So I promised you an update after my meditation retreat. My course got over exactly a week back, I stayed back in India for another 2 days to take in the moment and enjoy the place and the vibe and just got back yesterday.
Here’s what my thoughts are. You cannot put a remark or review if the meditation or the silent retreat worked for you straight after the course. This, I am sure, is the case with many trainings and seminars as well. The main change or the review as such will only depend on if you take back what you learnt and practice or follow it in your daily life.
Having said that, this was my fifth course, my last one was back in 2011 in Dubai and that was when I had given the Dhamma Service (volunteer) for the course. The last time that I actually sat for the course was few years before that as well. So, I will be honest, I had not been practicing in order to get the results or feel the change and hence, I was sitting for this one with full intention to take everything deeply inside and start practicing. I know this works. I can see the change in many people that I know of.
So, I arrived at the centre and I was amazed by the pagoda which greeted me at the entrance. This was huge. This was so peaceful and this was something that immediately made me feel calm and relaxed.
“The Buddha says that pain or suffering arises through desire or craving and that to be free of pain we need to cut the bonds of desire."
This course was a very deep and intense one for me. It was just like how the guruji S.N Goenka says “It is a deep operation of the mind, where lot of sankaras (negativities) are removed from your mind.” Everyone has had different experiences and hence, with that, I am sharing what my experience has been.
A Little Bit about Vipassana
So, the first two days was very difficult for me. I felt as if someone has dropped me to a boarding school and I am all by myself. Well, actually, you are by yourself as it is a silent retreat; there is no talking, no sign language or gestures but if you have any meditation related question, you can speak with the teacher and in case of any general necessity, you can speak with the Dhamma volunteer.
Let me quote a few words from a recent book that I just read called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.
“When you create a problem, you create pain. All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: no matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems. If you create no more pain for yourself, then you create no more pain for others. You also no longer contaminate the beautiful Earth, your inner space, and the collective human psyche with the negativity of problem-making.”
With the quietness, it was easy to focus inward and meditate but the first one or two days, my mind kept wandering with different thoughts which was not easy for me as I really wanted to concentrate, however, with the third day and passing, it became easier to follow the instructions given by the guruji and then putting it to practice then and there. The last day (tenth day) for me was when I was overwhelmed and for the people who know me up close and personal, know that I am very emotional with my feelings. I was thinking that time has passed and now it is time to go back to reality, back to getting THE mobile phone and also, no more of the meditation sessions and longer practice, which actually made me sad. I broke down at that time just before the vow of silence got over, but it made me give out positivity in the air to all the people who were there at the course as well as to everyone that I know of.
After a week, I still feel the gratitude that I have within. The practice is not intense as how we have had at the meditation centre but still I am practicing it for a short duration daily with an intention to be more attentive and take out more time to sit down during short intervals as well if I can and keep following it.
Some of the benefits of meditating include sharpness of the mind, which allows you to concentrate deeper. This can be for studies, work, or anything you think of you need to work deeply on. This can be good for students, children, working people and adults as well. Another benefit based on my experience in terms of interaction with others has been change of personality, calmness of the mind to name a few. So, treasure the moment you have NOW, focus inward as all our lives, we have only seen the outer world and paid attention to it. This meditation or any meditation that you would practice, will bring the stability in your life which is required especially nowadays when everyone is just running in the rat race, making ends meet and comparing their lives with others.
I am so so glad and thankful for the time that I got to experience and enjoy such a beautiful time in being a part of this course held at the Dhamma Pattana centre in Mumbai. I am so blessed to see the Guruji’s residence up close and also tour the pagoda on the last day. I will always cherish this experience and come back to this place when I can escape from my daily mundane lifestyle to experience my inner peace from within.
For those of you wanting to know more, here are some video links which gives an overview of what the course entails and how it benefits you.
Hill of Dhamma - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAb7pzAlTec
Vipassana Meditation for Business Executives - http://www.executive.dhamma.org/en/vexec.shtml
Vipassana in Business - http://video.server.dhamma.org/video/exec/indiaexec.mov