Seven Things I Learned at FREE Vipassana Meditation Camp
When your meditation bunkhouse is called ChopTank, what can you possibly fear?
At this time in my life, eight and a half days of peace and silence is about all that I can take. By the twelfth hour of the ninth day of my 10-day meditation, my insides were screaming and I wanted to run away. But when I realized that I’d just be running away from myself (which I’ve come to realize is an impossible task), it was easier to surrender to the fear of facing the person I really was. And I did.
It was a painful, yet emotionally cleansing journey, and I highly recommend it to everyone who is prepared to work hard. 10 hours of mediation a day for 10 days straight is not for everyone.
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#1 Meditating is NOT easy. Buddha looks peaceful in his lotus position, but that takes a lifetime of practice to get to that stage of peace on the inside. If you’re too narcissistic or have too much of a God-complex to look deep within yourself, and I mean, DEEP into your unconscious to pull out the weeds of deeply-rooted insecurities like how scarred you really were when your grandmother gave your little sister that last piece of cake, then it’s better to stay home and pass time playing your Wii.
#2 Silencing your mind is HARD. For the first four days, I constantly kept telling my mind to shut up, but it still kept on yammering and yammering. It’s one thing when it’s your roommate that you can’t stand, but when it’s yourself? Wow, it’s a punch in the face when you realize: “What? I’m not someone I like hanging out with?” But yes, we are all crazy bundles of vibrating nervous energy.
#3 They call silence noble for a reason. People who can keep their minds, mouths and bodies silent consistently for even three minutes deserve a statue erected in their honor.
#4 The key to sitting still for two hours is like good sex: find a good position.
#5 Wearing wool while meditating is insufferable. Not only is it itchy, sweat rashes are unattractive. I’d recommend breathable fabrics like cotton.
#6 Misery is all in our heads and it comes from when we desperately try to hang on to the past or something permanent in a world that’s so temporal. Everything around us is ever-changing and fleeting. Nothing is permanent, even something like your identity – you are constantly changing, so why bother being so sentimental. I’m not advocating for complete nihilism here but I’m sure there must be a balance between the two.
#7 Plato and Shakespeare were right. “Know thyself” and “to thine own self be true” are the keys to finding peace. Happiness and peace cannot be found outside yourself, but within and we all have our separate paths. Life is short. Be kind to yourself and others. Live simply. Nothing is permanent, so why take things too seriously? Smile. You can die tomorrow. So better die with a smile, right?
Meditation camp is FREE when you sign up at www.dhamma.org. They accept donations when you’re done with the course, but not from new students. Their entire establishment is run on donations. They feed you and house you in a bunkhouse so you can focus solely on self-reflecting. They even have locations all over the world. But running to the edges of the world will not make you happy. What will? Take this FREE trip into the depths of your unconscious to find out.
Photo credit: FreshTraveler.com