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31.08.2013
Thursday morning, I will be leaving to a 10 Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat from May 19th to May 30th, 2010.. To be honest, I’ve been thinking all week about writing some profound post about how amazing and life changing meditation is for all people. Sometimes during my meditations, passages from the Bible, Dao De Jing, and Buddhist Sutras spontaneously came to mind, and I realized their truth on a visceral level beyond (or is beneath?) the intellect. It should not be practiced with any other kinds of meditation, involves an initial 11 day vipassana silent meditation retreat. If you want further information you can visit the Ontario Vipassana meditation retreat that I attended.
I recommend it for anyone that wants a more peaceful life with skills to help them cope with people and all life issues. Just go to Admin area > Appearence > Clear Line Options > Footer and select column number and their width. I recently had the balls, and the privilege, to attend a 10-day silent retreat to learn the technique of Vipassana, a meditation technique taught by the Buddha himself upon attaining enlightenment. It is a technique in which you learn to observe your mind, thoughts, emotions, and the effect they have on your body, without reacting with either craving or aversion. Through the course, I gradually learnt the great difference between the rational, the intellect and the irrational, the subconscious—how we, so often in life, say things we really do believe, have learnt and teach to others, but then we do things differently and completely at odds with what we have just professed.
This, my friends, is the world of the subconscious—our conditioned responses, stored up from the years of our lives, gleaned from parents, friends, life experiences and much more. I learnt that whilst I often professed love, fearlessness, freedom, I tended to react in ways that were incredibly harmful, fear driven, and coming from a place of pure survival. SR Goenka, the teacher and a kind, funny and compassionate man who divulged this method, said this was the source of all suffering—living blindly from reaction to reaction, causing great suffering for ourselves and others.
You are therefore provided with a room, food (delicious vegetarian food) and the teaching to discover for yourself how you can learn to manage your reactions, and let go of all attachments and desires. I found again and again, that even when I thought I didn’t have any expectations, I really did. Curiosity is certainly a good quality to have, but should not be the sole reason for going. I spent much of my time comparing myself to people I knew who had done Vipassana, as well as the people who were actually there.
Some slept through it, others cried through it, others just floated naturally though the 10 days. I lived in utter guilt until I saw a student sneaking food back into her room, and another doing yoga in the forest.


Many people are under the impression that not speaking will be peaceful, lovely, and quiet. Out there, I got perspective on so many of the things I’d taken for granted and seen through the lens of my dissatisfaction with life. Margarita Stoffberg’s freethinking parents named her after a heroine in a cult novel who learns witchcraft and loves to be invisible with the ability to fly. I will be free from all the everyday distractions such as work, television, people, and extraneous thoughts leaving me to just face my self, whatever that is. It is available to anyone, is non-sectarian, has been practiced for thousands of years and is free. It was definitely a life changing experience and worth every minute of silence and learning.
Those with serious mental disorders or life issues will want to consult with a doctor first. It was really powerful to be sharing a place with a group of people, to make meals, eat, etc and not speak. The greats, Eckhart and Osho, have told us repeatedly how important becoming mindful is, and their messages have spread like wildfire globally, creating a worldwide sense of consciousness and learning how to really be in each moment. Everyone does it, and no one was harming anyone—it is best if you keep to the rules as much as possible, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t.
Your ego will do anything to get what it wants (and make you suffer if you don’t satisfy it).
I made elaborate (and justified at the time I believed) plans to escape, and I found myself often talking myself into leaving the next day. The darkest day really does end, the sweetest experiences need to be let go of and all that remains is the present. It is mountain climbing for the mind, it is the most extreme, scary and ambitious endeavor I have yet undertaken.
It’ll be the hardest (or the easiest, who knows), strongest, most ballsy thing you will ever do. She aims to live up to her name, and is currently practicing Wicca with a special interest in learning how to fly her broomstick. With little difficultly, probably most of us would manage these ten days even with those strict rules and regulations. I would love to partake in a sweat lodge and that may be my next challenge, but yours sounds so intense and incredibly invigorating.
I strived in my daily life to implement this simple, yet effective technique, and I was under the impression that Vipassana would simply expand upon this teaching.


No matter how much yoga I practiced, how much mindfulness, and how much compassion, I always tended to end up in the gutter of my own self undoing through my irrational, reactive behaviour.
It never came close to the reality, and later on, I found out that everyone had a difficult experience to some degree, and a good experience to some degree.
I brought a notebook which was expressly forbidden, yet if I had not, I would not have survived or been able to fully understand what it was I was doing. The moment I realized this was not going to happen, in whatever way, my ego went ballistic. Yes, I loved not having any social networks harping on at me, yet I ached for human contact, touch, sound, exchange. Goenka jokes that upon learning that the course is donation based, people were worried that the poor would flock to the retreats, eager to get free accommodation and food. Things are the same, but just a little different and I have shed many layers of myself, the parts that no longer serve me.
However, her first love is Astrology which she has been interested in since she was a little girl, gazing up at the magical stars. I for one found noble silence so easy but know others who struggled… every person has their own journey and what they take into Vipassana and what they get out of Vipassana.
We learned that some nights we’d been up sitting, listening to discussion until close to 3 am and we were rising with less than 5 hours sleep. What is needed is an open mind, physical strength, some mental strength, determination and commitment.
It caused me absolute torture to deny myself, yet taught me the valuable lesson of letting go and observing my wants without reacting to them. I choose my words and thoughts more carefully now and and am so much more conscious of the amount of words we process. She is passionate about Yoga which she practices daily, Tarot, which she teaches, and Celtic Mythology, which she just reads about avidly?. But I realized that those questions did not matter as much as I originally thought they were.



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