You just have to look at the timetable to understand why it was hard.
Sitting leg crossed for 10 hours a day during 10 days is not something that my knees were very happy about, especially after I have been working standing at the office for over two years now.
Waking up at 4:00 am did not really help either.
However, I had a wonderful time at the Dhamma Paphulla.
There is this popular misconception that meditation is something very pleasant and relaxing, let me tell you that it is not. As a matter of fact, it can be surprisingly exhausting, at least until you get the hold of it.
I did my first course 8 years ago and I thought this one would be much easier. Innocent me. It was like a slap in the face, but still I have no words to describe the benefits I have received from it.
By now you are probably thinking that I have gone nuts.
But believe me when I say that there is nothing crazy about it. It has nothing to do with any sect or religion; there are no rituals or mystical ceremonies involved.
Vipassana meditation is all about you, your mind and your body. The technique is very simple, logical and can be used as a tool to live a happier life. That’s it.
Here is how it works:
The technique is always taught in courses of 10 days, open to anyone, no matter if you are an astrophysicist, a grandmother or a Buddhist monk. No need to be a hippy or a super mystical person to attend to the course.
During this period students cannot go out from the meditation centre or have any contact with the outside world. It is not allowed to talk, use mobile phones, books or any other kind of entertainment.
Walking (in limited areas) is the only physical exercise permitted.
During the first 3 days, the students only practise Anapana, an exercise of mental concentration to prepare the mind for the introduction of Vipassana, which is taught the forth day and practised until the end of the course.
On the tenth day, silence ends and we all look so happy!
|Bronwyn, my lovely (and silent) roommate and Jyothsna, a meditator/software developer|
Just one tip for future new students: Do not worry if instead of inner peace all you find is inner agitation. You would certainly feel like running away after the forth day, don’t do it! This feeling is normal and will eventually pass away, just smile, accept it and everything is going to be all right.
I cannot finish this post without saying thanks to our lovely teachers Mrs.Vani Hardev and Mr. A.S. Murthy, the Dahmma workers, the great Goenka (which always makes me laugh so hard) and the chain of teachers who kept the technique alive since the times of Buhdda.
May all of you be happy!