I have been toying with the idea of doing a ten day Vipassana course since long time. Then the urge started getting very strong and I signed up for the January second half.
We had to reach the place by 3 pm on the previous day. I got a double room and my room mate was a 1st year Ayurveda course student. We reached the room and just arranged our things. There was hardly any time to talk to her before the gong sounded for the evening tea. Afterwards the instructions for the next ten days was given and they announced that the course just started, which meant no more communication with each other, through talking, sign language or eye contact. We were expected to move around with down cast eyes. The areas for male and female were totally separated. Then we had our first meditation session. In the hall that could accommodate about 100 people, the vibration was great and the mind was not wandering during the meditation.
Next morning, at the sound of the gong, we got up at 4 am and got ready, packing ourselves with warm clothes and went for the meditation at 4.30 am. It lasted till 6.30, drowsiness was a problem during this two continuous hours. The gong sounded at 6.30 and we were off to the dining hall for the breakfast. Coming to the room my room mate and I did our morning rituals systematically and I was really astonished that without verbal communication also how we could function so easily and efficiently.
From 8 am to 11 am the next meditation session, every one and a half hours we were given five minutes ‘rest’ period when we could stretch ourselves and drink water. Delicious lunch was served at 11 o’clock. Well, it was not delicious for every body because it was not oily or spicy food. During the free time till the next meditation session at 1 o’clock, my room mate and I chose to have a nap. I am not one who takes naps, but after sitting continuously for meditation, one just wants to stretch on the bed and then naturally the sleep God takes over.
From one o’clock to 5 pm was the longest session of the day, with of course five minutes rest period in between. The evening fruit and tea was at five and after that we could walk around in the restricted area. From 6 to 9 pm again it was meditation, with one hour presentation of Shri S N Goenka in between. The presentation explained the philosophy of Vipassana and gave instructions for the meditation technique for the next day. The fact that no dinner was served (exceptions for medically compromised participants) was a difficult situation for many.
There were ladies above 60 years of age on my left side, and to my right were foreign participants. The old ladies had tough time sitting in the same posture for long time and kept on shifting. But to my surprise, by fourth and fifth day, they could sit in cross legged position for one hour stretches. Some of the foreign participants were yoga practitioners, so it was a joy to see them sitting like sadhus for the meditations.
The first four days were comparatively boring, since we were being trained to develop the sensitivity to the bodily sensations. Fifth day onwards it was amazing for me. After all these years of preparations in different aspects of spirituality, I felt as if I got at last the missing link! It was a different first hand experience to see clearly how one creates the web of Maya around oneself, and an exhilarating sense of relief to obtain the method to stop creating new karmic knots, and also to gradually keep opening the old karmic knots. I got the technique, now it is in my hands to walk the path and reach the final goal.
On the ninth day morning the vow of silence was over. We were instructed not to touch one another, even though we could now talk. I could understand why it was so; the energy that had built up in our system due to the silence was so much that some time was needed for its proper assimilation. It is unimaginable how much energy we conserve by remaining silent. In other words, what a tremendous amount of energy is wasted every moment by needless conversations and thoughts!
I reached my room and in a few seconds, one of the foreign participants, from an island near
It was not easy to stay in isolation from the outside world for ten days, but every moment spent there was worth it. Now I got the essence of living, the proper technique to deal with day to day ups and downs. I got the first hand experience of the tremendous energy and power within us. One needs to just delve inside, to draw the energy; there is no need to keep hugging others for the sole purpose of extracting their energy!