Monday, December 29, 2008

My Experience of Vipassana

Vipassana is what I can now call the Mothership of Techniques that I have encountered to this day. I truly cannot describe the amount of pure bliss that has been a part of my daily existence since I finished the 10-Dayjourney. There doesn’t seem to be much that effects me and my mind has reached a place of focus and ease unlike I would have ever imagined in a life time. The stir of emotions that would haunt my every step has transformed into a all pervading state of bliss. A deep rooted smile graces my entire face as I walk through the crowded streets and deal with the dramas of Human existence. I can whole heartedly say that I am a changed man and am so grateful for the experience of a lifetime. Now, every experience seems to be the experience of a lifetime. Grateful beyond soul.

There were countless amounts of particular happenings that took place while I was on the course opening my heart and mind to a completely new dimension of my existence. From the first day when we entered silence I could already feel the preparation beginning to take place. I am finally ready for this journey and it has been two years in the making. Over the first three days, if you are a normal human being, one will experience a great deal of resistance and disdain for the preparation techniques. I mean 10 hours of watching your breath can make even the practiced Yogi stir on the inside. I did begin to experience very quickly the arising of a whole new depth of focus and sustained energy. I believe it was from the 2nd night on that I began to have sleepless nights. By the third night I started to worry and even took it to the point of actually meeting with the teacher. Gratefully, the teacher could not understand a word that I was saying, so I was just forced to be present with my situation. Day in and day out the technique unfolds in the course like a blossoming flower. You first begin to prepare your mind with focus, narrowing your awareness down to the smallest portion above your upper lip and then comes the most masterful technique that I have experienced so far on my journey.

I must say that I feel that everything that I have experienced in the spiritual world of Sadahna was all preparation for the gift I was about to receive on the 4th day of the Vipassana Course. This is not a comparison by any means, but I must share my thoughts and feelings on this topic. Inside the Art of Living courses I find that I am being taught an incredible amount of life skills that can help me interact with the world around. For a high price I have been able to completely shift my life and state of consciousness. The Art of Living provided me the training wheels in the area of looking within and without to find the learning necessary about my life on this path. I began to find myself, over the past few weeks, looking a little bit deeper into the mindset of the whole experience, the Dogma behind it, the Guru himself and the amount of money that is insisted upon you for enlightnenment. I am in complete gratitude for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and this incredible organization of devotees and am sure that I will spend many different parts of my life in and out of coordination with that particular path, but something deeper believes that this is not it. I believe it is a path of purity and a path that is alive and functioning and will be for eternity, but in the systematic approach that AOL has chosen, it is limiting their ability to maintain liberated people inside the organization. There is so much attachment to the Master, attachment to the organization and attachment to the Sadahna, which is important but develops a few aspects of the mind that I feel were dealt with on the Vipassana course. Those two things are Aversion and Craving. I know that these were two things that I have been having a hard time letting go of over the past few years, even with my Sadahna, and now I have found a full fledge answer.

On the fourth day of the course I literally watched the training wheels break off of my practice and I began to the ride the bike of spiritual freedom like I never had before, flowing in the endless breeze of liberation. Through the pain that would rise in my body, through the cravings I would have for food, women and sensory stimulation, through the reactive aversions to various external entities like Palm-sized spiders, sleepless nights, an extremely small meditation cell, being stared at by Indian Men and misquitos biting my toes while in meditation, I, for the first time in my life, was able to remain completely still emotionally and actually during the whole entire process. I chose to take myself as deep as possible on this particular journey because I intuitively new something special was going to arise in the processing of all this. I felt the pain of my existence and all its suffering directing itself to certain places on my body and then after some time, dissolving into bliss. There was no attachment to these things anymore, no attachment to the bliss, it all just was arising and passing away and I wished to only smile though each and every avenue. By the 7th day the technique had completely become a part of my being as the energy and focus moved through my body effortlessly and all I had to do was be a spectator in the watching of the movement. The greater part was that on the 8th day, the difficulty arose in the technique once again, but there was no chance to become averse to the situation because it was what it was. Also on the later days of the course, the spiders, after joining me in my room, while I was going to the bathroom and in my meditation cell, just became another great species on this dynamic earth and I was able to communicate with them clearly without fear or reaction (well not completely, but close). Every single thing in the world became a sight of mere presence. From the trees that shaded us during the hot days, to the birds that entertained us with their ethereal voices, to the working ants that slaved for the masses of ants to enjoy a fitting meal, to the grace of the flowing female students, to the rose buds in which just one sniff could lead you into complete stillness, to the moon smiling at us every morning at 4AM, to the thoughts of production and creation that would echo in my mind, to my roommate, to my cell, to the food that went into my system, to the 10 hours of sitting, to the sensations of my body and to each and every breath that I took on this journey to the inside, it all became Divine. There was no craving for the finer things and no aversion to the pain and less attractive parts of the process. It all sparked complete bliss and I am so grateful that I had been versed well enough on this path to be able to integrate the technique as deep as I did. Thank the Lord. What a blessing.

Each evening we were blessed with a discourse by Goenka, the head teacher of this particular practice of Vipassana. Vipassana was established by the great Buddah and has been interpreted in various different forms since his body left the earth 2500 years ago. This was supposed to be the purest form o fthe technique and I believe it. Goenka is a man with virtually no EGO. Coming from a business background he has completely offered the technique to be used by all religions around the globe. He doesn’t strive to be anyones Guru or master, he only wished to inspire the greatness inside. He really wants us to go within and find the answers to the questions without, not by spending time listening to the words of a master or Guru. At this point on my path, I resonate highly with a teaching of this sort, because I am finding people to be so stuck in the path of the Guru, being held down by pure liberation due to the fact that they are so limited by the self-derived separation of One master to another. I have visited quite a few Ashrams now only to find various amounts of people being overly attached to the master or the path in which this particular way suggests. I find this a incredibly harsh reality of the spiritual world, it is almost like an enormous spiritual Ego and although many wonderful things are coming out of each and every organization, the paths are becoming just that, an organization, and people are being held down due to their own lack of experience. I am not sure what feed this particular way of thinking because each and every master truly wishes for the liberation of the disciple. It is one of those indescribable things that only comes when people are afraid of really being free, so they cling to this or that particular way and claim it to be superior when they have never given anything else a fair trial. I must say that I am grateful to always give everything the benefit of the doubt. There is so much goodness in the world and I know it is not limited to one path. I must admit that I did feel a little tinge of fear crawl up in my system when I knew that I would not be practicing the AOL practices for some time, but that fear was filled with love. I now know that even if I go this way or that way, do this practice or that practice, honor this master or that, it is all one Master, the Divine Master of life through the avenue of different personalities. Well, it just so happens that I respect and honor all personalities, so I can not limit myself to one belief. Some will resonate deep inside of me while others will pass me by like a breeze, but with an open heart I will devote myself holistically to the offering that comes from beneath the layers of humanity. The truth lies in the heart of all practice and my arms are spread wide open ready to receive, and if all practices are as they say they are, I can come and go like a season and will always be accepted in the flow. Divinity is no separation. WOW.

One of the first things that was mentioned was that Buddah studied practice after practice all over India before arriving underneath that tree to discover the key to humanity lies in our very being. By observing the sensations that arise and pass in our bodies, we can become liberated from the cravings and aversions that cause the sufferings in our lives. It is so simple, so scientific and completely spirit FULL. With a calm and concentrated mind that is not attached to the senses, one can be in complete harmony with the universe, sensitive to the things around them, but attached to no particular thing. I find it to be completely brilliant and right where my heart lies at this particular time. I know this practice could probably be viewed as militant due to the 10 hours of meditation, the silence and the limiting of food intake, but the beauty in all of this is that it allows you to really go deep into the stillness. There is no need to push or pull or be averse to anything after you can become still inthese conditions. It is very similar to being in jail and the greatest thing is the fact that they have taken this practice into the jails in India and have completely revolutionized the prison system, dropping the numbers of repeat offenders in half. When there is a technique that can change even the most hardened criminals into all-loving, all seeing beings, just by going inside for a few days, you know something is right. What a gift.

Another aspect to the practice that needs attention is the fact that it is completely run on a donation basis. As in the path of the Art of Living in which they charge ludicrous amounts of money because they believe that you will not take it seriously unless you pay a big price, this school comes from the intention that if you pay a certain amount of money then you will be barred from the experience by expectation and desire to get your moneys worth. I can’t tell you how many people I know that have taken an AOL course and have been barred from the teaching because they had a lacking teacher or they were attached to the financial outcome the entire time. It is simply true that money will create a whole process of things in your mind that you supposedly have the right to experience because you paid so much. I know in my life that the things I offer will be solely based on donation. I could not have it any other way. People should always have the opportunity to experience something no matter what. You know the most successful Yoga studio in Santa Monica is fully based on donation. It goes to show what true intention can bring. What a gift.

I will close in saying that, although I am not fully liberated as of yet I know that this course was the biggest step that I have taken toward that point in all my life. I am in a deep state of love and gratitude for each and every moment that I am alive. My diet is back to normal, my waking time is before the sunrise, my joy is complete, my adversity is extremely limited as one can see in the following days after the course and I just feel that I have done something completely pure in my life that will echo for the lifetimes too come. During the course everything was Divine and even though we were confined to a small space, we were challenged with all the challenges that were destined to be part of our greatest growth. Each and every evening there would be a discourse that would give us just a little further insight into the questions and comtemplations we had about the practice. To say the least, it was FULL. Full of grace, full of love, full of spirit, and full of the best intentions. I know that this is something that can truly change the suffering of the world. Like most paths, they all have their little intricacies of humanism that can be left aside for a lower consciouness, but they all echo into humanity the truth that lies in the core of our being. Vipassana takes you directly there, with no material makeup to distract you from the source. Vipassana goes straight to the source, you, I, us, Divine is where the truth lies, not in the ears, nose, skin, or eyes, it is deeper in the unconscious mind. The shift is here. So grateful!!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dan... Your words completely resonate with my thoughts... I had the same attitude though could not verbally expressed it... I had a sort of guilt also, namely that I felt that there was something more than just AOL sadhanas...

Actually, when you grow spiritually you as well grow of your "old spiritual clothes" and need to change them into something that suits your new height.

Dan, thank you for that confirmation I found in your words..

Love you