Vipassana is a ten-day meditation program where you take the first steps in the journey to control your mind. It is famously tough – you don’t speak for the entire duration and live a simple, ascetic life with no solid food after lunch. What got me hooked was the claim that this was a method to learn equanimity, which is something I lack in droves.
Overall, I would recommend this to everyone who wants to make a sincere effort to learn about themselves. I didn’t learn anything new necessarily but had a deeper realisation about the issues that make me unhappy and how I can fix these and be a source of joy for myself and the people around me.
So what did I learn and experience during this period:
- The mind eats matter for lunch. A bunch of thirty-five people of all ages, backgrounds and sizes made it through ten days of sitting cross-legged for twelve hours a day. Almost everyone was able to make it through the ‘additthana’ by the end of the course. These are hours of strong determination where you do not change your seating position for an hour, three times a day.
- What drives you becomes clear. Talking and video chatting with my wife and three-year-old son was my biggest source of energy and it was excruciating to not be able to do this. I could not care less about talking to the other course participants once we were allowed to do this on the tenth day. I simply wanted my phone back so I could chat with my family.
- Multi-tasking is a myth. Having the ability to focus on a single task with no distractions made me the most effective that I have ever been. It also felt great to also find simple solutions without using Google (eg: how do you clean a room without the right cleaning materials).
- It was a confidence booster. Over the one-twenty hours of meditation, you build confidence in your own ability to face some of your issues and develop a method to do this in the future. Just finishing the course itself is a huge confidence booster since it can be one of the toughest things several folks experience.
- It makes you fitter. I mentioned earlier how much of a physical toll this can take on your body and the week after the course, I was able to run a 10K something I have not done in years.
At the end of the day, I felt fabulous, a little like this picture.