My Experience in Vipassana

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My Experience in Vipassana

Postby Felipe » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:29 am

In the above topic, I was asked to elaborate on my experience in Vipassana and how it changed my life so this is my post about that.

I heard about Vipassana through an ex-girlfriend. Shortly before she left to Vipassana for a 10 day meditation, she told me about an act of betrayal that she had done. I told her we might break up over this. Her finding peace with our potential break up was her Vipassana journey. She came back and I almost immediately told her I was breaking up with her, I couldn't be monogamous with her since we had different definitions of what's okay in monogamy, and I'd begun having sex with someone else. She, normally emotionally reactive, had so much peace and love in her eyes- I felt she was either in heaven or had totally broken. A little scared for her, I checked in a few hours later and she still sounded so serene. I was curious.

About a year later, I managed to make an opportunity to go. I went to North Fork, near Yosemite. Once we park, we hand over our keys and cell phones, read the agreement to stay for 10 days and sign it. It's 9 days of noble silence (no talking/eye contact) and 1 last day of some communicating allowed. There's a manager and volunteer staff to get help from that we can talk to about logistical issues. Aside from that, there's no communication. Wake up at 430, meditate for an hour or 2. Eat, meditate, eat, meditate, short break to walk, meditate. It's 10-12 hours a day of meditating.

My own experience inside the camp was stressful, boring, exhausting. I wanted to quit on all but days 4 and 10. But I saw my own mind more and more clearly. I occasionally forgot I was meditating during the sessions and thought I was hanging out with friends. I remember thinking about my lover at the time, then forgetting about her and thinking about an ex, seeing this attachment switching more readily than I previously realized. My greatest accomplishment was sitting completely still for a whole hour-no itching, no eye opening, nothing.

I met some really cool people from across the state here. I asked one hippyish dude who had hitchhiked from Colorado how he dealt with the isolation: "I see it as solituude." Hmm... Maybe being alone isn't as bad or socially shamed as I thought.

After it was over, I felt more loving, more at peace. I began meditating daily. I accepted and processed emotions more readily, I learned how to feel and simply accept, how to let go of my story. But the biggest change was that I no longer needed to be with people to feel okay.

Whereas before, I'd force myself to be around the wrong crowd just to have company, I now am okay being alone. I spent alot more of the following years cultivating peace than obssessing about having more friends and being engaged in social activities every moment of the day. I enjoy 1 on 1 time, not parties much. I spend time with friends/lovers 2 or 3 times a week and family about as much. This feels good for me and once I saw people less often, I became more grateful for and warm towards them.
I ultimately convinced my mom to go and she hated the experience but loved the results- she began meditating after and it helped her sleep easier for the following year, she became more peaceful for a time.

tldr: Difficult but helped me cultivate peace, enjoy alone time, and treat people better.

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Re: My Experience in Vipassana

Postby Eureka » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:37 pm

Nice story, but did you get all this output from just one vipassana retreat or did you go several times? Are still going?

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Re: My Experience in Vipassana

Postby thrifty++ » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:53 am

I tried it but it did my head in. Left after 3 days. The hardest part was no exercise being allowed for the whole time. Plus there were no decent walking trails so couldnt even do that.
Afterward I got sick with bad gastroenteritis which I think I picked up as the result of heavy communal living yuck

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Re: My Experience in Vipassana

Postby Felipe » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:45 am

I did one full retreat. I was going to do a second but ended up going to San Diego to hang with a girlfriend at the time. I still meditate 3-20 minutes every day.

I wasn't perfect on mine with no exercise. I had a bunk bed to do rows and incline push ups off of. Mine was near Yosemite so there were some gorgeous trails, I saw a bird catch a butterfly midflight, an ant swarm devouring an apple piece on the trail.

It's unfortunate you got sick and had a difficult experience. Mine was very clean and some people lived in tents instead of in the cabin. Returning to their cabin just to shower.

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Re: My Experience in Vipassana

Postby Solvent » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:03 pm

I don't actually bear any ill-feelings towards Vipassana but I did find the following skit funny:

Meditation is something I've tried a few times but I can't seem to stick with the habit. It doesn't seem to do anything for me. Once I managed to give myself a bit of vertigo, that was about as interesting as it got.

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