Okay I hope the title was not to bland but it is exactly how I felt on a 10 day journey doing my first Vipassana meditation retreat during my closing time in Malaysia. Vipassana ended up being one of the greatest experiences I had in my life by far but I am not one to sugarcoat things. It was also a time period of the ten hardest days of my life. None the less, well worth it and something I would highly recommend to all which is why I am here to share it with the world. Now prior to doing the trial a good friend from high school recommended me to do a blog on this so a big thanks to him for inspiring me to bringing you all the juicy details in today’s blog. It actually helped me to become more observant of the experience before hand taking mental notes throughout the course as you cannot read or write during your stay. For starters let’s describe what Vipassana meditation is or maybe more so meditation in general.
I started meditating at the age of 18 doing a variety of different forms from chakra to reiki to visualization, third eye, candle lit, sun etc. etc. I even tried Vipassana briefly at one point. Meditation is not religious in any form for me but more so one of my spiritual practices. It is the act of becoming aware of one’s breathe that brings awareness and for me was use to clear my mind answering any questions in life in general I had for myself. It was something I used to bring clarity to myself while removing doubt and never had to sit under a tree and chant “auuuuuummmm” to use or understand. Vipassana means “insight” as what the meditation is mostly focused on insight of the inner world inside us examining one’s own body and mind to discover and solve problems that lurk within, to develop unused potential and learning to channel it in a direction for one’s own good and the good of others. It is a trip into one of the scariest places you can go… your own mind! I was at a point in life where I was ready to evolve into a true MASTERMIND. I wanted to develop a strong control of focus over my mind, thoughts and reality. There is a lot of things I was hoping to achieve but the only thing I knew was this experience was going to change me… I just did not know how. So let’s dive right in starting with the rules and timetable.
The ironic part is I did this to escape from the matrix however even here there were rules on top of rules that needed to be followed. Maybe rules are just a part of life who knows. There are 5 rules we were to follow including noble silence. Noble silence was in duration for 10 days were you could NOT speak to anyone, look at anyone or interact with anyone in any way, shape or form. Yes that even means looking at one or even smiling. The five rules to follow consisted of don’t kill ( anything including being conscious to watch out for ants which there were many) don’t steal, don’t lie(which was strange because you could not talk anyways) no intoxication’s in any form and no sexual activity with anyone including yourself haha. I can not tell you how this is for woman but as a man…wow this must have been the most difficult rule! However the woman and man are kept separate from one another outside of meditation hours in the hall not to mention as well. You could talk to the instructors only and even than it was to be kept to a bare minimum. So the schedule went a little like this.
Daily Timetable: The morning bell sounded at 4am every morning. From 4:30-6:30am you had a choice to meditate in the hall or your own room. Breakfast and a rest was between 6:30-8:00am. From 8:00am-9:00 am mediation in the hall. A five minute break was given and than you continue to meditate in the hall or your room until 11am. From 11am-noon is lunch followed by a rest period or interviews with the teacher from noon until 1pm. From 1pm-5pm your meditating a mixture between your room and the hall. Meditation in the hall is required from 2:30-3:30 pm. 5pm-6pm is a break and snack that consist of tea or water with half a apple or one banana. Not refreshing at all! From 6:00pm-7:00pm you meditate in the hall. A short break is given and than from 7:15-8:20pm approximately your watching a learning video by S.N Goenka covering the lesson from the day and briefly of the next to come. With a short break you meditate for half a hour more and 9pm your free to go or ask the teacher questions. By 10pm you must be in bed for the next 6 hours to wake up and do it all over again. Did I also mention the walking area was from no more than 1000 ft? Yea get ready for the 10 toughest days of your life but know you will come out a stronger and better version of you..you already are.
Day 1: The early morning wake up did not bother me much and I am use to 6 hours of sleep a day. Your just getting in the rhythm of things but by the end of the first day your completely exhausted thinking to yourself…“9 more days to go I got this!”
Day 2: You take what feels like a super long nap only to wake up and find out it has only been 10 minutes!!! I am starting to get irritated how slow time is moving and boredom is surely starting to creep in!
Day 3: My Mind: This is a complete waste of time can we please leave?!?! Your mind is bombarding you with excuses and weird day dreams to get you to leave. I had many. One of a imaginary flood coming down the hill forcing me to leave and another that consist of armed robbers raiding the camp.
Day 4: Were not even halfway through yet?? Kill me now! Every little thing begins to irritate me and bored out of my mind would be a understatement. I could not resist hiking, climbing on rocks and literally bouncing off the walls! We finally learn the Vipassana mediation technique after 4 days of preparation.
Day 5: Half way but still feels like a lifetime to go. I begin to realize stuffing my face for lunch does not work as I am still hungry by 5pm. This is going to be a long night.
Day 6: Is it 6:30 am yet..I AM STARVING! If I have to eat one more half a apple with tea for a snack I will lose my cool! Everyone looks extremely physically and mentally exhausted, drained and defeated. Although it made me feel a bit more comfortable knowing I was not the only one I noticed I broke a rule!
Day 7: The experience feels like full on torture on your mind and body. Physical pain from my jaws to my cheeks to my throat are all in excruciating pain! Apparently your past life suffering takes a physical form or more so your mind is manifesting everything you do not want probably to influence you to leave.
Day 8: Constantly daydreaming life outside these walls. A realization of how important your freedom is to you clicks in. I find myself happy to know it will all be over in 2 days and soon realize that it is over 56hrs still left! Back to miserable mode.
Day 9: By this time if not before I have grown to hate sitting, meditating and the old man the keeps talking during the lessons at evening time. Suicide no longer seems like such a bad idea as it pretty much feels like what your doing to yourself.
Day 10: Noble silence ends at 10am and we get our phones back. After learning another new technique of meditation a felling of happiness comes over me. Not sure if it is because it is actually working or because I know I get to get the hell up out of here tomorrow.
10 consist days of persistent, hard working meditation to purify my mind. The reality of daydreaming running like forest gump from the site and not looking back manifested into reality. Leaving out I felt refreshed. Free of anger, confusion and any other emotion stemmed from fear. Day by day I began to realize the profound effects this wonderful technique was doing to me. Day 10 I had a break through. After a rush of anger hit me and I was able to disperse of it my energy felt transformed. It was such a great feeling I can not describe in words and one that can only be experienced by one’s own self. I felt so full of love. Free from my ego. For the first time I felt full control over my mind, I felt like a MASTERMIND. So focused and full of confidence. Again I will not sugarcoat this to be a experience that is easy because IT IS NOT! However if your serious about seeing a change in yourself I can guarantee you will see one…a good one at that. If your interested in signing up head to www.dhamma.org as there are sites all across the globe and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message personally. Cheers! Happy and safe travels to all!- The Archatek