The Silent Hippie
Now days you can turn almost anywhere and someone is trying to sell you something that is going to fix you or heal you. From crystals to pills from Shamans to healers, someone is promising to sell you a service or item that will end life’s misery. I know this from personal exploration. I have seen a Shaman, dropped acid, practiced mantra; I have even slept with crystals on top of my stomach to get the crazy out of me. It all worked for a while but something inside me still felt like the healing was not going deep enough. I also felt strange putting not only money but also faith into someone else’s hands to save me. Then one wise doctor referred me to Vipassana. I met this doctor at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting. He began to share his story about attending a 10 day silent meditation retreat and something told me - GO!
Before I go on to share my experience I want to clarify that this is Vipassana through my own understanding. One must experience Vipassana for her/himself to fully understand what all of us Vipassana meditators understand. I share a quote from the Vipassana handbook to explain in a few words what Vipassana is and what it is not. “Vipassana is not a religion, it is not a cult, it is not ritual, intellectual or philosophical entertainment, rest cure, or an escape. Vipassana is a technique that helps one live a daily life free of suffering, it is a way of living in the present moment, and it is a way to face life for what it is and not react to life’s difficulties.” – Vipassana handbook.
Ten days in silence? I know sounds amazing right! Well to me it did but to most I know it can sound a bit like torture, which it is - but with the sweetest reward in the end. I went to this 10 day retreat with little to no information about what Vipassana is. All I knew was that I was going to learn some kind of mediation and that I was going to have to be in complete silence. From the beginning of those 10 days to now I have found a truth I knew existed but had never understood.
Before the retreat I would get bursts of happiness and then crashes of depression. I kept blaming the outside for what was going on in the inside. I would take things personally and have big reactions over situations that truly had nothing to do with me. Today I am becoming free of taking the outside personally. I am learning to observe life for what it is. If someone does something and I have a negative reaction, I own that reaction a hundred percent. I see how it is my perspective that is causing me to react and not what the other person said or did. I am a work in progress but now I feel a freedom that no one would ever be able to give me.
Growing up I have always been told that something outside of me was going to save me or help me deal with life and the after life. Vipassana is teaching me that no one or thing will save me from my misery but myself. No Shaman, no Priest, no Jesus, no Buddha, not even the crystals from grand Mother Earth. I am not saying other forms of meditation or healing do not work. What I am saying is that Vipassana has taught me that one must do the work themselves in order to become enlightened. The practice of Vipassana does not ask you to go in with blind faith, it is broken down into detailed courses over 10 days so one fully understands the nature of this practice. It is not a game or gimmick, it is simply the law of nature.
To show how pure this technique is the organization asks for no payment in return for the gift of liberation. Vipassana is a donation-based organization; where first time students have no obligation to donate and where all workers donate their time to help others learn this great technique. You have nothing to lose but a life time to gain by going on this 10 days silent mediation retreat. I hope that what Dhamma has shared through me will inspire others to take the faith in themselves and go deep within to be truly liberated, peaceful, and happy.
I have chosen to not give the details of what happened to me on the 10 days of silence because I believe that one must experience it all on their own. If someone would have told me what they felt, I would have spent the 10 days comparing my experience to theirs. What I can share is that Vipassana works and you will come out an ever-changing being. Please visit www.dhamma.org to find out more in depth information about Vipassana and the 10 days of silence. If you have any questions please contact me, I will gladly answer any questions one might have.