Howdy folks!

* I recently turned 30 plus more 😉
* Very recently celebrated my 2nd wedding anniversary. 3rd round inside the ring starts 😉
* Someone broke into the empty house just below my flat few days ago :p (ohh ya..its up for sale)
* My wife got a job (after a long wait of 2 years) and she made it to Germany for 2 months (is back now)….leaving me all the time for myself 🙂
* Most of my close friends are getting married. So many in such close dates that making it to everyone’s day can be a good plot for Mission Impossible 5.
* Am just back from another fake bachelor party of one such close friend.
* And its 20 past 12 midnight on another fake winter night.

Amidst and apart all this….there has been tremendous ton of stuff going on in my life. Most of them, things happening below the soil (another sapling preparing to put its head out). So the creatures above ground aren’t aware of any changes 😉  Yeah! its been almost 2-3 months since am disconnected via virtual socializing. Have been banging head against walls, smothering over whether i should keep going with the day job (that i hate) and photography (as my passion) in parallel. Endless discussions with (real) people around and countless swearing on myself. It has been a very rough ride on myself. And somewhere in between I took a trip to Dhammalaya (in Kolhapur, Maharashtra). Ran away from the rest of world, to take a journey inwards and find answers to every question that was bothering me to madness.

fire inside me

 

Beginning of October, as my wife packed up for her onsite tour, i booked my slot for this 10 day escape. Its a complete cut out from the rest of world. Noble silence for 10 days. Hmmm! You arent allowed to talk to anyone by any means….not even by eye movements or body gestures. No phone. No TV. No reading. No writing. Nothing! Complete abstinence from everything worldly. 10 days of free food and shelter and priceless lessons! Yes, its a donation run organization where you donate whatever you feel like at the end of course. Following is a rough sketch of what my stay there was like..

Day 0 : introduction meeting, chirp with fellows around, evening tea & snacks and the first discourse by main teacher Satya Narayan Goenka. The moment thereafter noble silence begins and then you hear your own voice only 10 days later 😀
* It may sound ridiculously difficult to you, but anything is worth it if the reward at end is to take control of yourself 🙂

Day 1 onwards (till end): Wake up bell rings at 4am (I had submitted my watch too with the valuables, as i wanted to escape the sense of rushing daily routine. By 4th day i didnt need watch or the bell to know when its 4am). Freshen up and by 4.30 we would reach the meditation hall where the Guru’s voice is played instructing what to do & how to meditate in Vipasana. Till 6.30. Another bell for morning breakfast. Finish breakfast by 7. Resting time till 8.30 (wash yourself, clothes etc :D). 8.30 to 11.30 meditation again (with audio assistance as usual). 11.30 to 12 lunch time. 12 to 1.30 rest. 1.30 to 4.30 meditation again. 4.30 to 5 evening tea & snacks. 5 to 6 rest. 6 to 7 meditation. 7 to 8.30 discourse…my fav part of the day. Its time for the teacher’s discourse on what we did from morning till eve. What was the purpose, what kind of reaction within our body means what. Why someone experienced ‘x’ and someone else ‘y’. Numerous stories from his personal experiences & the experiences of 10s of 1000s of students he met. References from holy books (Vedas, Bible, Qur’an, Guru Granth, Geeta, etc)…..all to let us understand better and relate to the concepts better. I shed a 1000 myths and misconceptions (collected through years since childhood) within these 10 days. And thats the reason i loved this part of the day so much. Then 8.30 to 9 meditation. 9 to 9.30 time for asking questions or doubts to the teacher. No dinner. 10 pm, light-out! Ohh dear sleep! 🙂

a calmer state

 

Days 5 to 8 : Turning point! (for most people). The first 5-6 days are the toughest in process. They make you observe noble silence, wont let u read/write/listen to music etc etc all in attempt to avoid creating new fodder for your thoughts. But all these years (30 plus more ;)), there have been countless happenings, conversations, experiences which act as constant food for thought. These dominate most of the meditation for first few days. But 5th day onwards (provided you’ve been a sincere student abiding by all the rules of place) things start taking turn. I started experiencing some success in taking control of what my mind/heart should do at the moment. By 8th day I started reaching spans of few minutes when my mind/heart would be in absolute control. They did what I made them do. These are few minutes of bliss, the moments when you feel so damn powerful. I was able to make my mind point on a micron of space. The moments of bliss when you can bring down your entire attention to one cell of your body. Its AWE.SOME! 🙂

Day 9 : All pumped up by ego (whom you have been trying to tame down to null all these days by the way :D) Ego that I could finally experience few minutes of ‘absolute power’ with all that hard work and pain. And thus started losing focus again. Sincere confession here, its terribly difficult to change something of you in 10 days that has grown over in duration of 30+ years. Its bloody painful! The mind, heart and above all your body; would resist these changes soooo much that you would feel like you are about to burst into pieces. You may feel compelled to quit and run away. My roomie did on the 3rd day! They let him go on basis of doctor’s prescriptions and medical grounds since theres no doctor there! Trust me, you wont need one! What you deal with there is not body ailments. You are dealing with ministry of power : the heart! Its like a thorough spa treatment + full body massage for your mind & heart 🙂 What you gain by end of this trying camp is something marvellos, very difficult to express in words and unique to everyone.

reality reflects

 

Day 10 : A morning discourse and noble silence is broke. Theres a meditation form where you bless everyone you know (and dont know) through your best possible mental powers. And disperse! 🙂 Free to talk, mingle and bond (if u feel like :P).

Then there were defaulters too (like in any class) who break the rules, would not listen to the teacher, distract other students and so on. Its your take to f*** them off or join the crime team. I gave a f*** as to who did what there. I had put a lot at stake to get away from my daily life for continuous 10 days. Thats a big big deal to me. I wouldnt entertain any nuisance to the sacrifice i was making by being away from all my beloved ones, my everyday responsibilities. And the rat race too (ofcourse!).

Before finishing i wish to add few facts:
1. Vipasana has nothing to do with any religion. Its not committed to Buddhism as many think.
2. Prince Siddhartha Gautama (Gautam Buddha) found this form of meditation and spread it across world but over 1000s of years, people grew way more faster than his teachings and thus rarely anyone knows about it. Thats the only connection between Vipasana and Buddha.
3. The main teacher S. N. Goenka never utters a single word against any religion and repeatedly says “it doesnt matter whom you pray, what you follow and what you believe in. This is a process of learning how to train your mind and heart so as to elevate yourself from the supreme source of all ailments : Thoughts! (negative mostly)”
4. Thus you are not allowed to follow any religious ritual or exercise/yoga etc. Any source of distraction is to be avoided. The complete focus is on your own mind and heart as ‘organs’. Your body as the tool to reach the subliminal.
4. You being a half a$$ student wont fetch you much returns. Abide by every rule they ask you to observe, and trust me “satisfaction is gauranteed!” 🙂

am off the cliff

 

Fair enough; my wish is fulfilled. As i walked out of that gate, there was such strong sense of gratitude & thankfulness towards everyone who so selflessly served me (and every other student) at the center for almost 11 days. So that i would have nothing to worry about, except the efforts to walk the toughest path I ever tread. In return decided to spread the word as plainly as possible as a give back. I would never be able to return the Himalayan favor though!

Peace! 🙂

Wrap up : Am a changed mind. A lot more fearless and worry-less. Far less bothered by anything stupid. And am at peace with myself…the way i am. Thats most important no? 🙂 So to underline the outcome…..am taking a big leap in my career life. Its almost official now. The changes due in days/weeks to come are substantial. Its going to be extremely adventurous and radical ride. Am off the cliff! Hope i survive the jump!

Love & Luck!

* And its 48 past 1 am still on the same fake winter night!

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