In my last blog entry I wrote about what I learnt during the ten days of Vipassana meditation. During my psychology studies, I came closer into contact with meditating for the first time through a friend. Later, I experienced the positive effect on my dad, who discovered meditation during his burnout. Since then I tried different meditation techniques. To concentrate on my breathing and letting go the thoughts that popped up in my mind, worked best for me. But I wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t really experience an effect and five minutes felt like half an hour. I felt I need another technique. Some time ago I wrote about meditating and being mindful in another blog entry “How to live in the moment.” Vipassana got recommended to me by over ten people I met in the last two years on the road. I am very grateful to them since Vipassana gave me a tool that will continue to improve me. I would like to share with you how to meditate according to S.N. Goenka and what my difficulties were during those ten days. So you can decide for yourself if you would like to try Vipassana. There exist a lot of different techniques and I am sure you will find the method that works best for you. Best is to stay open to try different techniques. At the end you can take from each technique the parts that fit best to you.
Silence wasn’t difficult. The hardest part for me was to stay in the same posture for one hour. Although enough pillows were provided, it was very uncomfortable in the beginning. But I got used to it after a few days. In my mind, I wrote letters to friends, had business ideas, and made in my head a list of things I wanted to do. On the fifth day I couldn’t stand it anymore that I couldn’t write down anything. I started collecting leaves and twigs to create something. The wind was no help. I gave up and realized that if the idea is good, I will not forget it.
How to meditate according to S.N. Goenka?
In the beginning, we were instructed to observe our breath. Not to control our breath. Just observing. In doing so, I became aware of how many of my thoughts are actually unnecessary. It is important to focus completely on breathing. Not on the thoughts. They only distract. At the same time, I should not be annoyed that thoughts keep popping up. No dislike should arise. It is a exercise not to judge. Then we were instructed to observe what we FEEL around and in the nose. Warmth, cold, tingling or itching? Whether pleasant or unpleasant we should remain equanimous to the sensations. Equanimity is the key to meditation. To increase our attention, we had to narrow the focus of attention ever further: A small triangle at the exit of our nose. On the fourth day, Vipassana Day, we focused our attention on the highest point on our head and slowly focused our attention down the body. On the fifth day I felt a pleasant tingling all over my body for the first time. I am amazed how easily I can meditate now for half an hour or more.
According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, matter doesn’t really exist. What exists is energy in different degrees of density. Matter is according to Einstein highly condensed energy. The seemingly solid body is composed of subatomic particles and empty space. Subatomic particles are the smallest known building blocks of matter. Even these subatomic particles have no real firmness and stability. The lifetime of one of those tiny particles is far less than the trillionth part of a second. Particles emerge and vanish in uninterrupted flow, enter into the cycle of existence and leave it again, like a stream of vibrations. In 2012, the existence of this extremely short-lived, electrically neutral elementary particle (Higgs-Boson) could be proven at CERN. It’s incredible smaller than the diameter of a proton. This is the reality of the body and of all matter. Rediscovered by Buddha 2500 years ago. Nothing is permanent. I like the fact that Vipassana is neither a sect nor a religion. It’s a way of life that has been very useful to me.