Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 - The Gift of Vipassana

In 2014 Julia Marie Gillette suggested the gift of Vipassana meditation via S.N. Goenka's 10 day meditation course. 

I sat my first course in March and served in two others:  one in June, and one in December.

Here are my interpretations of what Goenkaji says about our habituated ways of thinking:  our "default" unconscious mode of thinking thrives only in the past or future.   Those past/future thoughts consist of subject-things that we really like or want (crave) or subject-things that we really don't like or don't want (aversion).

Then we have our conditioned responses and reactions to the above ways of thinking.  Responses typically based in either anger, or fear, or hatred, or lust, or mistrust, or  cravings, or addictions, or any other negative actions (or combinations thereof ) that are painfully destructive not only to us - both  those around us too.

Our conditioned, habitual ways of thinking are based in ignorance and not the universal laws of Dhamma.

Goenka's 10 day course  gave me not only the necessary meditation technique, but it also gave me the actual experience of observing my habituated ways of thinking and my conditioned reactions to my  thinking. 

For example I am now much clearer about my default ways of reacting to things that I feel threatened by or do not understand.  I respond with negativity and anger.  Unfortunately my wife Jennifer has bared the brunt of my negative reactions during our marriage .  My conditioned triggers include (but are not limed to) money, mistrust, fears of being left, controlled, used etc. 

Jennifer and I both suffer because my reactions do not correlate with the truth of either who Jennifer is - or who I am.  I also know that all humans have their own habituated ways of reacting which fuels agitation and suffering.    With that said, I am and can be only responsible for myself.   

Goenka's 10 day course delivers detailed instructions about Gautama Buddha's 2,500 year old Vipassana meditation.  Please note that Vipassana meditation is not Buddhism - they are not the same.

Until now I was never taught the truth about our body-mind connection.   I was never taught about how observing and being present with our body-mind connection could bring such peace and happiness.

On the other hand -  I was never taught that my own suffering was and is caused by my own ignorance of  and disconnection from our body-mind connection.  I never knew that I was also always incorrectly taught that the key to our my salvation could only be found somewhere outside the experience of my body-mind connection.
I am committed to taking responsibility for the suffering that I am causing not only in my marriage, but in all areas of my life.  I am committed to unraveling my own ignorance and stopping my own negative, hurtful reactions.  

At the age of 63 and after years of therapy and other attempts at understanding what inside drives me, I am very excited and hopeful about my current Vipassana path.

OK.  Here are some realities of the course:

For 10 days you have to extract yourselves from your worldly habits in order to observe them.  Yes it must be done in silence and disconnection from the outside world.  Yes you are required to follow the rules of the course.  Yes there will be discomfort from sitting in meditation.  Yes you will be taken care of.  You will eat delicious vegetarian food and be able to discuss any questions  with your course teacher.  You will also be given daily DVD recorded discourses given by S.N. Goenka himself.  I found Goenka's humor and understanding of what I was going through to be invaluable aids to completing the course.

Finally I found it very powerful to know that Goenka's 10 day courses in Vipassana Meditation are created from a non-profit organization.  Previous students have "paid it forward" for you to be able to attend the course that you will attend if you decide to.  There are also centers world-wide.

Once your course is completed, you pay according to your ability and desire.  Also the teachers, managers and kitchen servers who make your course possible do so on a voluntarily, non-paid basis.   They serve because they believe in the value of this course.          

Namaste.  Love.   

Happy New Year! 


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