Sometimes in life we must stop for a moment, stop and observe, try to look at life from different perspectives, detach ourselves to the ideal outcomes and goals we set to ourselves. I was in one of those moments when I decided to do my first Vipassana experience. I knew people in my family had done, so when this friend recommended it to me, I knew it was the wold telling me it was my time. The funny part is, even knowing many people who experienced it. Nothing really prepares you for that experience.
As a twin I never experienced time alone, not even I the womb, so the idea of this retreat was exiting and frightening. Can I stay alone with myself for 10 days? Can I survive without technology, music, books, even a watch or any form of entertainment?
By nature I talk a lot, I am an extrovert, I am loud and always busy, not your typical zen person at all! I love people, I need community, group, dance, movement and music. How can I survive 10 days of silent meditation?
The first day I was in heaven! I loved the silence, the nature, the unlabelled but delicious vegetarian food, I loved the long silent meditation and very early night. The second day was lovely, but a bit harder, the 4am wakeup call was painful but ok. The first meditation of the day, still in fasting, was very pleasant, but then my brain had enough of silence, and I wanted to talk to someone, to interact somehow, I wanted to know what I was eating for breakfast… the second meditation (it is a 8hour sitting meditation per day) was a bit harder. I was completely isolated but in a room with another 100 people, the only sound was of Mr Goenka voice on the video telling us how to meditate, I could hear dangling of bracelets, people moving on their seats, I was feeling uncomfortable, too hot, too cold… my legs were sleeping, my shoulders tired, I had difficulty of holding my position, everything was hurting and my internal voice wouldn’t shut up!
Day 3 started with the 4am bell, it was harder to wake up, my whole body was hurting, I couldn’t understand why I was so tired. My internal voice was loud and annoying, my brain turned on an internal radio with very bad music, I couldn’t meditate…
Day 4 I wanted to go home!! Mr Goenka on the video heard me, he was talking to me, letting me know that he understood it was difficult, but that it was good and I needed that. I was feeling even more emotional than normal. The food was good, but limited, I was impressed how little I could eat without feeling hungry, I was also impressed how tired I was, especially considering that I was not moving at all.
From day 4 until the last day, I was fluctuating from very happy to very sad, many tears came to my face, I was very tired, as if I had been carrying rocks all day, the 4am wakeup call was very hard to follow and at 9am I was already begging for my bed.
Meditation became easier, I was more able to observe the pain and let go, but the internal chatter was still continuous. The videos of Mr Goenka helped a lot, he was talking to me on a personal level, and telling me what I needed to hear. My vanity was gone, the need for technology was gone, I didn’t want my phone…
I learned a lot about myself, about my limits, about my loud brain crying for help. It was deep immersion, and I would recommend it to anyone that feels ready to commit for the 10 days.
The surprising thing for me was that in the last day, when we could finally speak, many of us decided to remain in silence.
I had no desire to interact with others, I was almost sad to go back to reality. At the end of that day, I took my phone to find many messages, many calls to reality, many earth commitments waiting for me, and it was hard to go back.
At Vipassana I learned that even being the loud social butterfly that I am, I also need moments alone in silence, that I need to meditate to quiet down my mind and listen to my soul. I learned a lot about myself and if you are seeking a deep journey inside yourself, go and experience Vipassana, when you do, please email me and share your experience.
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