“The art of being happy lies in the art of extracting happiness from common things.”
Ten days of complete silence, stillness, and meditation. That is how I will be starting out the New Year this time around, and I really couldn’t think of a better way to do so. Vipassana, the meditation course I will be taking part in, is sort of like the ultra marathon of meditation. The word vipassana means “insight into the true nature of reality,” and the goal, as stated by the founder of this technique is, “the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation.” It is a self-exploratory journey between the mind and body that is suppose to “dissolve mental impurities,” and leave you feeling balanced and free. Though it is a Buddhist technique, they are very explicit that this practice is non-sectarian and that everyone is encouraged to participate no matter what religious or meditative background you happen to come from.
I for one have never meditated. I feel as if cycling acts at times as my meditation, and until now, I have never really felt the urge to try any sort of meditation techniques. Throughout India (and Nepal) I have met countless people who have tried vipassana, and every single one comes out of it saying it was one of the most important experiences of their lives. Though sitting completely still for 14 hours a day has never appealed to me in the slightest, I figure if I am really out on this adventure to experience different types of lifestyles, this is definitely not an opportunity I can pass up. Plus, after hearing so much positive feedback from others who have gone through the course, I may just be in for a life changing experience!
It will be difficult though, extremely painstakingly difficult. Calm is certainly not a word ever used to describe me, in fact, I fall under the “extremely energetic” category. Which means ten days of sitting still is going to be incredibly difficult for me. That being said, I am excited to try it out, and hey, no matter how difficult it is, ten days is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Here is the schedule so you have an idea what my days will look like for the next week. These courses are held all over the world, and always follow this exact same format.
4:00 am Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher’s instructions
11:00-12:00 noon Lunch break
12noon-1:00 pm Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher’s instructions
5:00-6:00 pm Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm Teacher’s Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm Question time in the hall
9:30 pm Retire to your own room–Lights out