Vipassana means to see things as they really are and originates from India.
It is said that it is the most pure technique and that Buddha has used it to become enlightened, 2.500 years a go.
The Vipassana that is widely known as a 10-day silent retreat and that I have followed is taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
*** Before reading any further; If you are looking for research material to decide on if you want to go or not. Don’t read any further, just skip to the packing list blog and go :).
If you do want to read further on the details on the Vipassana technique, go ahead. I tried to keep it as informative as possible yet not to give a lot of details on my experiences. The reason is that every (and I did 3 courses by the time editing this post) time you go into the Vipassana, it is a different experience with different result. It is in no way possible to compare with others, let a lone with a former experience of yourself.
What is a 10-days Vipassana sit?
Vipassana is not a trick or a tool. It is a way of being present of what is already happening.
And well, of course I can make anekdotes on my experiences by telling what really happened.
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 that I had the favour of ranging the gong to wake-up our group at 4 a.m. in the morning.
And of course about the times I was imagining myself that I would oversleep and would not be able to rang the gong. Which – ofcourse – kept me up for the first few nights.
Now, I can have a great laugh about it, but back then I was terrified.
But on the other side, I have had beautiful experiences in what the technique tries to teach; observe with an equanimous mind. I could see my worries and thoughts and ‘just’ let it go. I even had the experience of just breathing not interfering one drop.
I realised how it would have been when I just landed on mother earth.
It left me feeling alive. Alive and present.
It was everything; an interesting journey, 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.
So what is it ?
Vipassana is a way to create clear awareness of what is really (t)here – in the moment. I still experience Vipassana a useful tool to use in daily life to be able to keep and strengthen my focus – whatever is in my surroundings or what happens in life, it is all in my mind.
There are retreats with 10, 20 and more days. 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 each-other or bumping into each other 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. I believe this is (such a) present.
Vipassana is one of the meditation technique that has been said to actively been passed on by Gautama Buddha 2.500 years ago. 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.
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.
In the technique you will work with the law of nature, the law that everything changes and you do not need to hold on one bit as life will unfold.
Easy peasy 🙂
And afterwards? Well they say that (as in my blog about meditation in Japan) 2 hours of meditation each day will cultivate, less is just maintenance.
Guess what I am doing?
P.s. If you’re gonna do a 10-day course yourself, please tag me in your message on IG or let me know. I will be cheering along your way!