Vipassana – The beginning

A 10 day course that gives you a glimpse in what is being Buddha

When life’s questions start to overwhelm us to the point of anxiety, depression, things which we cannot let go off, I feel one should do a Vipassana course. There is nothing obvious in the way Vipassana works except that it does. For now, let me safely say that this is my opinion.

I was a similar confused 20 something girl who used to seek people and friends in the hope that they could answer my deep questions and help me find the answer. It is indeed obvious that most of those people finally disappeared from my life for two probable reasons: 1) I must have really bored them with repeated asking. 2) my questions made them umcomfortable.

I was still lucky enough to find new people but my questions continued. Now if I had to break down this word called questions… let me give you a little background. I did not just have questions. My life upto that point seemed very unfair to me. I could not tackle human relationships. My childhood was unusual. My relations with my parents still are very vague and distant. I could not follow life and do things people of my age did because it all seemed very superficial to me. I actually used to ask why I should do a job and do the same thing everyday. It freaked me. Routine freaks me. Sundays freak me. I don’t know how to deal with certain social aspects. I have no relatives or people who visit my home or any relations which last for me or my parents. Isolation became a bigger relative. After a certain age, people start telling you that you MUST feel in a particular manner, you MUST do things in a particular way, talk in a certain way which I used to be clueless about.

I was an outcast and I used to wonder why. When the fact that you are different transcends into ‘There must be something wrong with me’ and that too when you are a child has long lasting effects for sure.

And I kept seeking – if someone called me too emotional I wanted someone to tell me why. Then someone called me cold and unemotional during the same time I was like why and how.

My life with all this going on took turns that I was not prepared for. So I did not end up having the usual graph of living back then. Strangely that is how most people’s life has become nowadays.. but I was one of the few to take chances with my time. So it becomes increasingly tough to find people to relate to.

All in this turmoil, I met a person who would only judge me spiritually. He listened to me and told me I was spiritually not in sync with myself and that was the only judgement that mattered to him. A Vipassana student himself, he lived his life in a way no way does.. not back then, and even now. He stays true to his meaning and hence it became a safe place for me to be me.

He is the one who finally told me ‘Sneha you need Vipassana. Go and do a course.’ He also mentioned and I remember quite clearly.. ‘You have so many questions, you are seeking answers and Vipassana is the right place for you.’ At that point I had no idea what this Vipassana was. At this same time that he told me to go do a Vipassana course, there was another friend of ours who made it look like a trip to the cake shop, where she uttered what an awesome experience it was. When I asked what exactly is this, they were kind enough to tell me to just experience it.

I went. My seeking had become very intense by this time and I wished to do anything to stop that churning of thoughts in my head.

I started for the course excited. The other amazing thing that I learnt there was they would be taking away my phone from me. I was like ‘OKAY!’ I had no idea what I was in for. I was just ushered and taken to a hall and the whole process just started before you could use your cranial abilities to decipher and prepare. By 9, we all retired to our place to SLEEP.

We are not in touch with reality and that is the root of our misery.
That is all it takes to understand everything you needed to know about life

A whole room to myself. My belongings were just clothes and I managed to keep two A4 papers with me and a pen which used to always be in my purse. I looked around the room. Plain and simple. A single small bed for one person with a white bedsheet and pillow, a bathroom and wardrobe in the wall with a few hangers, a bathroom, a window that was parallel to the door, a drying line and that is it. A table and a chair – not sure of it now. Its been 5 years. I decided to sleep and look at what happens next morning.

I cannot sleep. I am still being cool and happy and decided to be very seamless with what happens and not react or think much about it.

I just cannot sleep. When I feel getting drifted to sleep, a mild gong starts to go off. At 4 am, the gong starts to become intense.. no matter how much you want to ignore it you cannot.

The first meditation starts at 4.30 am to 5.30 am and then starts breakfast. They are kind enough to either get you to meditate in the hall or in your room. But the most meditation sessions are compulsory to be attended throughout the day and the last meditation of the day is absolute must where S N Goenka gives you clues with what is really happening to you and about Vipassana.

Those evening lectures were simply amazing. They were funny but insightful.

Now that I have given you all a background let me come back to the point I was making. The real fun starts around Day 3, though trust me it is no fun.

To be continued…

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