Vipassana Meditation

Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
Trip End Jan 01, 2007

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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm not gonna talk about Bangalore as i didn't really see any of it. The Vipassana centre where i was to be imprisoned had several buildings until construction, something they really should have informed you of before you enrolled, as its kinda hard to meditate in the middle of a building site.
     For anyone interested in these courses, i must warn you they are very intense and you have to be prepared to see it through. Here is the daily schedule

4:00 am      Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am   Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am   Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am   Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am   Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher's instructions
11:00-12:00 noon   Lunch break
12noon-1:00 pm   Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm   Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm   Group meditation in the hall 3:30-5:00 pm   Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher's instructions
5:00-6:00 pm   Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm   Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm   Teacher's Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm   Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm   Question time in the hall
9:30 pm   Retire to your own room--Lights out
So this was my itinerary for the 10 day period, with the strict instructions the course provides, which are basically that you cannot have any verbal or physical contact with anyone during the 10 days, you cannot read or write anything, you can only eat what and when they tell you, you must attend all sessions, you must suspend any of your own rituals/practices/exercise routines and practice the technique purely and you must deposit all your valuables, amongst other things.
     Now it sounds pretty intense, and it is, but its not based on a religion at all, doesn't require you to become part of some crazy sect either. Anyone can do it as long as they accept th rules.
      What did i think of it? When i first finished i didn't realise truly how much it had changed me for the better. On a superficial level i noted this
1- no talking and non spicy food had finally healed my surnburnt lips (woo hoo!), a reason in itself for doing it
2- i lost a lot of beer weight i was carrying
3-My urge to overeat was much better under control
However it wasn't until much later on when my meditation began to lapse (I'm sadly not doing t at the moment though i think about it a lot), that i realised how useful it was. It definitely sharpened my mind, i could concentrate for longer, my mind wouldn't wander off to other thoughts, i was in better control of things i have trouble with (like i could stop eating a meal if i was full, even if i still had food left, no more of this ' if you don't finish your food, you don't leave the table!' lol). I was also a hell of a lot calmer about things too. Now i feel like i am mentally a 'mere shadow of my former self' and i really want to be back at the level i was.
   I personally would strongly recommend one of these courses to anyone, regardless of how you feel about yoga, meditation and all that (note, this is not yoga at all, its quite different). I wasn't (and am not not) 'spiritual'. as they would say, or religious in any way before i tried this, but i wanted to see what it was all about. If your interested, approach it with an open mind and be prepared to work, the results come if you work at it.
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