“I want to get out of here”.
These were the very words that hovered over my mind constantly for the first three days of the Vipasanna meditation. I could feel severe pain on my right shoulder blade while sitting even in the most comfortable position (for Vipasanna one does not need to be in a certain standardized posture. Any posture that is comfortable to you, you can assume that posture).
As the almost horrifying three days subsided, we entered into the real Vipasanna where we had to concentrate on our bodily sensations, be aware of them but not react to them at all. And as we used to be in the process of feeling the sensations in our body, the meditation would be punctuated by sudden (for me it was always alarming) chanting of mantras (in Pali language) by Sri Satya Narayan Goenka.
As days passed by, I thought I was the only one who was sent to Sunyagar (meditation in complete isolation) one day for my own imagined reasons. I had this feeling that perhaps it was my waywardness, or not practicing Arya Maun (Noble Silence) and simply laughing or smiling at my co-Sadhikas orSadhaks. I thought I was being sent to solitary confinement and remembered Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for 27 years. To my utter amusement, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who was put in Sunyagar. It is their ritual there at Vipasanna that people are sent to these cells for an hour or two to meditate in complete isolation and pitch darkness. For me, it was far from complete isolation. I mean, who could be in peace and not have horrific imaginations when put in a dark cell not even 8 sq. feet!
My genuine feelings
Sitting down for hours at a stretch in meditation was the most painful experience for me. We could barely change our positions or posture, close our eyes and meditate. For the most part, my mind (a monkey mind) wandered far and wide rather than being aware of my bodily sensation at the current point of time.
Anyway, Vipasanna did teach me a lot of things and helped me re-discover things that I used to hold in my sub-conscious mind.
The fact that Vipasanna follows the rule of nature inspired me a lot. I, too, am a person who regards nature as the supreme “commander” (for lack of a better word) and Dharma is simply following the rules of nature and nothing more or less than that. So, the ten days at the center reinforced the beliefs already existing in me, gave me a new vantage point to look at life and transform myself into an entirely different personality. It taught me even-mindedness both in pain and in gain.
Vipasanna, to my humble opinion, is something which every individual should do at least once in her or his lifetime. It’s definitely a unique experience, if not a life-challenging one.
Sab ka mangal, mangal, mangal ho!“ (I wish only the best for all)