As some of you know, recently I have participated to a 10 days Vipassana meditation course in Nepal. It was enough to say that it would have been a silent experience to attract the attention of both my most spiritual and skeptic friends.
Vipassana it’s a gorgeous technique rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation.
Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
In simple words, it means still seating with focus on body and mind sensations and non-reaction; with still, I mean STILL and with body sensations I mean joy, sadness, excitement, fear, regret, anger, mental (but mostly physical) pain and whatever else in between. The non-reacting action it’s a conditioning exercise for the mind to learn that ANY sensation is temporary, no matter its’ strength or length.
The technique is taught at a residential course during which the meditators are asked to follow the Code of Discipline, learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results.
The course requires hard, serious work but the benefits are numerous; these below are the 10 reasons why I suggest everyone trying at least ones in their lifetime:
I learnt how to abstain from killing any being (1st code of moral) – being vegan helped, but I realized that bugs and mosquitoes are not only annoying animals, they are living beings and I should at least respect their lives. To regards to ants, we are cool; I loved their company during the umpteenth silent meal.
I learnt how to abstain from stealing (2nd code of moral) – since I was a kid I occasionally stole objects from bars and when I grew up those objected became vodka bottles. I am proud of saying that now I have now eradicated this instinct of mine forever.
I learnt how to value sexual activities (3rd code of moral is to abstain from it during the course) – it is impressive to think how lots of times we pleasure our bodies in situations and with people that are not worth of mention.
I learnt how to abstain from telling lies (4th code of moral) – the human nature, and especially Italians’ nature, is to exaggerate and pimp our experiences and stories, or to change, deceive, or unspeak the truth to stir the others to do what we want. I am not longer doing this and I am sorry for having it done in the past.
I learnt how to abstain from all intoxicants (5th code of moral) – with a past of excessive partying and ignorance on food, it has been quite easy for me to poison by body. I don’t longer want to do it; my mind is clear and calm and there is no better feeling.
I learnt how to be patient – with myself, my body and with the others. Rushed life is overrated, slow life is the way to go.
I learnt how to practice equanimity – any sensation or feeling is temporary so I shall not react to them with negativity.
I learnt how to take my time away from social medias and other gadgets – our lives have become saturated with inputs and ruled by ways to be connected to others. But are we connected to ourselves?
I learnt how to forgive and let go – a person that is insulted by another can be insulted only once or everyday of her/his life if she/he keeps thinking about that unpleasant fact day in and day out.
Finally, I learn the meditation of loving kindness towards all, which I am still working on cause it’s such a different concept from what I have ever encountered before but I am confident it will work fairly enough even outside the center.
For the time being, I am addressing it, first of all to, S.N. Goenka, that signs like a bird and encourages you like a grandfather, to the volunteers that washed my toilet and fed my belly and to the people I cross path with in my life to this point. For the remaining ones, be patient, I’ll get there.
If you want more info on Vipassana meditations, please check their website; centers are everywhere. Find your location and take care of yourself.