5

Vipassana – A Meditative Transformation

Vipassana – A Meditative transformation

Read the previous part Vipassana – The Sensations here

Day 6:

On sixth day the mind traversal was supposed to be done from tip of the head to the toe and then from toe to the tip of head.

I was starting to feel sensations all throughout my body now and many a times the energy would flow like a stream and would hardly have any resistance. The very moment I would love this feeling the stark grumpy baritone voice of Mr. Goenka would pronounce if you are enjoying the speed with which you are able to feel sensations and are able to traverse throughout the body that means you aren’t learning the technique.

He reminded the basic premise – not to enjoy anything – just observe, become aware, be mindful and maintain equanimity.

Day 7:

Focus was now on moving through multiple parts of the body simultaneously. For example – Earlier you were focusing on right arm and left arm one at a time now you were supposed to move through both the arms simultaneously. Continue doing so while moving from head to toe and toe to head. Just in case if you feel any of the part is left, comeback to it and try to concentrate on it individually.

By seventh I noticed that I was sleeping for more than three hours. In fact it didn’t feel like I require it more than that. In the mornings I was all refreshed inspite of less sleep. It was because my mind was getting calm and relaxed.

The critical part of sleep is to do physical and mental repair. By meditating for 11 hours a day for the past six days, the mental repair part was already done. Mr. Goenka even tells in one of the discourses that if you are practicing properly your subconscious mind is well rested and hence will require less sleep.

Photo by Mattia Faloretti on Unsplash

Day 8:

Eighth day you continue doing the same thing from the previous day but alternating between faster traversal and part-by-part movement from head to toe and toe to head. By now you would be able to pass through multiple organs together, even if you don’t feel it that is completely normal. The moments you feel it isn’t free flowing go back to doing part-by-part till the time you cover each part of the body.

I categorically remember during my morning session at 8:00 am I felt something burst internally right in the center of the chest. I felt it all throughout my body in a single go. It lasted for only a couple of seconds but it was so strong that I still remember it.

I discussed the same with the teacher in the afternoon, he told that is completely normal if you are practicing as per the instructions, but he cautioned me of not to be joyous about it and not to begin seeking it. Not every session is same. You might not get the same feel again ever. Some sessions are good compared to others but the learning was to be mindful of each and every one of them with the same perspective.

One more thing I noticed that I was beginning to feel no pain. I was able to sit through every session without any movement of any part. The urge to take a peek at the wall clock was also long gone.

Day 9:

The instructions in the morning session were to try to concentrate and observe sensations internally. If you were experiencing free-flow then you might be able to do internal scans. You could penetrate your body through your chest and exit from back or from left to right and right to left.

Try to control the mind and try different permutations and combinations. Then back again from head to toe and toe to head and then part-by-part.

The best news came during the discourse at the end of the day. Mr. Goenka informed everyone that we have successfully learnt Vipassana and it ends today. For the tenth he said we would be taught the third part of the ten-day Vipassana course. During the tenth we would be allowed to speak to each other…yeah you read it right we would be allowed to interact with each other.

All the dull mimosa pudica (Chui mui plant) faces immediately started glowing like morning sunflowers.

The Tranquil way

Day 10:

‘Mangal Maitri’ – was the last and third part of Vipassana. This day is also referred to as ‘Metta’ day. In the morning session Mr. Goenka teaches us how after learning Vipassana you are full of peace, compassion, love and kindness and why it is necessary that you don’t stop here and try to impart and spread it.

Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t mean to get more people to sign up for the course. It simply meant at the energy level. Simply pray that there is peace, love and kindness throughout your neighborhood and the world.

After that session at around 11:00 am the ‘Noble Silence’ officially ended.

For the first time in my life I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I was too overwhelmed by the feeling of surviving the whole ten days.

Our belongings were returned post lunch on the same day.

I placed my first call to mom. Since birth this was the only time I had not spoken to mom for ten straight days.

Day 11:

After the early morning session and breakfast we were allowed to leave for our places.

I felt refreshed, calm and at peace. With renewed energy I headed home.

For all those who are calm,

For all those who are kind,

For all those who are at peace,

And,

For all those who have successfully completed Vipassana course…

It’s not a Goodbye,

but It’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

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4

Vipassana – The Sensations

Vipassana – The Sensations

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Read the previous part – Vipassana – My Experience here

Mind is the most mischievous of them all. When one is trying to concentrate on a particular thing, it will get distracted and run away to every nook and corner of the world rather than focusing on the task at hand. I wasn’t able to focus on breathing for more than ten seconds in a go. I decided to discuss it with the instructor.

He told, “Its completely normal. People don’t get sensations at all; at least you are getting them for ten seconds. More importantly this technique isn’t about anticipating, just be aware about the present…what you can feel. Everything will come at it’s own pace.”

Day 3:

The focus on third day shifted to sensations on the moustache area – the rectangular area just above the upper lip and below the nostrils.

Sensation was defined as anything you felt like, an itch, perspiration, coolness, dryness, touch of air from breathing, heat and any physical impression you can feel. You were not supposed to create any liking or disliking for any of them. One had to become mindful and aware of them and let it pass.

By third day I realized that there wasn’t any particular need to over stuff oneself with food as the breakfasts and lunches were decent veg food, which was sufficiently nutritious to survive. On the previous two days because of over-eating I was feeling too sleepy and was barely managing through the meditation sessions.

I would slightly open an eye, watch everyone…many of them with an annoyed expression while some of them into deep meditation, keep checking the wall clock and wait for the sessions to get over.

Who would have thought that meditation can also cause sore legs, numb hips, strained back and pain at unmentionable places.

Main Meditation Hall at Pune Vipassana Center

Day 4:

We learnt about the technique of Vipassana. Earlier we were only focusing on breathing and sensations in the upper lip area but in Vipassana one is supposed to traverse the whole body. You are supposed to be mindful of the sensations on your head, face, ear, neck, shoulders, chest, back and so on.

Focus on one part of the body and try to feel the sensation there. Trying concentrating till the time you actually observe something but the trick is not to anticipate. If it happens then great otherwise witness it for a minute and then move on to next part of the body till each and every body part is covered. Come back to the part which was left and you didn’t feel any sensation.

Pain and numbness are also sensations and that was all I could observe. No matter how much Mr. Goenka voice told not to develop any aversions for any sensation; the human instinct would still take over. You would slightly move your cushion, sometimes remove the pillow, change the legs while sitting cross-legged, do everything but the pain would find its way and so would the aversion.

With each passing day more and more cushions were becoming blue and vacant. It was good enough to increase your self-doubt and derail your motivation.

Day 5:

On this day you would scan from the top of your head – the tip of your scalp and traverse through whole body, part by part but in a systematic order till you reach the tip of toe. Try to concentrate and become aware about sensations in this order, wait at the part of body where you aren’t feeling anything and then proceed. Remember not to create any aversion or craving for any sensation.

Then comes the session at 2:30 pm. The session of self-actualization as to what extent you could push yourself. I was just sitting but never knew that sitting alone can cause so much discomfort.

In this session you learn the art of ‘Adhisthana or Additthana’ – ‘Strong Self-Determination’. This means you aren’t supposed to move even slightly or shift your position or open your eyes. You need to continuously sit in a posture for long durations of 60-90 minutes.

It was really excruciating. I was sweating profusely with no sense of any part of my body at the end of it. It took me literally two minutes to unfold my legs and properly stand up.

Now I understood why most people ran away on the sixth day.

By the end of fifth day during the QA session I saw my roommate waiting for his turn to come. I feared the worse. I knew I wasn’t supposed to interact with him in any form but his mere presence was kind of encouraging for both of us to keep going till the end.

Day 6:

My roommate didn’t come for the early morning session. I knew something was amiss. I contacted a dhamma sevak, he told my roommate couldn’t take it anymore especially after yesterday’s Adhitthana session and he too ran away.

For a moment I was heartbroken. He made it till the sixth day and still went away. But then I read on the notice board – no aversion and no craving.

I headed for the next session.

For all those who can concentrate,

For all those who have aversions,

For all those who have cravings,

And

For all those who can control their mind…

It’s not a Goodbye,

but it’s a GOOD BYE.

Read the next post for day 6-10 – Vipassana – A Meditative Transformation here.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

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11

Under a TREE

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian BloggersTop post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

 

 

 

Some 25oo years ago…

It was a dark and treacherous night. The prince was feeling restless. Few hours had passed since he went to bed but sleep eluded him. He looked around and saw his beloved wife and infant son sleeping next to him peacefully. There was an intense turmoil that had taken birth in his heart and mind. It was a tough decision to make, in fact the most arduous and cruelest of decisions. Renouncing every worldly desire is daunting…but leaving the love of your life and your newborn takes it to another level. Scaling the Mount Everest would have seemed a child’s play in front of it.

He kept pondering for a few more hours. The mind was pushing him towards his goal but the heart was arrested by the love of two souls sleeping right next to him. He had already wasted many nights in this battle. He knew he had to fight alone and victory was his only option. He had to take a decision and the time was now.

The decision was made.

The morning was still far and there was no sign of daybreak. The Prince kissed his sleeping wife and son on their foreheads and got up from the bed and left the room without turning back for one final glance. He never came back.

He had experienced all the materialistic pleasures. Being the prince, the King made sure that the world was at his feet. He indulged into everything that was supposed to give him fun, happiness and gratifications. The King wanted to keep him always safely away from the harsh realities of life, from pain and from any kind of suffering. But the Prince was born no ordinary man. He was born to find a way for all mankind, the pathway…the key…the staircase to free themselves from the cycles of birth, death and rebirth…forever.

He was Siddhartha Gautama.

After leaving his kingdom and renouncing every desire, he started on his journey to seek the ultimate nature of reality, the truth of life and the meaning of every existence. There have always been debates about his teachings and the events of his life but no one can even guess what he would have gone through that night. Even if he wouldn’t have become the enlightened one, this surely was the first step towards it.

He went to many masters and teachers but after learning everything, he remained dissatisfied and unhappy. None of them could give answer to what he was seeking and quench his thirst. One day in his quest he sat under a tree near Bodhgaya by the Neranjana River and started meditating.

Photo by Liam Burnett-Blue on Unsplash

By now he had tried every external method possible and exhausted every meditation technique that was known to man then. He decided to concentrate internally. The only difference between a dead body and any living creature is the act of breathing. He started concentrating on his breathing and slowly he became calm and relaxed. He pursued his breathes and gradually became aware and mindful of every organ…every sensation and finally every cell.

It is believed that after six long years when the moment came when he saw the complete truth and attained enlightenment, he was able to see all his previous births and all the good and bad deeds he performed. He could see and observe and feel everything without attaching any perception of good or bad to them. He simply solved the key to free oneself of this cycle of life and death.

This meditation technique of observing breath and slowly becoming aware and mindful of every thing is known as Vipassana.

I personally believe the answer to the question; why we are born as humans and what makes us different from every other living organism is not related to superiority or anything else. Buddha answered it by attaining Nirvana. We get human birth so that we can try to achieve the state of freedom from the repeated cycles of life and death.

I also got an opportunity to experience and practice Vipassana the way Buddha did. The following post will be about how I got introduced to this technique and what affect it had on me.

To be continued…

For all those who believe in Buddha,

For all those who believe in Meditation,

For all those who believe in Karma,

And

For all those who believe Nirvana can be attained…

It’s not a Goodbye,

But It’s a GOOD BYE.

 

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

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#MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #CirqueDuJoker