Tuesday, June 03, 2014

A Monk's Life for 10 days

I attended a 10 day Vipassana program as taught by S.N.Goenka. I wanted to write a lot about it but I decided against it. I think each person's experience should be their own, since the technique itself works within the framework of one's own body.

Here are the reasons I liked it so much:
1) It is universal and secular. Anyone above the age of 18 can practice it in its pure form whereas youngsters have age appropriate courses.
2) You can experience its effects then and there. And no, they are more than the effects of not communicating or not accessing technology for 10 days.
3) It doesn't promise miracles but offers a way of gradually being happy (or liberated, if you believe in after life or rebirth) through a logical argument based on:
a) morality of action - One must only perform actions and do work that benefit others or work that does not harm others. The intent or motive is more important than the verbal or physical manifestation of the action.
b) complete control over the mind - One must develop the ability to focus by observing the natural breath alone and not use any visualization or verbalization. Both visualization and verbalization can never be involuntary and without the conscious mind's involvement. As such, they only act as a distraction from worldly issues.
c) cleansing of mind - Every volition of the mind is a biochemical process within the body. This biochemical process is triggered after the brain accepts and perceives inputs from one of the sense doors of the body. You cannot control what is outside your body, but you can control the sensations within your body that are a result of the biochemical process. This is done by training your mind to remain aware of and equanimous after every sensation. The more you practice, the more you can prevent the habitual response (of anger, pleasure, pride, hatred, aggression, attachment, etc) to certain situations. Every act of equanimity leads to a craving or aversion being dislodged from the depths of your mind. (I am a beginner and yet to experience this first hand!).

While this post may seem abrupt, I just wanted anyone who comes across the post and doesn't know about Vipassana to be at least introduced to it! Whether you choose to adapt and practice the technique regularly is up to you, but I will urge you to give it a fair chance by attending one course. I came back inspired!

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