How very Vipassana
on Jen does Delhi with VSO (India), 12/Nov/2010 09:51, 34 days ago
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Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USX-NONEX-NONE/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; text-align:justify; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}Recently I went on aVipassanameditation course. I was expecting 10 days of no speaking but as it sometimes happens in India what is supposed to happen just doesn’t. You can read about what should happen on fellow vol and friendIzzy’s blog! We both agreed I was a bit unlucky though in the end the result was pretty much the same.I arrived at the centre and immediately hit it off with S. who like another 5 Western women on the course lived inRishikeshand hung out learning all about yoga and other spiritual practices. We wondered if we’d be able to remain incommunicado for 10 days and we agreed we’d have to avoid eye contact. We drove out of town through the hills behind Dehradun and arrived at the centre. After Chai and chatting we proceeded to take instructions and started our silence.Up at 4am the next morning we started the regime of 10 hours meditation a day which was to become strangely enjoyable after a few days. What was not so much fun though rather entertaining was one woman screaming in the mediation hall amidst the rest of us concentrating on our breath. This happened again on day 3. Also one elderly woman had been admitted who chatted to herself throughout and clearly wasn’t in a fit state to participate. On day 5 after the constant talking of some participants got to me I talked to the onsite doctor. I was informed the elderly woman was dropped off by her husband. With a lack of welfare services here he probably just wanted a form of respite care. By the end of the 10 days the women were all looking after her and I suspect she was suffering from Alzheimers.The mediation went well despite the lack of silence. On day 5 I tried really hard to have a quiet day. It worked until 8:05am when 5 minutes into mediation the doctor passed me some decongestant pills I’d requested. Wait until perhaps I had my eyes open? Not here in India where rules are all so important but in reality always broken. Ho hum.The evening of day 5 saw a change in the group dynamics when so much talking was going on the old Western students who had done courses in the US and Europe also gave up. We all happily talked to each other outside of meditation sessions in snatched conversations. One who understood more Hindi than I told me the screaming woman thought she had been possessed by demons and on day 3 they had left her body through her nose. By day 6 amongst the insanity I’d given up on silence too. A shame considering I was really enjoying any quiet time I actually got. By then I was getting it and we’d been given mediation cells in the pagoda on site. A relief as every time we had leafy greens for lunch the men would fart their way through the afternoon.Around this time the hours of cross-legged concentration kicked in and clarity struck. Vipassana can reveal spooky sensations. Things come up from your past that you had forgotten. The smell of the local library’s highly polished floor at aged 8. The dress you wore when visiting the senior school on an open dayat age 11. Amongst the inconsequential, the stuff you wanted to forget comes up. The idea is you meditate so deeply the feelings you dealt with using logic can be felt at a deeper level. The trick then is to deal with them at this level of subconscious and truly get rid of them. It sounds a bit pop psychology but it works. It's what makes 10 days of insanity all worth it. Each person has a unique experience and people who attend regularly report feeling differently each time. It’s reported that often people leave with a changed world view or a heightened perspective of the world. They’ve even tailored a special course for executives enabling people to rid themselves of pointless negativities andsubsequentlyenhancing their performance. What is clear is only the brave or the mad do this but we all come out the better for it.