Столько постов могло бы быть написано, или хотя бы столько тем задано для последующих постов, если бы можно было писать во время випассаны. Но нельзя, и все мысли, идеи, все рассказы, возникающие один за одним при скучной, долгой, нудной, однообразной медитации хождения, – все осталось на уровне думания, мешающего тогда продуктивной медитации. А теперь вот взялась за «клавиатуру и монитор», и даже не знаю, что сказать.
И, по итогу, дальше мысль потекла в дебри рассуждений на тему того, что же такое випассана, и только на английском, что совсем не хочется переводить (обычно я пишу параграфами,сменяя языки), учитывая, что надо бы еще написать все же про сам опыт моего курса медитаций. Однако, если кого-то особо интересует, то смогу ответить на вопросы или все же перевести этот пост про мысли, на основе последнего опыта випассаны. А так, идите в пост, где я по-русски рассказываю про свой опыт прохождения курса Випассана в центре Чом Тонг.
So many posts could be written or at least topics noted for further posts if only writing was allowed at vipassana. But it’s not. And all thoughts, ideas, all stories appearing one after another on my mind during boring, long, monotonous, tiresome walking meditation – they all stay at the level of thinking interfering with meditation productivity. And now when I open my laptop I even don’t know what to say. Though, let’s see, a thought has already started developing.
Actually, during my Vipassana I thought about one more thing to add to my list of “Never ever again (at least in the near future)”, although now, after time has passed, I hesitate. For example, my trek in the mountains of Nepal I added to that list and I am still congruent with that decision even after almost a year. Also there is a visit to the Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka, which I left far behind me and even did not mention in the blog (although I should, that’s a splendid place!), but there are 5, 000 stairs to go up and then down, and it took me 9 hours of the night and day to complete that trip to see the sunrise there and I hated it!
In both cases I experienced a problem with my left knee which became painful with plentiful load of leg raising and straightening along with brining weight on the left leg when the right leg was making a step. This time approximately after a week of walking meditation practice my knee reminded of itself again. This is a returning pain which, as I analyze now, comes exactly at my hard times which I never want to repeat again. And this is a combination of physical and mental challenge that I had during long hours of walking, when physical load makes you abstain from talking to avoid wasting your energy and to keep breathing smooth. When you are on a long way and you don’t talk to anyone, you start a conversation with yourself. And when your solo-journey in the locality and in your own mind is quite long and you have already run short of your thoughts and concerns related to recent time, then you start going deeper to the past or deeper to your soul to discover, to awake, to unlock the essentials. And here your self-therapy begins. You work out hard, you feel exhausted, this is what you do to yourself, so you don’t even have anyone to blame, otherwise you would certainly explode at someone to find a relief. Thus you continue your journey through hard times of your present physically and your past mentally.
To define Vipassana, which in general means Insight, to the extent of my experience and understanding, I would put it in the following way:
Vipassana is a framework of operational and conceptual limitations for one’s self with devotion of self to a single methodic technique of being in the present moment which enables activation of psychological processes rooting to one’s past.
In our daily routine with dispersed attention to things at the surface of our existence we do not find exit for traumas and live with wounds. Wounds keep nagging and bleeding creating causes for dissatisfaction. And when we are unhappy we slop over at others, let it pass away and never understand either a cause or an effect. This is how unpleasant situations keep recurring making our life miserable at times.
This is why when we get to be on our own and this happens for a period longer than short, we start feeling negative: either bored or sad or generally try to run away from ourselves by getting involved in anything with anyone. We shouldn’t be afraid of ourselves, we shouldn’t be bored with ourselves. If even we ourselves are bored, how will others feel about us? We should be in piece, gain confidence, know our own value. This can not be reached without opening old wounds to heal them. This can not be achieved without looking inside ourselves to attain an insight. Insight is Vipassana.
Usually Vipassana offers meditation to experience your insight. Meditation, as it is defined by the ThaBarWa monk, is not a method to sit in lotus position, close your eyes and breath in a certain way. Meditation is mindfulness at every moment, mindfulness with detachment. However, I assume that while you are not prepared and inexperienced, when you don’t have connection with yourself (probably due to its loss through years of teaching to listen to others, look at others, be like others), technique will be not an exempt. So, mostly Vipassana training offers rounds composed of a sitting meditation, which sometimes is adjoined by walking and lying meditation and mindful prostration. Each one of them is focused to bring our awareness to the present moment of happening. Going with either of offered techniques in the present moment can cause pain or inconvenient sensations in the body, raise disturbing thinking, bring up past memories. Hmm, interestingly, when we come to be in the present, everything else pulls together up to happen in this present too. Whatever it is, mind is the one who rules the situation and causes all interferences. It wants to avoid being tamed, calmed. It wants very much to confuse you and bring away from the reality of the present moment where one can be quiet in awareness. At times I was amazed how tricky it was and what illusions it raised to keep me away from being consistent on certain exercises! And it is so easy to believe in what it brings up and to follow it till you find yourself cheated again soon. It is like to see a dream and think it is reality and then wake up. I tell you, you should try just to experience that. I was startled at its tricks of demonstrating illusionary situations to me and I had to really think of a solution how to seize it happening. I found an algorithm, like face control at the entrance of every tiny moment to happen on my mind during my meditation, and if it was anything different from rising, falling, sitting, touching, touching (words naming present happening of sequent abdomen, whole body, imaginary points at the body according to a certain exercise), and it could be someone calling for me to come, or situation in the room changing and I had to move to a side, or there is a hot question on discussion, or “the iron was left on”. So, before I get involved in the situation, which, I believe is happening, I question it and check, if it is about rising, falling, etc and if it proves to be about going, taking, looking, moving, then I recognize it as false and don’t follow sticking to my sitting, touching, etc. I guess it sounds absurd… before you try it yourself, and then you can nod and laugh reading these lines.
So, at Vipassana training your mind makes you feel crazy, disturbed, sick, it brings past mental and physical traumas up for your attention. If we deal with them with confidence, acknowledge them, they are supposed to seize. If to make a connection between diseases and psychological issues, psychosomatics finds good application with vipassana, and once we heal the psychological cause and accept the physical effect, the pain goes away, the disease cures.
With days of practice, I eventually suffered from severe pain in my knee and one day could not step on my left leg. I tried several methods together: to ease physical load (by leaning on furniture for my walking meditation), apply warming cream and a band, and keep the practice going with as much acknowledgement as it seemed reasonable. Well, coming to the final, most horrible days of practice, when 3 days in a row went without sleeping with 4 hours sleep in the preliminary night and 5 hours sleep in 2 nights before that, the pain actually disappeared… I predict, not completely as, sincerely, I did not work through it properly. If not for pain due to traumas or diseases, there is always enough of pain to come through uncomfortable sitting during a meditation session, or legs going numb, or back hurting. However, when meditation is done with devotion and proper approach, nothing hurts! I tell you – no mere pain in either legs or back, maybe signs of it during long sitting sometimes (Sometimes!!!) which disappear no later than the session is over. I sat for one full hour with no suffering at all and would sit longer if not for a task restrictions.
Anyway, during my vipassana, various agonies arose in the process, doubt about meaningfulness of what I was doing, past memories and present desires, future plans. And then it is up to every individual (or the teacher) how he/she treats what he/she gets. Mostly, yogis (this is how meditation practitioners are called) have more discomfort with sitting meditation, I had no problem with that but walking meditation was a challenge to me. This combination must also say smth meaningful, although I have not got understanding yet what exactly it means.
And, as I can see from my own experience, similar challenges occur in life when we put ourselves to non standard situations of hard physical load and long time insulation. Physical suffering causes traumas along with negative emotions and memories come out up to the surface, and staying with self with no one else to find a refuge with trying to run away from mind and what is brought up to the surface, enables processing of all.
Either one has an active style of life, which brings experience through challenging situations filling bu such with knowledge provided that one is able to process it with awareness; or such retreats as vipassana can put one in conditions appropriate to face one’s self.
When in a life situation, experience happens naturally but we are not always ready for psycho-analysis. When at Vipassana, we come with intention and readiness to stop everything else besides for focus on mind. So, Vipassana is a huge challenge. It is as big as many can think vipassana practitioners are crazy to put themselves into suffering. However, those who got interested in it once should definitely ripe ready for it and take the challenge, as life will never bring experience in such a concentrated form with time enough to digest properly.
If you liked this post, you might like about Most important but unnoticed, Absolute Truth, What is meditation and how to meditate?
First experience of Vipassana