What Is Vipassana Meditation And Why You Need To Know About It

The Dharma Wheel

The Dharma Wheel

The single most beneficial habit that I started for myself was meditation. In the past 2 years meditation has: helped ground me, worry less, relax me in stressful situations, teaches me to enjoy life, slow down, think less negative things about myself, define who I wasn’t, and I have been able to consistently grow from it – and it’s free. I am writing to help shed more light on meditation and hopefully get you to try to meditate if you don’t already.

If you’re looking for more reasons on why to meditate I suggest you check out:

I’ve done a lot of research into alternative ways to practice meditation, and have personally experimented with all sorts of meditations. There is no right way to meditate, and since we are all different, finding the type of meditation that works best for you is only going to make it easier on you. It’s going to allow you to enjoy meditation much more, and continue this habit.

After sticking to meditation for over 2 years I came upon the word Vipassana. Being curious, I read into it, and found it increasingly interesting. After some further research I was convinced – I wanted to try this. So I applied, and after two weeks I was accepted.

Four months after my acceptance I finally get to start. Tomorrow is that day that I begin Vipassana and I will be doing nothing for 10 days straight. And by nothing, I mean I will be strictly meditating every single day from 4:30AM until I go to sleep which is at 9:30 PM for 10 consecutive days. It’s a total of 120+ hours of meditation and I know it’s going to be challenging both mentally and physically as they have a very strict menu, time table and rules and regulations. (things I don’t like to follow)

Acceptance

My acceptance letter

What Is Vipassana?

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills. (Example – The Art of Living). In the Buddhist tradition Vipassana means insight into the true nature of reality. The whole purpose is to meditate until you become “empty”. We all have ideas of who we are and what things are. So Vipassana is there to teach you to do nothing and just meditate – you get contemplate, reflect, observe your bodies sensations and live your own experience. By doing this you can learn to empty the mind and let go of your concepts, fears, beliefs, perceptions, ideas, perspectives, ideas and just see things as they are.

How Much Does It Cost?

When I read about how it works, it reminded me of the concept”pass it forward.” Which is an expression for repaying a good deed to others instead of to the original benefactor. There are no charges for this course. It’s all for free, yes free! Everything from, rooming, food, and accommodation. They pay their expenses by accepting donations from people who have completed the course and experienced the benefits from Vipassana. This is so you can give the opportunity to the next person.

Also the teachers conducting the course, the course managers and all those who work in the kitchen are all volunteers. Everyone is there to help each other.

How Long Does It Last?

It can be either 7 days, 10 days or 30 days. There are some courses that go on for longer. But in order to qualify for these classes have to of completed perquisite courses. All you are doing is meditating so they teach you the technique and then you have “x” amount of days to practice. The technique of Vipassana Meditation is taught at courses, during which you will learn the basics of the method, and can practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results.

It’s a total of 120+ hours of meditation, which means over 12 hours of meditation per day.

How Hard Can It Really Be? What Are You Going To Be Doing?

 

Schedule

Here is the daily schedule

 

The Vipassana technique is used to help you become aware of the impermanence of everything that exists. This is all done through the breath. Meaning that for 120+ hours I will be in complete silence and not say anything for over 10 days. I have had some powerful and creative experiences when I was silent for a whole day; I am looking forward to what 10 days will mean for me.

Vipassana meditation has three practical aspects to that they focus on developing. Here they are:

  1. Firstly, throughout the 10 days you will follow Sila, a code of conduct whereby you refrain from speech and actions that are harmful to yourself and others.
  2. Secondly, for the first three and a half days you will practice Anapana meditation, the observation of the breath, to help calm down and concentrate the mind.
  3. Thirdly, from Day 4 onward, you will practice Vipassana, the meditation of mental purification by insight.
What you cannot bring

What you cannot bring to Vipassana

The toughest part for me is going to be their food schedule. Since I workout and I like to remain active I require a lot of food. I just eat a lot. I also eat meat. This course provides only three meals per day (I normally eat 5-7!) In the mornings I normally eat 4-5 eggs depending on how hungry I am. Now I will be served oatmeal porridge, cold cereal, and toast are served as well as fresh fruit. For Lunch I normally eat a lot of meat along with beans, rice or some sort of carbohydrates. Here I will get rice and vegetables, and a protein such as tofu, lentils, beans or paneer. They also serve this mean with a salad. So far this doesn’t sound too bad. At 5:00 p.m. they provide a light evening snack that is served of fruit and tea. This is going to be my biggest challenge as at night I eat anything I can find. I anticipate weight loss as well as some sort of mild hunger. I currently weigh 170 pounds, and will re-weigh myself when I am finished.

Where Is It?

Since I live in Canada, the one that I will be going to is located in Egbert, Ontario. If you are from Canada and you are interested in applying check out their website. There are courses around the world, so if you have any hesitations or questions let me know, I’d love to help.

What The Point Of This Post?

As stated above, the most inspiring and creative outlets that I’ve had happen to me have come from meditation or some sort of silence. This is going to the extreme for me. 10 days of only meditation and silence. I plan to write a very long and detailed post on how 120 hours of silence affected me.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions or comments for me, let me know below.

Question for you: If you’ve done Vipassana, how has it been for you? How has meditation benefited your life? Do you struggle with starting meditation, if so let me know why?

Sources cited: Vipassana Centre, Wikipedia

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Comments

  1. Rojita Tamrakar says

    Hi !! felt good after reading you had wonderful learning with doing vipassana. I had also learnt it in Feb 2012. I am looking forward to again go to camp if time permits me. I do practice sometimes at home too. Anticipating your sharing about vispassa. :)

    • says

      Hi Rojita!

      Thanks, I’ve been meaning to post soon about it, but I don’t want to prematurely post something I’m not proud of. I’ve recently taken time off from posting vigorously, and have chosen to post more streamlined work, and thorough posts.

      But, I promise that I will get to it :).

      I really hope that you can make it out to another camp/session, and if not, practicing at your home is always a great way to stay on top of things.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  2. says

    Hi,

    I am really keen to know how it went. I have been toying with the idea myself and a few friends swear by it. I still don’t know if it is useful in the long run or whether it provides short term benefits. What happens when “real life” kicks in after the Vipassana retreat?

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