Vipassana meditation - the ancient Buddhist technique is shrouded in mystery... Handed down by the Buddha himself over two millennia ago, the practice is still taught in much the same way today. There must be something in it.
so we flow... sent roving reporter, Rob Layton, for 10 days in the Dhamma Kuta Vipassana Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka. For all the Vipassana virgins out there, Rob’s insights might just come in handy when you’re getting it on with your first Vippo.
Live like a monk
There’s no need to don orange robes or shave your head but you will live a saintly and simple life. Most of the rules are fairly easy to follow, however, you may want to do terrible things to the man that wakes you with that little bell at 4am every morning.
Get used to the tough timetable
It’s a meditation abyss. You sit for an hour at a time for around 10 hours a day. You’ve only short breaks so make the most of them. Switch off. Walk around the grounds or give yourself a massage for some much needed down time.
Go with the flow
You’ll spend a mere 3.5 days solely focusing on your breath. The rest is a progressive body scan. You will want to go rogue at times, especially after 3 days of total concentration on your top lip. But remember, Buddha knows best. So do as they say and it will all be ok.
With no sofa or chaise longue in sight, your mediation is practiced firmly on the ground. You’ll hurt in places you didn’t even know you had places. Try sitting on the floor in the weeks before and don’t be shy with the cushions.
Execute the minute
Think of the most boring film you’ve ever seen. Now turn it off. Sit. Just stare at the screen. For 10 hours. You’ll feel levels of frustration usually reserved for bagged, funfair goldfish. Stay calm and execute those mundane tasks with new aplomb. Literally, cut your toenails with more diligence than you ever thought necessary.
Appreciate some serious you time
Do your thang! Everyone is experiencing the meditation differently. Don’t get bogged down if you’re not feeling what you think you should be feeling. Benefits are not necessarily immediate. Embrace the process and don’t pressure yourself.
Master your mind
Take back what is rightfully yours. For too long now the world outside has ruled your life. The meditations teach a greater self-awareness, control, and focus, and this can impact your life positively. Your woes are likely to still be there, but can you approach them with a new tenderness?
What an amazing achievement. Not only can you endure the challenge, you can also dedicate some serious time to yourself. Well done. Keep this in mind on those dark days when it all seems impossible.
Silence is golden
Motor mouths and social media junkies, worry not. This is a very rare opportunity to endlessly scroll on the one thing that matters most. Yourself. The silence soon becomes the best part. Honestly.
Stick it out
If you intend to, ‘give it a try’ or, ‘see how it goes’ you’ll struggle to last the distance. It’s an easy out when things get tough. So give yourself 10 days. It’s the least you deserve.
Experience is everything
Attending the course is the only way to feel the benefits. No books or blogs can give you those. Sorry. You’ll feel all the pains too, but these soon fade. All the while you get sharper and sharper.