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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20 Things I am glad I know before turning 20.

I’ll be turning 20 in a month or so.

And life till now has been beautiful even though chances are that I have not seen half of the things, life has to offer. It is still beautiful.

I have failed– a lot. I can’t even remember all the times, I have failed. In life, in organizations I work, in relationships– everywhere.

But all the failures left lessons. All the people who were in my life or are in my life, left a lesson. And it has been beautiful.

Probably, as a pre-birthday thing or as a new series named– “List It Down”, here are 20 things I am glad, I know before turning 20:

  1. Everyone won’t like you. And that’s OK. You’ll always have people who don’t like you. There will always be people who will apparently hate you. There will always be people who don’t even like standing near you.  For no rhyme or reason. And you know what? That’s OK. You can’t connect with everyone.  So let this go deep into your soul and agree with it. Not everyone will like you. And that’s OK.
  2. You’re not your job. Or degrees. Or your cars. Or your mansions. Or your stuff. You’re not these things.  You’re probably how you love and how you care. How you’re humble and how you treat people living in worse condition than you. You’re what you feel, what you think you feel and what you’ll feel. You’re how you behave when everyone is shouting. You’re all these. Keep this in mind. You’re your passion and how you live.
  3. You’ll go through unimaginable pain and trauma and you’ll think you’ll never come out of it. But guess what? You’ll and it’ll be OK. I know, I have had moments where I completely broke down, cried, shouted my lungs out and thought that I’ll never come out of it. But, I have. Yes, the scars are there. Yes, it still hurts sometime. But, it has made me stronger. And, I know more are yet to come. But, I know I’ll come out of it and all will be OK.
  4. The world outside is cruel and sick.  It is true. The economy is at all times low, the society structure is being desecrated, people are fighting and killing in names of so many things. Empathy is at all times low and egoism is what drives half of us. Accept it. You know why? Because ranting doesn’t solve issues. So go out and change things in however small way, you can. Trust yourself. You’re the hope, this world has. Don’t give up on it, as yet. Love more, trash less.
  5. Take responsibility of every action of yours. You’ll fuck up so many times, you’ve no idea. You’ll hurt others, you’ll impact lives negatively and you’ll have to make it straight. Accept it and work towards it. Also, you’ll impact lives positively and you’ll have to defend yourself so many times. No one else will do it for you. So, accept when you fuck up but don’t let anyone ride over you. Find the fucking balance.
  6. People will tell you’re a crazy loser and will do everything they can to bring you down. This will happen. Some people only remain by your side as far as, they feel comfortable. As soon as you do something they’re not comfortable with or you try to do something they never thought you’ll, they’ll call you crazy. They’ll call you fucked up. They’ll call you thousand other things. But if you believe yourself, if you know what you’re doing. Keep at it. Don’t listen to them. Weed them out.
  7. Forgiving and letting go are crucial, if you want to be at peace. Really forgive, move on and let go. Many people have done me wrong, I have cried because of them and my entire life got upside-down because of them. And, I have kept hating them. Seeking revenge and whatever. But it is worthless. And will destroy you. Nothing is as liberating and freeing as forgiving and letting go. And they don’t have to ask your forgiveness. Just give it to them. And fucking LET GO.
  8. Never fuck with people who genuinely love you. Really. Please don’t. You know who I am talking about. The people who are always beside you, your best friends, your family, your lover– whoever it maybe. Never and I say NEVER, fuck with those who genuinely care about you and your being. Be with them, support them and love them. They’re truly precious and one of a kind.
  9. Go easy on the need to get validated. It is very tempting, I know. I have been there. With all the social media tools available now, it has become easier than ever to get validation from people. Likes, hearts and mentions. Go easy on them. Never, ever give someone or something that much control that it can easily impact your mood. Remember if good comments make you jump, what will bad comments do to you? Go easy. It is good to get praised. But don’t over-do. Find a fucking balance.
  10. Go easy on the Ego and “I” syndrome. A lot was achieved before you and a lot will be achieved after you. So go slow on the egoistic and ‘Holier-Than-Thou’ attitude. Yes, you might be smarter than everyone. Yes, you might be witty and funny and Bill Gates. But it doesn’t matter. Be humble. You’ll learn more. You’ll appreciate more. And you won’t be a jerk.
  11. Never beat yourself up. Never. You might be in the thick of the world’s most fucked up problem, but never hate yourself. Or say, you’re not worth it or you deserved it. It is not other’s duty to love you, it is yours. So trust yourself. You’ll come out of the rut. You’ll be OK. But, never not for one second, hate yourself. That is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
  12. You’ll make mistakes. More mistakes than you think, you’ll and that’s good. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re stagnant and not moving froward. Make mistakes. Make more mistakes and accept each and learn from each of them. Really. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. I know, I was initially so afraid. Still am, somewhat. But it is absolutely gorgeous to witness the change in you after a mistake. Just remember the golden rule– Never, ever repeat the same mistake.
  13. People will talk. A lot. More about you than with you. So accept it and move on. Really. People talked when I left the course I was doing. People talked when I devoted my time to a voluntary organization and people again talked when I started this blog. So, it’s OK. Don’t fear their talks. Do what you want to, with love and passion. They’ll talk. So never fear what people will say. They have said a lot of things and they’ll say some more. Don’t let it stop, you. Go and be awesome.
  14. It’s OK to let some people go. There will be some people in your life and their thinking and your thinking will never match. They’ll always do the work of pulling you down, telling you how you suck and are good for nothing or you just can’t connect with them and feel negative. And, it is completely OK to let go of such people. Just let them go. Not with hate or revenge. With forgiveness and a feeling of moving on. It’s OK. Not everyone is meant to stay.
  15. Don’t fear change and let go of the need to control. In the initial phase of my life, I was always sad or irritated because things never went as I thought they would. And too much was changing too quickly. And, I tried resisting it. That was worthless. Change will happen, you want or no. And people will change and do as per their wish, not yours. You can just decide, how you’ll react to the change. Let go of this need. You’ll be happier. Much happier.
  16. Find what you love. Do what you love. Life is too short. I can’t stress on this one enough. Life is short, like really short. There is no point of doing something you detest. You’ll die with all the regrets of the world. And that’s not a very healthy process. I know, there are so many factors. But always be on search of something you love. Do it part-time, do it after office, do it before. But never let it go. Hold it tight. And follow it in whatever capacity. But do follow. And never stop searching.
  17. Be selfish but at the same time lookout for the people in need. People have either told me to be selfish or be completely devoted to community. I say don’t do either. Find a fucking balance. Be selfish. Learn new things, explore and put your happiness ahead because you can’t do anything for anyone until you’re happy yourself. But lookout for the needy, the community problems– Poverty, education, hunger. And do something for them in whatever capacity. You’ll feel fulfilled. I promise.
  18. Learn to Listen. That’s the single-most crucial and best quality to have.  And when I say, listen. I mean really listen, not with the intention to reply, not with the context to what it means to you. But just listen, with the intent to listen.  This will mean considering everyone as equal, everyone as only one thing, without judgement– Humans. Learn to listen to others. Learn to listen to yourself. Empathy cannot exist without that. That deep listening skills. To feel every word. That type of listening.
  19. Always be curious enough and willing enough to learn. And never stop. There are so many things we don’t know. And chances are there will always remain things, we’ll never know. But be curious and willing to learn new things. Be willing to make a difference. Be willing to take on new adventures and see life as it really. That is what will keep you going. And probably, that is how wisdom comes into being. Be willing to love. Be willing to learn.
  20. You are fucking awesome and you are valuable in yourself. Don’t let anyone say otherwise. There will be people in your life, who will make you question your value, your worth. And they’ll come, if they haven’t yet. At that time, always remember, your being human is valuable in itself. And whatever happens. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ever.

That’s it, I guess.

What are some of the lessons you think should make a part of this list?

 

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*Part of Daily post challenge.