Early in October 2022, I had a ten days mind-blowing experience with the Vipassana mediation course. It was not an easy course. I sat for almost 11 hours in ten days with two and a half meals daily (breakfast, lunch and a tea break before 5 pm). However, it was an indescribable spiritual experience, and I felt refuged and at peace by the end of the course. In this article, I will share what Vipassana is, why I attended the course and the changes I experienced throughout and after the course.
What is Vipassana?
Based on dhamma.org, Vipassana means to see things as they are. It is one of the most ancient meditation techniques passed down by Gautama Buddha. It is a practical meditation technique to be used in our daily life. The technique emphasises following the law of nature (Dhamma). Thus, without any visualisation or vocalisation, meditation uses our body as a tool. We observe our natural breathing and body sensation during the meditation.
This is what a day in the Vipassana course looks like:
4:00am Morning wake-up bell
6:30am-8:00am Breakfast break
8:00am-9:00am Group meditation
11:00am-12:00pm Lunch break
12:00pm-1:00pm Rest and interviews w/ teacher
2:30pm-3:30pm Group meditation
5:00pm-6:00pm Fruit and tea break
6:00pm-7:00pm Group meditation
7:00pm-8:15pm Teacher’s Discourse
8:15pm-9:00pm Group meditation
9:00pm-9:30pm Question time
9:30pm Retire to your room–lights out
Why I attended Vipassana Course?
I attended the course mainly to understand equanimity and find enlightenment and life clarity to uproot my melancholy. In early 2022, I heard about Vipassana from my life coach. I was undergoing his coaching to walk through my depression and life problems. The coaching sessions went well, and I put in the effort to heal myself. I witnessed my development. However, I still feel unknown depression and melancholy in my heart and mind.
One day, my coach shared with me the concept of equanimity and told me: “I could never save you from your sufferings. You need to build your own tools to help yourself. Tools that will sustain you for your entire life. Equanimity is one of them.” I did not understand the concept of equanimity even after the explanation. Hence, I decided to attend the Vipassana mediation course myself to experience equanimity under my coach’s encouragement.
What I Have Learned and the Changes
The most powerful lesson I learned from the course is suffering comes from our desire and cravings to change what it is. One of the factors that contributed to my depression was my anger and depression raised from witnessing the sufferings of the environment and people due to unwholesome human deeds on the planet. I was so eager to change. I wanted to change the system and world to save the planet. I allowed the desire to change to multiply and harm me. Hence, I was trapped. I do not mean that change is not good.
A change is negative when it happens from imbalance and uncompassionate minds. It is as it is. Believe in the power of nature. What we need to do as humans are to look internally, realise our ignorance and observe our sensations objectively to create wisdom. Wisdom will then generate love and compassion. It is how we train ourselves to have a balanced and compassionate mind and heart. There is no way to create wisdom with shortcuts. We must go through the process ourselves and experience it with our sensations.
I will not say that the meditation course changes me into an entirely different person. Physically, the course sharpened my concentration and mind, increasing my productivity in work and life. Mentally, I could feel a powerful strength planted inside me. Like a tree, a healthy tree system stems from the root. The course helps me to find my root and anchor the root more deeply into the earth. I could feel stability and calm inside me, enabling me to nourish myself with presence and harmony. My melancholy reduced, and I have a lighter mind and body. I am turning myself into greener leaves.
May all beings be happy!
For more information about the meditation course, visit: https://www.dhamma.org/en/index