10 days of silence and Vipassana meditation
I’m back from the 10 day meditation retreat that I’ve been looking forward to all summer. Although it was a rewarding experience, it was nothing like what I’d expected. The meditation method itself was extremely simple, but effective. I had imagined it would have a more mystical quality; but, it encompassed little more than body awareness and developing the ability to accept reality as it is. Since childhood you are told that the only thing constant in life is change; yet you never make the connection that longing for pleasant situations to be permanent, and trying desperately to avoid any experience you perceive as undesirable, is a fantastic way to generate endless misery and dissatisfaction in life. This meditation method helps you to make that connection and begin learning to develop a balanced mind in which you no longer suffer because of your cravings and aversions. It’s a very simple concept; but, truly accepting the impermanence of all things is such a game changer. Imagine how one might react to a hunger pang if it’s temporary nature was understood. Does it make sense to imbue physical appearance with importance when it is sure to change? How do you cope with a sudden change in circumstances, like job loss or a change in marital status, if you never lose sight of the fact that change is constant? I’m not sure that this is the meditation method I will be using over the long-term; but, the takeaways that I can already pinpoint from the retreat are so numerous that it was definitely worth the effort.