Quickly let’s mention that I’ve been working on myself for years. I took one ten-day course, and you’re not going to magically implement and feel the same ways after reading this.
Sorry to disappoint.
Which is a great jumping off point!
Vipassana meditation attempts to get you to a place where you observe the impermanence of everything with equanimity (“mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation” – google dictionary) and through the lens of physical sensation. Doesn’t matter if it’s perceived good or bad, you just observe it.
I asked the teacher at the designated individual question time if you could take advantage of each day where the boat was going – are we never supposed to hope for anything, was excitement about anything indicative of the craving and attachment we were being so warned about in the audio teachings – and he replied,
“No, you will still be excited for things, you will still hope for things, but if you don’t get it you won’t be disappointed.”
So you work on getting really, really good at observing physical sensation. Just looking at it like you would watch the waves in the ocean; not necessarily making up a story about what the waves mean or how they’re out to get you and need to be controlled by you or someone else – you just look at them. You watch them change. You relish every single fucking moment because it will never ever be the same, and you witness the unpleasant with as much equanimity, because those moments are truly never repeated either.
You work to give meaning to every moment in your life, and that your individual experience involves you as an anchor. And where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, is the exact moment that your physical sensation picks up on something.
This crosses over to BJJ – you don’t need to use it specifically until you make physical contact with an adversary; otherwise you can still run away.
It crosses over to my studies with Functional Range Conditioning/Functional Range Assessment/Kinstretch/
Heck, as the week went on I thought my perception of what reiki is was right up this alley. Being able to notice the subtlest sensations in every part of the body and view it without judgement or question.
I initially objected to the teachings being presented as both nondenominational/not interested in converting you and the only way to achieve full liberation.
My friend told me a viewpoint about things presented as ‘the only way’ referring to fully committing to one path and seeing what happens there instead of going ten feet down forty different paths or “keeping one foot in each of two boats” as Goenke the recorded teacher [deceased] analogized.
“If you have a white horse and I have a black horse and I say, “Try my black horse,” and you say, “OK but I will keep one leg on my white horse,” it doesn’t work! [chuckles from Goenke and the audience]”
“Same if you want to try my boat but want to keep one foot in your boat!”
They asked us to give it a real college try for ten days, stop other rituals, and cultivated as focused and intentful practice as we could while we were there.
I saw a few people crying.
Only two people left.
I cried in the shower once, and launched into spontaneous laughter once. My dreams were insanely vivid.
I walked along the sagebrush in the hills we were stationed in.
I skipped a few sessions. And I was enthralled by the stars.
I learned to incorporate the sounds of the trains passing by.
I left feeling like this was cool but not for everyone and possibly not even for me.
And I found myself craving the study in the days after. So I kept doing it.
Within three days after leaving I felt I’d released a lot of things and nearly all my arguments. I completely revised my work. If I come up with something that strikes truer to me you’ll be the first to hear about it.
But craving and aversion might just be the root of all unpleasantness and misery. I would stand self-suppression up on the podium in a close but clear second place finish still.
I would definitely agree we have to face ourselves in order to grow.
And that real peace truly comes through doing so.
And finally, tying it all into physical sensations is the most interesting concept I’ve encountered in ever. It widens the lens of experience while funneling it into the here and now.
I’ve been doing an hour a day. They ask you to do two, one in the morning one at night. I would make more progress if I did so.
This is fascinating. It’s like exploring the universe inside yourself. At least that’s what it feels like to me.
I have a lot more to learn and my clients will be benefitting from this forever.