Practical Benefits of going on a Vipassana retreat

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 If you don’t experience grief then you don’t need to read this article. For the rest of you put on your seat belts to begin your first step in the right direction.

Vipassana: What is it?

Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique which was rediscovered and popularised by Buddha. It is an exercise of change and has been implemented as a part of jail reform programs around the globe( Kiran Bedi also replicated it in Tihar jail, see the documentary below). For some people the word meditation itself is a big turn off, it is the old stuff which is good but is never done similar to exercise. But in fact, all of us meditate for a significant length of time during activities like solving a difficult problem, watching our favorite show or even masturbating, the only difference is the thing being meditated upon. The utmost concentration of mind is the foundation of meditation, but it is not just that. Then what is it? Well, it is precisely due to this obscurity in the nature of meditation that has to lead to the emergence of many of its types. But most of them are no more than a feel-good session. Here I didn’t mean to criticise other techniques, feeling good and having a concentrated mind has tremendous benefits, but why stop if you can have much more in exactly the same time.

Vipassana opens up the possibilities beyond the point where other meditation technique stops. It involves the cleansing of your entire mind i.e the conscious, subconscious and the unconscious.  All these things are meant to be experienced not just read. For the sceptic I would just say that if you don’t believe in the ‘’spirituality stuff’’, it is fine, you don’t need to. These benefits are practical and related to issues we daily face in life.

So, here I provide you with 6 instant practical benefits of doing Vipassana:

It’s free:

Vipassana foundation is considerate of the fact that everyone doesn’t have deep pockets. Consequently, everything in the camp is provided absolutely free of cost. It also includes the cost of your lodging and tasty pure food. Thus, you can go to any centre in the entire world without even a penny in your pocket. Apart from this, the kind of respect that you get there is overwhelming. You are called a Sadhak(cool Hindi name for disciple) and all your needs are taken care of. However, I must warn you that you are welcome only if you want to give it a serious shot, come here to change and believe me you won’t be disappointed.

Try this:

Before reading further I want you to do this quick activity. Close your eyes for just 30 seconds, try to feel your inhalation and exhalation, just observe the breath as it goes in and out and do nothing else. BEGIN NOW.

What happened? Did your mind get diverted for a moment or was it absolutely concentrated on the breath the entire time? If you were able to reach 7 breaths before your mind wandered away, then you are like me. This activity was to show how mentally fragile we are. We can’t even keep our mind in control even for half a minute, the mind has turned into a wild elephant who revolts if forced to be obeyed. But the same elephant if domesticated will use its power in any direction its master wishes. Vipassana will do just that it will domesticate your mind and believe me you will be surprised to see the new you.

It is helpful in preparation for exams like IIT JEE and UPSC:

In the world of cut-throat competitions, even a single mark could be the difference between selection and rejection (ask someone who has been held by just some marks about how it feels). Vipassana gives you strength to slog for hours with full productivity. The calmness of mind that you will generate through practice will help you to tackle difficult problems (which terrify us, but if fought with, then are solved). Further, you will avoid petty mistakes in IIT JEE like exams where sometimes the options differ by only a minus sign. Also, the technique will teach you to stay in the present and focus on the problem at hand ( don’t we all have that time when we want to work out when studying or study when working out).

Addictions:

I should better skip this point, as I don’t have any” some of you might be thinking. But, addiction isn’t just drugs and alcohol. Addiction is anything which causes your mind to go into disequilibrium in the absence of an object, ritual or even a process. You can be addicted to your Girlfriend, tea, lucky charms etc. And it can lead to some dangerous situations. For instance, you lost your lucky pen just before the interview and we all can guess what follows, you become jittery and are not able to perform well thus it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. After Vipassana, you will be able to stay in equilibrium in the presence or absence of the pen and thus grab the opportunity to perform to your fullest.

Mental Illness:

This especially applies in the case of depression, anxiety, headache, and Migraine. Though the Vipassana website doesn’t claim anything of this sort, but there are a plethora of anecdotes of people who have actually got cured. Even the teacher who brought this technique to India from Myanmar got into this just to find the cure to his migraine. Do you know someone who has any of this ailments? If yes then tell them, they will never forget you.

Unique Adrenaline:

are you the kind of person who just packs her bag and goes out to discover the world? What, No! Then here is your chance to be one. Moreover, you will experience the same excitement (especially on the fourth day) that a mountain climber feels. But the adrenaline will not be of physical activity but mental revelation. Further, the difficulties that might challenge you include the complete silence for 9 days, no connection with the outside world during this time etc. But these challenges are worth it, for you will see not the scenic beauty of trekking but the mountain that is inside you. And believe me it is more beautiful, it is yours.

All these 6 points are just to cajole you to enter the Vipassana Centre. You can still go on with your life without even doing Vipassana. But, it is like carrying on with the routines of existence without even examining the principles on which it is based, similar to driving an unserviced car. You will never know when the brakes will fail, or even if you are in the right direction. I am sure you do want to check the direction of your life, don’t you?

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