vipassana meditation: why you should spend ten days in silence

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Vipassana Meditation why you should spend ten days in silence

I dont practice Vipassana meditation, leaning towards more concentration-based techniques instead, but I think vipassana is an excellent meditation technique for beginners and everyone should do a ten-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. Make no mistake; this ten-day course will be among the most demanding endeavors of your life (see the rigorous daily schedule here).

Just sitting with your spine erect for eleven hours a day can be a challenge, now add complete silence and two sparse meals a day to it, and youre guaranteed some level of physical and emotional agony. Yet, Ive completed three courses in the last ten years and am now committed to doing one each year. Youll learn the proper way to meditate in the course but youll also learn more as follows

Youll get at-least one great insight about an area youre struggling with in life.Id been trying to crack the premise forThe Seekerfor a couple of years but wasnt making much progress despite many fits and starts. Then, Kerry and I stopped in Dhamma Atala, the Vipassana center in Italy, while backpacking from Europe to India duringour sabbatical.

Our goal was to learn a proper meditation techniques for beginners, not think of book ideas, but on the fifth night of the course, the whole story of The Seeker came to me in a flash. And I immediately knew it was the right idea to pursue. I attribute it to the elimination of all noisechatting, reading, exercising, everythingenabling disjointed subconscious thoughts to connect into

a coherent whole. This burst of insight doesnt happen just for tangible questions. After my next vipassana course in Kohlapur six months later, I quit drinking and became a vegetarian for good. I hadnt been thinking of diet explicitly but somewhere deep down Id been bothered by my drinking for years. The silence just made it burst onto the surface.

Youll be deeply touched by peoples generosity, changing you for the better.Im not a particularly emotional person but I found myself in tears on the tenth day of the course struck suddenly by the knowledge that all ten days were paid for by peoples generosity. Yes, vipassana is completely free. You dont pay for food, lodging, the beautiful surroundings, teachings, even transportation to the retreat in some places, nothing.

Theres no hard-sell to solicit donations after and no attempt to convert you into any religion or ideology. For ten days, youre just taught meditation techniques for beginners with complete sincerity with no expectation of return. The dhamma humbles you, turns you into a monk with a begging bowl, grateful for whatevers given, not judging or expecting something from every transaction.

Youll learn the proper way to meditatein a way youll never learn elsewhere.As I said, I dont practice vipassana meditation since the technique of observing the breath is a little too dry for me. Yet, I credit the first vipassana course I did almost fifteen years ago in Dharamsala as the foundation of my spiritual life. The theory behind vipassana

observing the constant state of flux your body and mind are in to realize theres no permanent Iis scientific and robust. The no-nonsense, non-sectarian, non-religious video discourses expounding the science of meditation at the end of each day are a welcome relief from the soft, hippie-ish talk of vibrations, chakras, and energy fields in most modern meditation classes.

All in all, even if you experiment with other techniques as I did after, youll learn the foundations of meditation that reinforce the old yoga adage that the paths are many but the truth is one. All spiritual and religious traditions are fingers pointing to the same moon.

Youll meet your people.What is it about seekers after truth? Were all cut from the same cloth, a couple of shades different from the world of men and hobbits. You stay silent for nine out of ten days in vipassana. On the tenth day, you can talk for a few hoursand immediately you meet people who understand you better than people youve known all your life.

Im still friends with a French writer and an Indian banker I met in Vipassana in Dharamsala and Kohlapur respectively. A Krishna-Bhakt from Slovenia I met in vipassana in Italy became an inspiration for one of my favorite characters in The Seeker. Others have drifted in and out of touch but left a glimmer of a memory behind in a way few people do.

Youll realize what a dark place your mind isI did my second ten-day course after practicing meditation 2x a day for a few months. I thoughtId become calmerand would sail through the ten days of silence. But once again, I found my mind in a similar chaos, thinking of how X or Y had failed me, remembering past humiliations, constructing elaborate future fantasies of wanting to be

the worlds #1 bestselling novelist, worrying that my father was having a heart attack (he hasnt had one in twenty years), and so on. And each day was still a torture, still the same mathematical calculation3 days over, only 70% left to go; now 50%, now 40% etc. So much for spiritual progress!

yet a glimpse of a solution emerges.Westerners often find Buddhist philosophy with its assertive life isdukkha declaration pessimistic. On the contrary, I find much to cheer in how clearly it states an irrevocable truth. Life indeed, as characterized by all of our experiences, is full of anguish and incompleteness. Yet, a solution, a path to completeness exists.

In that sense, the ten-day course is a microcosm of the Buddhist world-view. The mental agitation one feels in the silence is counter- balanced by the growing knowledge that a state of complete bliss exists. How do you access it? I encourage you to spend ten days in silence to find out!

You can sign up for a vipassana course here. And if this inspires you to meditate, dont forget to sign up for my free meditation video course, Kerrys nutrition guide, and a free preview of three chapters of The Yoga of Maxs Discontenthere. Yes, just like vipassana, theyre free

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