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My Vipassana Meditation Experience & The Art of Living

Here I am going to talk about:

My 10 day Vipassana Meditation Course

A book review: The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka by William Hart


My Vipassana Meditation Experience

Since 2007 when I was told anti-depressants would be a must for the rest of my life, I have been exploring the world that lies beneath ‘me’ and our daily perceptions on life. I never took anti-depressants out of choice and often thought perhaps I should just try them when my life has seemed so dark, miserable and painful.

Thankfully choosing not to take anti-depressants has led me on an amazing and challenging journey into who is Natalie and what is this thing we call life. It’s been through the study of myself that I have gained the most incredible access to centuries of wisdom and taught myself how to use it daily. I know there is plenty more to learn!

The Vipassana Meditation course was the most incredible tool I have picked up over the years. The 10 days you spend meditating is a very personal experience and a difficult one to explain so I won’t go into too much detail – you have to discover it for yourself. What I will say is the change is so subtle, refreshing and enlightening that you won’t be able to forget that special time spent at the Dhamma Dipa Vipassana Centre in the UK.

Charity based and in a stunning setting in Hereford, you arrive on a Wednesday afternoon to begin the silence at 8pm that evening. The course of silence ends on the 10th day to allow you time to adapt to noise and home time is early on Sunday morning after some voluntary cleaning.

The best part for me personally on the Vipassana course was time out from the chaotic world of London. You are stripped of your daily habits apart from washing yourself! No phones, no writing, no reading, no internet or computers, nothing but you and your mind are left visible. They even feed you the most delicious vegetarian food with imaginative style. Visit www.dipa.dhamma.org for more information!

To sum up my experience of Vipassana all I can say is it was the accumulation of all the self- help books I have read, of all the courses I have completed and of science itself. It was a beautiful and challenging journey into the mind’s unconscious habitual thinking patterns and above all you got to see those patterns you had no idea existed. There was no blaming or ‘mummy and daddy’ did this so I am this and now I have to get peace by doing this. It’s simple and affective.

I now meditate for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in evening occasionally not lasting the whole hour but now I’m armed with the tools of awareness and equanimity. It’s a pleasure to meditate and it’s not about relaxing, it’s about insight, peace, harmony and liberating oneself from misery to discover real happiness…

I couldn’t recommend this technique enough as with all meditation it’s an opportunity to be with yourself and witness the undercurrents of conditioning that are leading to suffering. It’s not a method to fix oneself, it’s a technique to living.

In summary, Vipassana Meditation to me is:

  • A tool for life
  • Taking action against misery
  • Liberation
  • Empowerment
  • Love
  • Long term change
  • Health
  • Awareness
  • Learning the importance of accepting change

Further Links & Info:

www.dipa.dhamma.org – For more information on Vipassana Meditation

www.pariyatti.org – A non profit organisation full of inspirational ways to learn more on the teachings of the Buddha. Here you can access hard to find resources plus sign up for daily morning words of the Buddha (I do this!).

http://www.dhamma.org/en/art.shtml – Article on the Art of Living. Inspiring to say the least.

http://www.ft.com/ An article by Matthew Green on his Vipassana experience at The Himachal Vipassana Centre – really helpful having such a different perspective on the Vipasana experience and truly inspiring.

The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka

I read this book after I completed the 10 day course to refresh my memory on what S. N. Goenka taught us throughout the 11 days. Therefore it can serve either as a revision on Vipassana or as a general introduction into this ancient technique. As I never did any deep research into what Vipassana meditation involved and signed myself up after someone I knew did it, I cannot offer a review on the book from the perspective of a non Vipassana meditator.

As someone who has just completed the course I think this is a brilliant outline on the S.N. Goenka’s teachings. Hart offers a clear and magical overview of Buddha’s teachings as well as Goenka’s and how Vipassana is the way to liberate all beings from suffering. Discussing the importance of observing sensations in the body and how Buddha came to realise this important way of meditating, you can feel the knowledge seeping into your brain and being.

I LOVED this course and will continue to practice patiently and persistently daily as life is about the journey, about realising ones true self and discovering this all for yourself.

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