10 Learnings From 10 Day Vipassana Course.

I just returned from a Vipassana meditation retreat few days back.

And such a gorgeous experience it was.

Vipassana means insight. It means seeing things as they really are. The meditation technique is the essence of the teaching of Buddha, re-founded again in India and the world by Siddhartha Gautam after it was lost amidst 2,500 years of civilization. (For more details– http://dhamma.org/)

There is noble silence throughout. Noble silence? Complete silence of body, speech and mind. You can’t talk. You can’t gesture. You can’t read. You can’t write.

You just meditate.

You’re on your own, quite literally.

Initially, I wished I could document my experience with a pen and paper, as and when it happened. But, Vipassana is not about that. It is about self discovery, it is about experiencing.

I’ll try to jot down things, I learnt. So that, you can know and probably, you might just go for this. You want to. Trust me.

1. Silence is golden. And scary. We talk too much, connect too much and live in amidst of deep noise. And then suddenly when you’re thrown into complete silence, it will be scary. But hands down, this will be the most beautiful part of the entire thing. That is if you follow.

2. Slow down. Nothing will happen. Your life will completely slow down there. You’ll be in the now. In the moment. I watched sunset and sunrise, every single day. And it was so gorgeous. Living in now is beautiful. We all need to slow down and live more in now rather than the past and the future. Just slow down.

3. Ego is the ultimate evil. Remember this. Our pride, our ego, our possessive nature, our deep attachment towards ourself  and things is the root cause of everything horrible that has ever happened to you. While doing Vipassana, at least on some levels, you’ll see through that. And it’ll hurt. But it’ll be worth it.

4. What happens hardly matters. How you react does. Throughout our life, things will happen. Good things, bad things,blissful things and horrible things. They don’t make you happy or sad– how you react does those things. If you can learn to control your reactions, you have just learnt life.

5. Trying to control events is futile. And a waste of time. I have written about it before and it just got reaffirmed– trying to control the events or what happens is a tiresome and a futile exercise. You won’t be able to control, you’ll react negatively and you’ve just created an endless cycle– a horrible, endless cycle.

6. What is, is. We either glorify too much or we underestimate. We have always been taught things that way. Learn to observe. To see things as they are. If it is a rock, it is a rock. If it is a flower, it is a flower. What is, is. This forms the crux of the technique– to see things as they’re. Not one scale up, not one scale down, just as they are.

7. Equanimity. Total and complete equanimity. We’ve been brought up in an environment, where you jump with joy if something good happens and generate an emotion of greed and whenever something horrible happens, we generate anger. As per the technique, this behaviour is the cause of all the pain. Be in the moment. Take it in. But with the essence of equanimity.

8. Changing, changing, changing. Everything arises and passes away. While doing Vipassana, you learn through experience that everything arises and passes away. It comes and goes. It comes and goes. Eternal process, that is. What point of clinging? Let go of your anger, resentment, fear, greed. They only cause suffering and they’re bound to pass.

9. Look within. Experience. Don’t just believe. Experience. Turn your attention from outside to inside. Everything is fine outside. The problem is you and your reactions. So, work within. And don’t just believe a thing. Know it. Through experience. Rest forms of knowledge might just come and pass away. This will stay.

10. Until you know yourself, you can’t do anything for others. If you do the technique right, you’ll experience the oneness with everyone. The universal oneness that is there in each and every being. And if you even get a hint of that, you’ll be kinder, more loving, more caring and more compassionate. Know yourself, first. Rest shall take care of itself.

Go there. Just go. Take ten days out, without excuses and go. You’ll love it, it might be scary at first and for certain other points. But it is worth, every moment of that thing.

Go there. Love. Be awesome.

And fly, for anyone’s sake. Get the hell out and fly.

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* Also bookmark the permalink on StumbleUpon and other sites. I would really appreciate it. Keep commenting. Thank you! Love.


Coffee Conversations- Nothing to do with you.


*If you’re new to Coffee Conversations, check out the introduction and first post of this series over here

I received this mail around a week ago:

“Hey, Hardik! I am 24-year-old girl living in Dayton, Ohio and I love reading your writing. They really inspire me! I wanted to have a conversation with you about how one can still be compassionate and kind in a scenario where the other person is shouting and is extremely angry and is criticizing you. I try hard but more often than not, I end up shouting and getting angry as well which really makes the scenes worse than they already are. What do you in a similar situation? Waiting for a reply! Thank you.”

This one is a tough cookie, eh?

We all often advice and are advised to be calm during a fight or an argument or a scenario which is getting unnecessarily heated up. But more often than not, we give and start shouting and howling ourselves which in all honesty makes the scenes worse than they already were.

I am working with a youth organization since years and when you do work with people with varied interests, there are bound to occur differences in opinions and I can remember so many occasions where situation could have been handled in a much better way than it was.

Also, when it comes to my parents, I believe that things would have been better with them, if instead of arguing rashly and fighting, I could have just been calm and patience in the situation.

So, yes. This is the arena where I myself have faltered a lot.

But, I am growing out of it. I am learning.

And for that, I follow one philosophy, one thing which helps me to stay calm and handle the situation in a so much better manner.

Whenever a situation gets worse– where people are blaming me, shouting or getting angry or all in all behaving in an extremely horrid manner, I deal with as if it has nothing to do with me.

Yes, that’s the key. And it has truth to it.

Let me give you an example:

Imagine XYZ is your boss. He comes to the office and started behaving rudely to you. He shouts on you, argues with you, throws files on your table and tells you lot of things. What is the general reaction? You’ll probably want to rip his head, which is fair. But think about it does it have anything to do with you? Most likely not. He must be having a bad day. Probably fought with his wife or lost some money in share-market or something of that sort.

You’re just the trigger. So if it has nothing to do with you, why you want to get into an aggressive mode?

You can be calm and compassionate and try to understand the entire situation. I am not saying that let him treat you badly. But you definitely also don’t want to start howling that would just make the things worse.

So be calm, think peacefully, form a proper statement to give him, probably ask him if everything is OKAY or not. Chances are he’ll cool down.

Whenever I travel in Local Trains, I see so many people shouting on each other and howling and abusing, all on a stranger. They’re just venting it out. It has nothing to do with the person. He was just a trigger.

This applies to almost all cases.

Even when it is directly related to you, it is not you.

It is generally the expectations.

So when people see that or feel that, you haven’t fulfilled their expectations, they go nuts and start shouting and howling. I am not saying, they’re wrong or something. But the fact is, it has nothing to do with you. It is do with them and their expectations.

So why are you taking it personally and losing your cool?

There will be cases where you know you aren’t at fault and there will be cases where you know you are wrong.

Deal both with compassion and kindness and sense of calmness.

Know that the opposite person’s screaming and losing the temper has nothing to do with you.

You, in most cases, act as a trigger.

So don’t lost your calm. Don’t lose your cool. Handle the situation with compassion and ease. With a cool mind. Apologize where necessary and be firm on your point in a calm manner when you feel you’re right.

But don’t get angry. Or abuse. Or howl. Or throw things. Or beat people down.

That is futile. It just worsens the situation and chances are you’ll regret it later.

Deal with such situations as if you’re an outsider. And in all honesty, you’re an outsider.

It has to with them. Their anxiety, their problems, their life. So deal with compassion, deal with niceness, deal with calmness.

And always remember, It has nothing to do with you.

*If you want to discuss anything. I will love to respond to it. Through mail or blog. You can mail me at hardik94nagar@gmail.com or send me a message over twitter.

* Before posting anything, ThatIndianMinimalist always takes prior permission from the person.

*If you liked this post please follow this blog via mail or for your WordPress reader. I would love the inspiration.

* Also bookmark the permalink on StumbleUpon and other sites. I would really appreciate it. Keep commenting. Thank you! Love.

Minimalism- Are you your own best friend?

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”


Are you your own Best Friend?

Have you ever asked yourself this?

Have you?

If you’ve, do you behave with yourself as a best friend would?

Time to think.


I have been working in a Global Youth organization, Rotaract movement, since almost 4 years now. I have climbed the ladder of the organization from a volunteer to a team leader to management and to being the highest authority.

Fortunately, I have had the privilege to deal with different kinds of people. And at a young age like this, I have had the opportunity to help these people deal with their problems: personal problems, parental problems, relationship problems, depression. All sorts of problem.

I have been in depression myself. Major depression. Over so many issues, over the years. I remember being in depression for months straight.

I have found a fix pattern over the years, in their cases and mine, which is lack of compassion towards self.

Beating yourself up. Thinking you’re not good enough. Hating oneself. Causing harm to oneself. Thinking you’re not worth of any good in your life. All the negative traits resides in you: within you. Your life is no good. Why do you live? There is no point. You’ve no love in life. No one cares for you. No-one.

You know what, I am talking about. You know it. We’ll have been here. They might have laughed on you. Might have bullied you. Might have break your heart. Might have rejected you. Heck, might have beaten you up.

But what you do to yourself after that is worse. Much worse.

You think you deserve this?

You might.

Your best friend won’t.

He will sit beside you. He will remind you of all the good which is there within you. He will take care of you. He will make sure, you never feel alone. He’ll try to cheer you up. Make you laugh. Make you smile. Make you yourself.

He’ll possibly do anything to boost that low self-esteem of yours. He’ll remind you of your achievements. He will remind you of all the times, you’ve been a wonderful friend, a wonderful son,  a wonderful father, a wonderful husband, a wonderful partner and above everything else: a kind and compassionate human being.

Why can’t you do that with yourself?

You know yourself better than any other person. You know things you’ve been through. You know exactly how much pain you felt and you know with how much difficulty and bravery, you came out of that thing. You know, you’re an amazing person.

Yes, you know your flaws as well. But doesn’t everyone have one? Does that mean that you will deprive yourself from the love of most important person in your life: you?

Think of all the time, you’ve beaten yourself up. Think of all the times, you were disappointed by yourself. Think of all the time, you’ve passed in deep depression. Think of all the time you’ve deprived yourself of self-compassion.

Was it worth it? Worth whatever the reason?

More importantly, would your best friend had done the same?

Probably not.

Don’t deprive yourself from self-compassion. How will you possibly show compassion and be kind to others, if you can’t be compassionate and kind to yourself?

It is OK to make a mistake. It is OK if your heart gets broken. It is OK if you were rejected. It is OK if your life is messed up as hell. It is OK.

A phase. That’s it. It will pass soon. But be there for yourself. Tell yourself everything will be OK. That everything will be fine. And no matter what, you are there for yourself. Be the ideal Best Friend for yourself. It might sound stupid to read. But think: what difference really such an attitude can make to you?  A world of difference, perhaps.

Next time, when depression or a bad instance grips you. Behave with yourself how your best friend would behave with you. With compassion and kindness. With love and care. With empathy.

Not with self-hatred. Not with self-pity.

With love.

Be the best, best friend to yourself. Be.

The person you spend the most chunk of time is yourself.

Be kind to that person. Be compassionate towards that person.

Love that person.

If not for me, if not for this blog, if not for this site.

For the person reading this.

Trust me, that person deserves this.

That person deserves to be your best friend.

*This post was orinally published on Kindnessblog.com- http://kindnessblog.com/2014/01/24/are-you-your-own-best-friend/