Posted by: Alicia Phillips | August 27, 2013

Vipassana Meditation

When was the last time you sat on the floor cross-legged? For how long? One hour? Two hours? How about 10 hours. How would you like to do it for 10 hours a day for 10 days straight? And on top of that, you’re not allowed to speak a word to anyone, no eye contact, no gestures, no touching, no interaction of any kind. Oh yeah, you also can’t read books, or write in your journal, listen to music, or do any sort of exercise other than walking….not even yoga.

Sounds pretty awful, huh? Well this is exactly what I just did in Thailand. I signed up for a 10 day Vipassana meditation course. Why would I do this voluntarily you may wonder? Good question. I have heard amazing things about this course from a handful of friends who have done it in the past. But they couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me exactly what it was they did. They just say it was one of the best things they have ever done, a turning point in their lives, helped them out of a hard time, learned a lot about themselves, etc. It made me curious. So I went online to do a little research. I wasn’t able to get a lot of information about it, nothing that told me exactly what happens during the course. So I though, “Why not? I’ll give it a try. I can do anything for 10 days. Sign me up!”

The center was in the middle of no where, 7 hours from Bangkok, in the middle of a national park. Very gorgeous but the whole ride there I was wondering how the hell I was going to leave if I decide it’s not what I want to do! (You don’t, that’s kind of the whole point.) So I head to registration, they give me my room key and then tell me I have to turn in my phone, tablet, any reading materials, journals, i pods, and valuables. I would get them back at the end of the course. So I do, then I head to my room. In my room was a daily timetable. I see that it has me waking up at 4am every morning, meditating a total of 10 hours a day, and no dinner, only fruit and tea at 5pm. Lights out at 10pm. Literally all I am to be doing is eating, sleeping, and meditating. Oh shit.

But here I am, I made it though. And all I am going to say about the course is that it was amazing. You learn 2 types of meditation, and at the end of everyday there is a discourse that talks a bit about technique and purpose. Like I said, I’m not going to talk about what we did, just in case there is someone out there who is contemplating doing a Vipassana and is reading this post. I don’t want them to go into it with any expectations, only an open mind and determination. It’s all about what you feel and experience. You don’t want to be comparing your experience with anything you’ve heard about.

I will say however that it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. And I will definitely be doing more courses in the future. I will also say that it is painful. Sitting for so long without moving is painful, but that’s all part of the purpose. It’s also very difficult mentally, you get in deep. And at the end of the day you’re exhausted and sleep hard.

Although it is a Buddhist meditation technique discovered by Gautam Buddha more than 2,500 years ago, it is not a religious practice. Religion isn’t mentioned at all. People from all over the world, practicing all different religions use Vipassana meditation. You only focus on yourself during it. Looking inwards and doing some really cool shit. I did have to assure my mother before I did it that I would not be becoming a Buddhist. Ha!

Here is how it went for me:

Day One:

After the first sitting

Day Three:

Day Six:

berry-break-32-9

Day Nine:

berry-break-33-14

Day Ten: 

da-mo-92

 

If you’re interested in hearing more about it, send me an email at alicia.phillips01@gmail.com

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