Vipassana 2.0 – Dhamma Pajjota, Belgium

You don’t easily do a 10 day meditation course Vipassana! Most people I tell about this and the fact that I’m going again, keeping noble silence for 10 days – no eye and physical contact, tell me that they probably couldn’t do it!!

I do admit that it’s hard, it’s really tough and sometimes unreal… Wondering myself why am I doing this? Why am I torturing myself? This can’t be good?

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Vipassana; what does it mean?

Vipassana means: ‘seeing things as they are’ and is one of the oldest meditationtechniques from India. It is a universal remedy for universal disorders, the Art of living. Do click on these links to read and learn more about Vipassana.

And even though it was really hard, I went again! I voluntairily went in for another 10 days of solitude. When I looked back on the first time in India…thinking about my lessons learned I felt so good and so I went in again!

Going in to live like a monk again, to depend on others for food and shelter. My food would be made by volunteers and they would give it to me, my bed paid by former students and so no worldy things to bother me while being in there. All the time to dedicade my 10,5 hours a day to meditation.

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Nothing to distract me from meditating

Dhamma Pajjota Vipassana 2.0
The big gong in the centre to wake us in the morning, to tell us the hourly 5 minutes breaks and ofcourse the times to go to the foodcourt to eat.

If you write it down and say it out loud it seems easy.. I don’t need to worry about anything. I only need to meditate, just walk from my room to the meditation hall and from there back or go to the food hall. Next to that everything was taken care off. Everything would be announced by messageboards along the path I would walk. I really didn’t have to worry about anything!!

And when you don’t have to do anything, go work on your meditation for 10 days and you get are really busy with just that… Yes.. You dont need to worry about anything…

I wish my mind would just get that!!

The purpose of Vipassanais to be here and now. To really feel what is going on now. Don’t worry about the future and don’t long for the past. Do not give energy to the situations that have passed or think about how to do it the next time.

And well…yes.. What is the one thing your mind wants to do? Think about the past, drooling about that one perfect situation or just the opposite.. Making yourself feel angry again about a passed situation. Or just dreaming and making future plans.. Or thinking about the lessons learned from passed situations and thinking about how to do it better next time.. both positive and negative.

If you have read the text carefully you will see not 1 situation where your mind is in the present time.. The mind is only in the past or in the future..

But physically you are in present time…

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And what is Vipassana all about?

Being in the present time, here and now.

How do you get your mind to be there?

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The building where I slept during the 10 days at Dhamma Pajjota, Belgium

Fase 1 : Tame the Mind

The first 3 days are being used to tame the mind. To make sure that you aren’t distracted that quickly and that your mind get a hold of you and you drift of in memories or fantasies. As an old student you just get 1 asignment that you will need to do for the upcoming 3 days. Get your full attention to the place just underneath your nose, as big as a fingertip, concentrate on that part while in and exhaling without intergering your breath. Try to feel your breath. The cold air going in and the slightly warmer air going out and dissapearing along the upper lip. This technique is called Anapana.

It is meant to sharpen your attention…

I had my experience from the previous time and so I was very motivated to do it differently. I would go work harder, concentrate more and get my mind quicker to be here and now and under my controle.

That immediatly went the wrong way when I woke up the first morning with a migraine.. Aaah.. my mind had started a counter attack.. Medication didn’t really help because of the migraine was to intense. I did sit down and work on the meditation for the 10 hours. Day two went a bit better but my back started to be painful but it went ok. The neck was still loose. Day 3 came and I could sit for an extended time and feel my breath touching the hairs on the inside of my nostrils and along the part below the nose and on top of the upperlip. I trought it went good!!

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The area is big and gives you enough space to walk around. As you can see it is a green area with lots of trees. It was a real difference with the 200 meter path I had in India 🙂

Vipassana –  Dhamma Pajjota, Belgium

We all had a big cushion to sit on and next to that you can use some other small cushions. They are there to use but you can take some from your home too. Make your spot comfortable for yourself. I had 2 small cushions and a blanket. After a couple of days I took another blanket because sometimes it did get cold, it was wintertime. Sometimes the other blanket went under a knee for support too. The two small cushions were sometimes both to sit on and sometimes one was on the side.

In the meantime I had be given a cell for seperate mediation, if I wanted I could go there in seclusion to meditate. Unless there is a groupmeditation (3x an hour per day). At some point I wanted to go to my cel but there was in between those hours. So I put my blanket with the cushion in between in a space accesible to anyone. I didn’t expect what happened then…

If you don’t have much to use during the day the things you do have are priceless. I came back after the break to find only my blanket. Already for a couple of days there were no cushions to be found and appearently another student had seen the cushion and needed it as much as I did..

I hit rock bottom… I was angry… I clearly foulded my blanket around the cushion.. You could hardly see it and still…it was gone! I think it must have been clear that I didn’t gave away the cushion because it was hidden in my blanket. I went to my cell and clearly couldn’t concentrate.

I was angry but …

I figured that the other person maybe

needed the cushion even more then I did

I started to remember myself.. I did have a cushion still! I was still good at where I was at the moment.. In comparisment to India? I did have a painful back.. My hip was painful and I wanted to keep my knee higher to keep tension out of the hip.. The drama got bigger and bigger in my head… And with that my pains started to increase with every thought…

So during one of the sessions where you can ask the teacher something one on one I went to her. I asked for backsupport, I thought that it would get me through it easier.. I could sit up more easy and relax a bit more. In India I did get it but she told me that she thought it wasn’t necessary either. The pain is temporarily.. I  needed to realise that it was and so that the pain would slip away in time, I had to go trough it. It has a function… It has a clear function!! 

And I did get the advice which I expected..

The pain would get less and even more… It would give me a thing to work with in my meditation too. Go into the pain, try to feel it fully and try to feel how big the area is. Where does it start? Where does it get less? Where is the deepest part? What kind of feeling is it? How tense is it? Give it a couple of minutes and go on to other areas, go scan the rest of your body!

(We were at day 4 at this point in time and so the area to give your full attention was expended from the tip below the nose to the whole body)

As if the cushion was my life I started to cry…

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All the cushion I had at the end of my 10 days course

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I told her about the fact that my cushion was gone earlier this day and I didn’t thought I could sit long enough without it. I did have a cushion.. But my knee.. my back.. She understood me fully! She said she understood that only that one cushion was so much more in here then outside. Things will get bigger and get so much more value in those 10 days. If you don’t have anything else to get you through the day.

She did ask me to try for another day, just to see how I could adjust to it. If it didn’t work I could come back to here and get that backsupport.

I went back to my cushion and sat down. I did feel so much better after this conversation. She did get it.. She did know why it meant so much to me. I did feel imbarresed for the crying part though… She did fully understand it and give me the reason too. I did get my backsupport if it didn’t worked and I did feel better at the same time. I sat down well, held my back up straight. I started to concentrate again and at the time I started to feel the pain it just dissapeared…

I was so surprised!! – Vipassana 2.0

I couldn’t get to the part where it hurt .. it was gone everytime. Only the part that hurts the most I was able to touch in my mind, the rest was gone immediatly. After a while, scanning the rest of the body it came back but it was getting less painful and less deep.

The whole Mind over Matter principal was clear to me again!!

Somewhere on day 5 I did find a small, half cushion again. This gave me a bit of support and made you sit up more straight. I used this cushion untill the end of the course and even put aside the whole one and so I sat down with even less!!

Vipassana 2.0 - Dhamma Pajjota, Belgium
The hall with cells where you can sit all by yourself

Fase 2 : Being in contact with your body

This fase starts on day 4. The Vipassana day they call it. On this day your technique will change from not only concentrating on your breath to feeling your body.

Day 4 is Vipassana day

The first face, the taming of your mind, is meant to get the attention of your mind to be here and to scan your body. If you don’t use those 4 days your mind will drift away constantly. So now you can go work on that meditation!!

With this technique your are busy with touching (mentally) your whole body and feeling and realising what happens there. I could concentrate well and the touching of my body started at the tip of my head, down to the forehead and so on…all the way down to the tips of my toes. I probably use about 15 minutes to go from top to bottom. Sometimes my mind drifted off but I felt that happening and I could come back to my meditation real quick. I felt vibrations in my body at some point, all the cells of my body and could sweep through them. My legs and arms weren’t part of that unfortunatly. Those were still blind spots at that moment.

At some point it went to good I think and my mind was destracted by a problem. A problem I have with someone really close to me. I started to get into that situation and couldn’t get out of it anymore. I was busy with that for at least 2 days. I was angry.. I got sad… I felt irritated because I couldn’t meditate anymore. I was having entire conversations in my head and sometimes that made me feel better and releaved if it went good but sometimes it made me feel so hopeless.

It is not meant to go into a situation… I knew that I just needed to realise that it’s just there and I shouldn’t give it anymore energy, no more negitive feelings. The situation would fade away and would leave my thoughts and the heavyness would fade by doing that.. I couldn’t. I didn’t leave me and I wanted to work on it too.

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The fight was on…

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By following the lessons we got every night by video, all the information about the meditation and where we were going through, the interaction of people that are in youir life and affecting it, how the laws of nature work etc I got more insight in what was going on. Where it went wrong. I still wasn’t ready to leave it but slowly I got control over my mind again.

It was already day 8!!

And I started to realise that I would make it through these 10 days!! That made me happy and I got new energy to get the most out of those last days!! I was looking forward to talking again and sharing my experiences with the others but it was good to still have 2 full days to work with! I got to work real good those last days. I did kept a lot of blind spots on my body. There were whole parts of my body I haven’t felt at all. But my state of mind was calm and easy, I kept scanning my body and wasn’t destracted too much.

I could work with those spots in my body that were painfull, I really felt that it was good to work with and I felt stable in my meditation. On the left side of my body I didn’t have any spots with pain, not one day of the 10 days. But on the right side… It was in my anckle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, wrist and neck. You can say a nagging pain untill a deep and very painfull pain.

Right –  Yang  – Male

I started to think about that and so I started to search for a meaning. I found a site online about Hapto therapy and I read that the right side is the Yang side and left the Yin. So right is the male side and the qualities that come with that are : focused on the outside, making yourself known, active, doing. An emotion connected to that is anger. And the original form of anger: directed to the outside. Reading this afterward I can recognize something in there….

Vipassana 2.0 - Dhamma Pajjota, Belgium
The timeschedule as it is the whole 10 days

Vipassana 2.0 came to an end

Slowly those last days passed also and before I realised fully I was walking rounds not alone and quiet but talking with my colleague Bert. Telling eachother our experiences, the beautiful moments…but also the difficult ones and the deep holes we sometimes sank into. Every individual takes information differently, you share it and together you get to a broader consciousness / awareness of what was meant.

It made me more clear what went wrong in the relation with the person close to which I spend some days during day 7 and 8.. I knew on what I needed to work, as Goenka says: you don’t have to receive every gift that is being offered. Especially when such gift has a negative effect on you and really doesn’t enrichen you. The gift that is being offered to me totally misses its purpose.. I need to work on that and I need to get that clear on both sides.

That is the great lesson that I’m taking home with me from these 10 days Vipassana

It is all worth it!!

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Also without talking you make buddies!!

I will try to meditate on a daily bases. The advice of Goenka is to do it twice a day an hour. I can’t do that right now. My intention is to do it at least an half an hour a day. I’ll be able to scan my body twice, if lucky and concentrated. Probably need some more time.. I will not be as concentrated as I am at the meditation centre…

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Did you know Vipassana? And did you know the technique?

I am really curious if you would like to do it too? Do you dare to get out of your comfortzone and take the challenge to work on yourself? Do you dare to go deep? Knowing that you will come out a better person?

Let me know!! I love to hear from you!!

Do have questions after reading this and you don’t want to place them here? Please ask me in a private message on Facebook or Twitter. You can ofcourse send me an email too!!

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