quotes and paste in Google search
"S.N.Goenka ( Palestra- Millennium World Peace Summit - ONU"
and THEN click on videos. and select video of 15.18 duration.
I will not get a single rupee or money for this post. Neither do i expect it. Why i have written this much is i have experienced revolutionary changes in me. Honestly i am enjoying haven on Earth itself. Same experienced by my father... ...Who is no more now. few days Before is death he asked me whether he can be allowed 14 days paid leave for vipassana meditation by government of India AGAIN? But i replied him sadly that the leave is granted once in three years. Then he said Check and read that rule again and find whether any concession/relaxation/exemption/exception is allowed or not?
Even though I was Sure about rule. i old " father dont worry there will be some exemption surely I will check and inform you soon". But my father passed away before getting second opportunity to go for vipassana meditation.
Dear brothers and sisters please note one imp thing that
as these meditation courses are run on donations willing fully given by old students if there is any thing wrong or hidden disadvantage, then they must have felt the shortage of money to continue the courses. But they did not and i am Hundred percent sure that they will never have the shortage of donations.
thanks
victory

avinash sharma said...

i lives in jaipur, please let me know if any vipassana center is here or what are the charges

Glying Shido said...

Vipassana meditation is something very good which help us be mindful all day. I met a guru who practice for over 30years, he is Venerable Vimokkha and did share his teaching in MP3 files in my blog. His teaching is recorded during our Vipassana meditation retreat. Feel free download it for free at:
http://www.kidbuxblog.com/ajahn-wimoak/