Meditation is something every other person is talking about these days. Every person claims to be a guru at showing you the path to enlightenment.Do you fancy a 10 day retreat where you have
- No Friends or Family
- No Internet
- No Telephones
- No Books to read or write
- No Music
- No Talking or gesticulating
- No Dinner
- 10 hours of meditation in a day
Well, I just had such an experience when i attended the Vipassana meditation course in Igatpuri, India. Vipassana is a buddhist meditation technique practiced and taught by S.N Goenka through the Vipassana Centers across the world. Its a 10 day intense meditation course which can have permanent life changing impact on your lives. My 10 days course was not as dramatic though, although I truly had some great experiences that have impacted me.
There are 2 core beliefs which are taught in Vipassana
- Impermanence : Everyone knows that the entire universe is constantly changing. But mere intellectual understanding of this reality does not help; one must experience it within oneself. Everything is ephemeral, arising and passing away every moment.; but the rapidity of the process creates an illusion of permanence. The only way to break this illusion is to learn to explore within oneself and to experience the reality of ones own physical ad mental structure. This is what Siddhartha Gautama did to become a Buddha.
- Equanimity: Once you experience the impermanent nature of things, the next step is to maintain equanimity in things. We all talk about life having its ups and downs. Our problem is that we keep going up and down with life. Once you accept the reality that things are impermanent, you must see things in an equanimous manner. Vipassana is not about having some special or supernatural experience. Rather it is remain equanimous irrespective of your experiences and see things as they are without any craving or aversion towards them.
Vipassana is not a cult or a religion, nor is it linked to any dogma. Its a simple yet extremely powerful technique available to everyone who wishes to gain a deeper understanding of themselves. I had my experience which was very revealing if not liberating. Each one who attends the course takes back with him or her something that they receive during the course. I would recommend it for anyone who wishes to become more self aware. If possible try and do the course in India at the international centre in Igatpuri. The campus is absolutely serene and gorgeous. Living conditions are not great, but you will have a nice and clean place to spend your nights (the rest of the day you are meditating :-). ). The food is purely vegetarian and healthy. Its very indian (minus the spice), however you may still find it difficult to eat it every day if you are not used to it.
All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to my next one. !
You can learn more about Vipassana and the courses and locations by visiting http://www.dhamma.org/