As many of you already know, I recently attended a 10 day Silent Vipassana Meditation Retreat. Many of you have asked questions like “How did it go?” “What was it like?”, “Was it worth it?”. So I will attempt to summarize the biggest lessons I learned or that are now more deeply engrained. Attempting to summarize the total experience would require much more time and a lot more paper.
Let me start by saying Vipassana has been on my bucket list for a few years. But the truth is, I was never really committed to going until I actually committed to go. I liked the thought of going, but thinking and doing are world’s apart. Back in the fall of 2016, I had another moment of inspiration one day to look at the course schedule and consider, again, going to the course. I saw that the upcoming dates were all full and there was a “wait list”. So, I put my name on the wait list. It made me feel good to say “I tried” and it made me feel good that it wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t go, there was a wait list after all…haha. After I signed up for the waitlist, I forgot about it. Much to my surprise, I received an email on Dec 11th to inform me that there was an opening for me to attend Jan 4-15 Vipassana. I needed to respond by the 16th of December in order to secure my spot. YOINKS! I didn’t tell a soul until the evening of 15th, when I finally told Suzann. I was kind of freaked out. NOW, the ball was in my court. Will I say yes or will I say no? On December 16th I told my husband and asked if he would mind. Being the solid support system he is he said “Do it. If you want to do this, do it. Of course.” So I said “yes” on December 16th, still part of me hoping that they might say I was too late and my spot was taken. I know, madness right? haha.
This next bit of information may give you insight as to my state of mind prior to leaving January 4th. On Christmas Eve I received word that a dear friend of mine had unexpectedly passed away. He was 52. I found out later in December that the funeral would be held January 7th. So now, I needed to decide to go to Vipassana and miss the funeral or cancel my reservation for Vipassana to attend the funeral. That decision messed with my mind, leading up to the Vipassana and particularly while I was at the Vipassana the day of the funeral, wondering if I had made the wrong choice – a choice I would deeply regret. An update on that later.
Here are some of my big lessons from Vipassana. None of these things are new concepts, I already understood these things intellectually. However, “getting it” experientially engrained the lessons much more deeply.
Time is Relative – Before going to Vipassana it often seemed there weren’t enough hours in the day. BEING in Vipassana time ticked by at a turtle’s pace. 10 days felt like weeks. Perhaps if I powerfully choose to be present to each moment I’m in in my “normal” life, I won’t wonder so much “where did all my time go?” There were periods of time in Vipassana when I wasn’t focused on how slow time was ticking, I was simply present – tuned in, tapped in, energized and in the flow. And many times I simply wasn’t. I’m committed to increasing the amount of time I spend being truly present to what ever my current reality is. Any moment, every moment, can be a meditative experience if I intend it to be.
This also will change – At first glance this sounds like another way to say “This too shall pass”. But, for me, “This too shall pass” always feels like something to remind myself of when life is hard and certainly not when life is good. But the truth is, life isn’t either all good or all bad, all easy or all hard. It’s all of that and it’s always changing. Life is life. It’s the law of nature that everything is arising and passing, arising and passing. Observe it all, attach to none of it….this also will change.
Craving and Aversion are the source of my suffering – What is is what is. (click button below to continue reading…) Read More