I had wanted to do this Vipassana Retreat from the first time I heard about it. At the time I was deep in the midst of my anxiety and it felt like the answer I was looking for. My TRE therapist had done it and recommended it, my brother in-law had done it and recommended it….so for me it was like the universe was giving me a direct answer.
Here’s the thing……I never got accepted until about 13months later!!!!
At the time I couldn’t understand why I was shown a solution yet denied the accessibility too it. Turns out, everything works in divine timing. It’s never a denial only a delay until you are ready.
Clearly I needed a delay to get ready for this. So when I finally got in, I KNEW this was the right time!
So on the 21st November 2018, I set off to the Dhamma Vipassana Centre in Worcester. For some or other reason I was really nervous. Couldn’t quite pinpoint WHAT, but I was nervous.
There were many rules that we had to abide by and the two I was looking forward to the most was:
1 –NO cell phones or any other electronic devices
2 – Noble silence for the FULL 10 days which meant no speaking, gestures, acknowledgement or contact…..basically NO interaction. This was not a problem for me as the need to constantly speak is not my thing and I often crave silence in this busy and noisy world.
Some of the other rules included sticking exactly to the course schedule and layout, no killing or harming of any living being, no smoking, no use of alcohol, drugs, medication (unless prescribed with a notification) or stimulants, no tight, short or revealing clothing to be worn (yes, my options were limited but I accepted the challenge 😉……and these pictures were taken AFTER the 10 days😉) no make up, jewelry or body decoration and no reading or writing.
The Vapassana Meditation training started on day 0 at 7pm with the first meditation sitting and what followed in the days after that was what I would call a shove into the deep end to learn how to swim.
Sounds harsh and trust me in the beginning it felt harsh.
The first 3 days were the hardest for me. Not only because one’s body had to adjust to 12 hours of meditation every day but for some or other reason I resisted and “fought” with the method and how they were teaching it in my head.
As clearly as they had explained WHY they requested the process to the method and as gentle and caring as the environment was, I fought it……don’t know why but I did. So much so I was intensely nauseous for the first 3 days. So nauseous I couldn’t even eat. My heart rate was elevated and I actually felt concerned.
We were allowed to speak to the Head meditation teacher if we had questions (only during certain times) and on day 2 I felt so sick I decided to query it.
The first thing he said was that I was probably building up unnecessary tension in my body (correct) and the second thing he said was that I should apply the method and just observe it.
At the time I was irritated with the response but once I relax, accepted and applied the method, the symptoms subsided (the pain of sitting in the same position for hours on end didn’t though……that took some time and on day 6 my body started to release and accept)
The days that followed were a slow and gentle progression inward……guiding and showing you how to reach the deep seeded routes of why we feel pain (physically, emotionally and mentally).
My mental & emotional breakthrough came on day 7 & 8 of the Vapassana Meditation, when it all kind of sunk in and made sense.
The method itself and the technique used is all about sharpening the mind and bringing it into the present state of being, which is now. It is a ancient and very specific technique that I am not going to go into detail as it needs to be experienced and taught in the correct steps and in the right environment.
The entire journey was not just an opportunity of learning & growing for me but clarifying as well. Many of my beliefs, views on life and how I choose to live my life, have changed over the past few years drastically and this has had a big influence on how I do my work in the health industry.
We often look for clarity and guidance on the path we travel and whether or not it’s the right one we have chosen.
Hearing, learning and experiencing this technique of meditation helped clarify and confirm to myself that what I do matters and the path I have chosen is the right one.
As much as I still have to learn and grow from this experience, I walk away with a profoundly deeper understanding of myself, my past behaviour, my current existence and the woman I am today.
I also walk away with a practical tool that I can apply anywhere at any time to help better my understanding, reaction, choices & strength in any of life’s situations.
Like with ANYTHING, any new technique or practice we learn in our lives has to become a part of our life and applied regularly if we are wanting to master and grow from it.
I will leave you with my 10 little nuggets of wisdom that I have learnt and confirmed through this Vipassana Meditation training
- #1 There is no music in the world more beautiful than silence
- #2 You never have to try justify or try explain who you are and what you stand for…..If what you do brings light and love to the world then no words are needed. Live by example through action, not empty words
- # 3 There is no external object, person or place that can bring happiness. These things bring temporary enjoyment….but permanent happiness can only come from within.
- #4 What others say or think or believe about you has got NOTHING to do with you. It’s their opinion, that is all and it doesn’t define who you truly are. If you live your life with love, light and care for those around you and this world, your actions & presence will overshadow anyone’s words of judgement (i.e. #2 live through action not words of justification)
- #5 To experience love in its purest form, is to accept and love yourself in your purest form ….which is the present moment, not future or past, but the present moment.
- #6 The quicker you can learn from the past AND let go of the past, the quicker you will move towards freedom (physically, emotionally and mentally).
- # 7 What you put out there comes back to you in the same vibration….it’s “Dhamma” – The Law Of Nature
- # 8 Every thought is like planting a seed in the ground. The more you repeat and bring awareness to it, the more it will grow (water and feed it)…….so if you are living a life that is a daily mental conversation of self hate, doubt and fear, the more it will grow and the deeper the routes will flow (…..scary but true)….but if your daily thoughts are that of love, belief, faith & courage…..the stronger those roots will grow
- # 9 Therefore, Mind matters most…..the mind precedes everything else.
- # 10 ALL answers lie within.