10 Days of Noble Silence and Meditation at Vipassana
I have been gone for almost two weeks meditating for 10 days at Vipassana in Kelseyville, CA. This was a very transformational experience, but also an extremely difficult one.
Watch the Video HERE.
The first couple of days I felt like I wanted to leave so bad. I wasn’t used to sitting still in one place for so long. I was also tired from waking up at 4am to be in meditation by 4:30am. I felt angry like this type of meditation was completely ridiculous and I didn’t want to do it anymore. At first I thought it was some kind of cult because they wouldn’t let me go running and if I wanted to I could walk slowly in nature. I had made a commitment to myself and others to stay at all costs and get through the pain. So I did.
After the fourth day I sort of eased into the routine, it didn’t get any easier, but the fact that I had acceptance helped some. I started thinking and meditating on some really deep stuff. Every single thing that had ever bothered me came up for healing and release.
Goenka (the founder of Vipassana) taught that people react on a daily basis from the surface level of the mind. When anger, sadness, or any other unpleasant emotional reactions come up the reaction is to lash out. Underneath the surface, in the deeper levels of the mind, are the unhealed roots that continue to feed the fire. These deeper wounds can only be healed through body awareness and meditation. Going within for such an extended period of time has enabled me to uproot some of these deeper roots.
He also teaches that if there is awareness and equanimity present during meditation while feeling the sensations of the body this helps to remove long held patterns. I really learned this through one of the sittings called Adhiṭṭhāna, or Sitting of Strong Determination. In this one hour sitting I tried my very hardest not move at all. This meant I could not change my posture, leg position, open my hands, or my eyes! It was difficult for me because I move very quickly normally and can usually do many things at once, a true multi-tasker. This practice has taught me to move more slowly, be gentler, and really be here now feeling the reality of this moment and not some past emotional pain that has never been healed.
One more thing to note about this kind of meditation is whenever I crave something or yearn for something, this creates misery, or will continue to multiply what they call Sankaras. This is also true if I dislike something then I will again feel misery. Craving and aversion are the root cause for unhappiness. If I am not in the moment living in reality then I am either living in the past or future and have no real chance of being truly happy. Instead it is a good idea to practice equanimity and just observe things objectively having no really strong reaction of like or dislike. This will help to train the mind so I can enjoy true and lasting happiness from within.
Equanimity: is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind.
All in all I am very happy I went to this meditation and will go back again next year around this same time. I may go back in between and serve at some of the three day sittings. This is a great way to maintain my practice and to also help others. If you feel called to do something like this then look up Vipassana in your area there may have one nearby.