I have started to send a comment three times already and each time have quit. I guess I don't know what to say about vipassana, other than it has been the greatest gift in my life - and I gave it to myself. ...I give it to myself. Leaving next week for another 10 days of silence.
Another one from Jeanne (I received her permission)
The first noble truth is suffering... so every time that "I", (capital "I") suffer... "I" can now observe it as growing pains... LOL
My first vipassana course was spent with a skepticism about most everything... until after day 5. I would have left before that, except I really wanted the time away from the office and co-workers ...and my husband who was also attending his first course - would have thought me a total wimp... (just like when I was the only one with native blood in attendance at a sweat lodge ceremony, other than the facilitator and the only one to bolt! My husband later said... "and I just knew it was you.)
I did not understand much of what Goenka said and it wasn't until my third course... my first serve... when talking with the other servers, that I came to understand what Goenka was saying. Whenever he said "develop"...I thought he said "double up"... so I'm trying twice as hard as I could and thinking what a slave driver he is. And when he said "apparent" reality... I thought he said abberant reality... sort of puts a different spin on it... ya think?
The teachers on my first course had one answer to every question I asked... "observe". So I stopped asking... since I knew the answer. Then on my second course, I ventured forth and asked another question... and, lo and behold... the answers that came forth from these teachers were long-winded and downright verbose. I was grateful.
Nevertheless... I had a life-changing experience from within... not from anyones words or any source outside myself. I am forever grateful to Buddha and the lineage of practitioners who kept vipassana intact, and to Goenka and to Denny - the co-worker who told me about vipassana.
For me... the biggest source of my suffering was my advocacy for children. Seeing children suffer at the hands of adults and the system caused me great anger and depression. It seemed no matter what or how much is done, the vicious cycle is never-ending. My altruistic nature was bogged down with the reality of immense suffering... and only after becoming a vipassana practitioner did I come to appreciate suffering as the bitter tool that it is. And... how dare I think I know or understand the value of another's suffering.
Now I accept suffering as a gift, but one to be shared with others... in the sense that we sit at the bedside of another... not to dissuade the suffering, but to accompany another on this mysterious journey. Metta, Jeanne
Ron said: "...having a hard time sitting over 30 minutes at a time."
Funny... who would have thought that sitting is hard?
On our first course, I glanced over at my husband at the end of an hour and he had so many cushions under him, that they looked like a chair. Now he uses only a small blanket folded over... just enough to slightly raise his lower spine. He swore at the end of that first course that he would never be able to be comfortable sitting... and now he is a marathon sitter.
...patiently and persistently, you are bound to succeed... I love those words.
...patiently and persistently, you are bound to succeed... I love those words.
Hi Jeane, thanks for your reply - my cushions against the backwall ended up looking like a throne, and I especially had a hard time during the one hour group sessions with the teachers looking on. However, I pleased to report that this morning I got up expecting a hard time sitting for one hour in my simple wooden meditation chair (I did add one cushion after all my "assskara" during the course). However, when I finally looked over at watch, I thought it would be between 30 & 45 minutes, and low and behold, it was 1 hour and 15 minutes!
I am trying to be equanimitous, instead of getting too "rah rah" about this. I asked Anand the teacher about "why not getting really excited about things like your team winning?". Expecting a lecture about how "pleasure samskaras were just as hurtful as painful ones in the long run", instead he simply looked at me with his clear eyes and beautiful smile and said:
"Why can't we be joyous every moment?"
Here is another helpful to an answer to me by Anand: as usual during meditation, besides using a mantra ("calmly and with equanimity" here), I was used to trying to develop my third eye - the sixth chakra. Here it kept getting blocked - felt like a hood over it. Anand told me "where did you learn that?" I told him from Swami Vishnu Devananda during a Sivananda teacher training course on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Anand replied:
"that is physical, here we work with mind and matter and mind is over matter." As we progressed in the ten day, I realized we developed awareness for whole body and not for special spots like the chakras.
One Love, ron
Vipassana meditation which was started by Gautama Buddha 2500 years ago or so. "...Buddha taught: an art of living. He never established or taught any religion, any 'ism'. He never instructed those who came to him to practice any rituals, any empty formalities. Instead, he taught them just to observe nature as it is, by observing the reality inside. Out of ignorance we keep reacting in ways which harm ourselves and others. But when the wisdom arises-the wisdom of observing reality as it is-this habit of reacting falls away. When we cease to react blindly, then we are capable of real action-action proceeding from a balanced mind, a mind which sees and understands the truth. Such action can only be positive, creative, helpful to ourselves and to others." S.N. Goenka "The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation".
I come from a scientific background, and the wisdom I study and practice has to be verified scientifically and even rationally, and Quantum Physics verifies Vipassana. I also come from the Somatic field, and Buddha's work is definitely body-based. I even call Vipassana Meditation "whole-body Consciousness Meditation and is partly pure "Sensory Awareness." I have a masters in Somatic Psychology, and I fill like I am getting a Ph.d.(not that I care at my age) studying Vipassana. I recently attended a ten day Silent Vipassana Meditation retreat which may be the best thing I have ever done. No Mistake, ron
Reply by Jeanne
Ron said: "I am trying to be equanimous, instead of getting too "rah rah" about this. I asked Anand the teacher about "why not getting really excited about things like your team winning?". Expecting a lecture about how "pleasure sankaras were just as hurtful as painful ones in the long run", instead he simply looked at me with his clear eyes and beautiful smile and said: "Why can't we be joyous every moment?"
Vipassana... As it is... and for me, sometimes, it is exciting, especially after getting up from an hour sit. Sometimes I want to break into a run - skipping and jumping... feeling good to be so alive. But I don't... I simply observe my excitement... (knowing the team is winning.)
Truth has to be a whole body experience, and I have to be the one who experiences it.
I have to feel it in my physical self. I have been a yoga teacher. I have studied Somatics in graduate school, and now as I have mentioned, Vipassana meditation is my newest practice. Here is more about Vipassana, and the eternal truths it deals with -
"It is a process of self-purification by self-observation. One begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. With a sharpened awareness one proceeds to observe the changing nature of body and mind, and experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering, & egolessness. This truth-realization by direct-experience is the process of purification. The entire path (Dhamma) is a universal remedy for universal problems, and has nothing to do with any organized religion or sectarianism. For this reason, it can be practiced freely by everyone, at any time, in any place, without conflict due to race, community, or religion, and it will prove equally beneficial to one and all." from the tract "Vipassana Meditation" as taught by S.N. Goenka
The "universal truths of impermanence, suffering, & egolessness" have all been proven scientifically now which is important to me also as a trained scientist.
If you really want to see the results of Vipassana, I suggest renting or buying the documentary: "The Dhamma Brothers"
It is about the ten day silent course being taken into the worst prison in Alabama and working only with convicted murderers. That documentary is why I went to take the course myself and hope to facilitate getting teachers into S.C. prisons, especially where my nephew will be residing for a few years now. Also, I have ordered a book called Letters from the Dhamma Brothers.It is about the same prisoners and what they are experiencing a few years down the line.
I proudly call myself a Dhamma Brother now! I am still struggling with my "monkey mind" during meditations, but I have had momentary hints of the calming inner peace as a result of the purification. and I have joyous expectations to experience the "aliveness" felt by older students like Jeanne here.
Jeanne responds to "my struggling with the monkey mind.." It appears that I was being dualistic - what's new? I love this answer below, Jeanne, but if you feel you need to clarify more, it would make sense, as there was more than two "monkey minds diss - cussing" here.
The monkey is the busy-ness of the mind... and it gets into everything - senses, thoughts, sensations, emotions, feelings... the many ways we elucidate and communicate our states of being... the monkey is there.
The monkey is also there in the flow... it becomes one with the nature of reality, rather than trying to understand, dissect, analyze, or interpret meaning... it loves the flow too. The flow of dhamma is soma to the soul, to the monkey and to everything within vibrational range.
So we don't have to chose between a monk's quiet mind and a monkey's busy mind, just keep the "monkey" in the flow also, or we really don't have a choice here anyway, right - if we want to stay in the "flow of dhamma".
I am forever grateful for the change that Vipassana meditation has wrought in my life. When I first learned this technique I felt as though I had been wandering in a maze of blind alleys and now at last had found the royal road. In the years since then I have kept following this road, and with every step the goal has become clearer: liberation from all suffering, full enlightenment. I cannot claim to have reached the final goal, but I have no doubt that this way leads directly there. S.N. Goenka - foreword for the book VIPASSANA MEDITATION by William Hart