This is part two of my Vipassana Meditation 10 Day Retreat. There were 42 men and 40 women, 4 assistant teachers all effectively separated from any kind of contact to practice “noble silence” with no contact of any kind. We each had private rooms and baths with one main meditation hall for us all. The experience was to begin to train our minds. Our minds were described as resembling wild horses with much power and it was our job to ever so slowly and patiently train our minds to focus. We were taught to stay in a seated position and keep bringing our attention on the air moving in and out of our nostrils. Sitting quietly like this for 10 hours, with breaks and meals periodically, is no easy task however easily doable by following directions.
Day 4 we were taught that our bodies are merely gatherings of very small particles spinning rapidly, which is an accurate description of all matter at the microphysics level. Our bodies are constantly changing from the time we are born until now. Our minds, the wild horses, will create cravings of pleasant experiences and aversions of not so pleasant experiences. The cravings and aversions are all based on past experiences or imagined futures and that is what keep us from being fully present in the moment. We were taught that the cravings and aversions live in our tissues and keep our bodies moving, twitching, aching etc. The whole exercise of silent meditation is to allow our bodies to release the cravings and aversions without reacting to them at all.
The next step after focusing on the breath we were then taught to, eyes closed, scan our bodies mentally from head to toe and back again and again. Each time a sensation grabbed us we were taught to observe the sensation only.
“Vipassana” means to see things as they really are. Simply observe. Don’t crave, don’t avoid. Observe things as they really are.
We then had moments of complete freedom from cravings and aversions, this is what Goenka referred to as sitting in “perfect equanimity”. “Perfect equanimity” is achieved by knowing that nothing in life is permanent, especially our bodies. During the teaching part he said that at least 50 times. This gave us the freedom to let go of our attachments in the moment. When we are free of our attachments and cravings what’s left is a peaceful, gratitude filled heart.
Day 7 we were introduced to “strong determination” meditation. This is where you sit perfectly still for 3 one-hour periods in the day. No itching, shifting, posture moving, nothing, sitting perfectly still. By staying focused on the sensations in the moment, the sensations and the cravings that go along with them simply lift out of your tissues.
On Day 10 was the end of the “noble silence” and we were permitted to talk to each other. One of the participants, a previously trained Jesuit priest compared the experience to the biblical notion of “Be still and know that I am God.” Or at least that God dwells within us as our life force. And our bodies, fears and cravings are impermanent.
There is no charge for this experience. Donations are accepted only after one has completed the 10 days and received value. There are now 341 centers in the world; they seem to be doing fine.
Here is the web site for more info:
Peace and Happy New Year.
I now, for the first time in my life have a daily sitting, meditation practice. The 30 minutes I sit for goes by so quickly I hardly notice it. And I do not need to engage in fantasies, plot revenge, or plan my day while I sit.
I simply observe and scan my own ever-changing structure.