Vipassana can be translated to the word Insight.
Vipassana is a way to create clear awareness of what is really (t)here – in the moment. I experienced Vipassana a useful tool to use in daily life to be able to keep my focus – whatever is in my surroundings or what happens in life, it is all in me. Vipassana is not a trick or a tool. It is a way of being present of what is already happening.
Recently I did my second 10 days – Vipassana in Barcelona whilst working remote in this beautiful city.
It was everything I have in me; a beautiful journey (not!) flowing from moment to moment distorted by sensations and distractions. Understanding that it is totally fine, coming back to my breath and enjoying the moment.
For the ones that do not know Vipassana; Vipassana is a technique that has actively been passed on by Gautama Buddha. He used this technique on his way to purification of the mind and to become enlightened and fully liberated. However, the technique is not tied to Buddhism nor it is a religion, it is ‘just’ a way of observing your body to see what is truly (t)here through the means of the breath.
There are 10, 30 and more days to do a course. I found my first 10 day’s three years ago pretty challenging. So a 2nd course of 10days was good enough for me. In this 10 days students are segregated by sexuality, meaning men and women sit apart and there is a rule to observe Noble Silence. To observe means that any form of communication with other students are prohibited. Also no gestures, knodding to eachother or bumping (per accident) is a no-go. All this to really go into the Vipassana technique that centers around the idea of one; experience the sensation in your body. A lot of people are really really (really!) shocked about the 10-day silence, but I like it very much to be with myself for a few days. No-one bothering you for (minor) details again and again and again 🙂 . I believe this is (such a) present.
Going back to the senses is going beyond concepts; labels of feelings and “memories”.
The technique consists of three parts, Anapana breathing, then the actual Vipassana technique and then giving the soothing Meta meditation. Which I will probably elaborate on in a later stage.
Ofcourse I can make anekdotes on my experiences by telling you how – in my half lotus pose – my feet where sleeping and my legs went numb. Or how many times I did not sit in half lotus pose and how I changed my pose in my daily 10-hours sit for-ever. Or I can tell you the times I had to rang the gong at 4 o’clock in the morning for us ladies and how it triggered my perfectionism already in the morning.; that the fear of not being able to rang the gong kept me up for the first few nights. Haha now I can have a great laugh about it, but then I was terrified. If it wasn’t that quiet, I would probably never had seen my thoughts about it.
But I believe that the best way to experience Vipassana is to practice yourself. Everyone has such a different body and objects to observe and experience.
But to understand how the technique works I can explain it best as follows;
Have you ever tried to push a plastic Box in a pool of water ?
It will come back to the surface, hard and could even splash out of the water.
Let’s say that you are the water and you sense a ripple in the water.
Observing this ripple, knowing that all is temporary, is Vipassana.
These ripples are triggered by objects. In this case the plastic box.
Actually, I used to think that the ripples are caused by outside objects like that plastic box, but after seeing a conversation between Deepak Chopra and Sadhguru, I was a bit puzzled. As they were stating that what I sense, is my perception and is I.
I guess that if you have never heard of these concepts, written above, you are puzzled too by now. Haha
But to summarize, what I got from it now. (So yes my understanding might develop in the future again), is that the ripples are always there through the breath. And that objects can trigger this ripple to become a small or big wave.
But that the wave is depending on what is in us, identicate with what we think caused this wave.
If I think about it – it can be true, as one object can trigger pain within me, but not within my neighbours’.
This wave of pain (and can also be a wave of pleasure) is created by the identification of the object. So the identification of the wave is equal to the identification of the object. In this case identification of the Plastic Box.
You just lala-lo-ve this plastic box to be there cause you see some benefits, and sensations are welcoming ones. But if you just think that this plastic box is the worst that could happen to you, you would be avoiding this or pushing it down when it keeps on coming back to you.
That you cannot selectively push feelings down is a whole nother subject (watch the Tedtalk of ‘Power of Vulnerability’), but the essence of this narrative is that once you are identified with this object, you will create memories or thought patterns that allow you to either grasp or to avoid it (desire).
These two sides, avoiding and grasping makes the so called suffering and misery. Holding on to things that are not you/I.
Yes, I also think this is kinda complex. But if I would summarise in one sentence; nothing real can’t be threatened, nothing unreal exists – would you get it and let go this concept of Vipassana ?
When practising Vipassana I am understanding that at one point these plastics actually are really not there/you on the moment that I sense. It is just the ripples that are effected by the environment, letting the external circumstances decide on how I feel/how big y wave is.
And from there you can just let the senses be, not grasping to the object that is not there and choose from freedom. Easy peasy 🙂 NOT!!!!!
They say that (as I mentioned in my other blogs about meditation in Japan) that 2 hours of meditation each day will cultivate, less is just maintenance.
I will challenge myself to do the 2 hours a day. With a full schedule of work which I totally love, friends and family, I already identifying with these obejcts and that the ripples already turning into waves. But I guess that this would be a good challenge to start with.
P.s. If you did not understand one thing of my explanation, you can also try a 10-day course yourself. It is donation based course, so you are not restricted to your means. Let me know if you went!