Living in the Present Moment

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In my previous post on “How to improve your productivity” it was mentioned living in the present moment is the way. But how do you do that ? I did not had an answer at the time of that writing. Now I have something to work on this.

VipassanaI have spent past 10 days on a course which gave me a great technique based on “living in the present moment” concept. So I brief my experience here so many others can get benefit from it.

Its called “Vipassana” an ancient meditation technique used to eradicate mental impurities (see this video for short introduction). It is full on 10 days course where you have to live cut off from the rest of world :shock: . It is not the only challenge, you have to stick to a serious schedule (4:00 AM to 9:30 PM) with following breakdown of task.

4:00 am                 Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am         Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am         Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am         Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am       Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher’s instructions
11:00-12:00 noon  Lunch break
12noon-1:00 pm    Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm         Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm         Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm         Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher’s instructions
5:00-6:00 pm         Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm         Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm         Teacher’s Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm         Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm         Question time in the hall
9:30 pm                 Retire to your own room–Lights out

Effectively 12 hours of meditation per day (including 1 hour talk explaining the concepts). It is a kind of another CCIE final preparation :smile: . During this time you cannot communicate with each other (even no eye contact), cannot have anything to read, write, watch or listen . All those rules are there for a reason; keeping your mind focus on one thing.

First  3 days, you learn a technique to control your mind to focus on natural reality of breath as it enters & leaves the nostrills (called Anapana meditation). If you think you already have this capability try to close your eyes for 2-3 min & see you can keep your mind focus on one thing. You will realize your mind wanders away endlessly into “past” & “future” rather stick into the present moment. With 3 days effort, one will develop skill to mastery over the mind to make them ready for the next phase of the course.

By the fourth day the mind is calmer and more focused, better able to undertake the practice of Vipassana itself: observing sensations throughout the body, understanding their nature, and developing equanimity by learning not to react to them. You will continue this for 6 days & be end of this period you can realize how well this technique works for you.

This was most challenging part for me. I have not done any meditation prior & this was my first experience of doing it. Even though it is expected to stay in the same position for 1 hour in one go, initially I could only stay 20-30min max, but once you have great determination & continue you will develop skills to stay longer while not reacting to any sensation (pleasant or unpleasant, gross or subtle). Only on 8th day, I could sit for 1 hour first time :smile: . During 6-7-8th days, you will experience a change within your body where your mind get very light, more energetic, reduced sleeping times-still feel very energetic next day.Here is a short extract of Teacher’s talk explaining this bit. Definitely you feel your capacity has increased.

On the 10th day,  participants learn the meditation of loving kindness or goodwill towards all, in which the purity developed during the course is shared with all beings. Also you get opportunity to communicate with other students on this day, which helps you get ready to go back to your normal life on the next day.

Overall this was my best 10 days period in this life. I was very fortunate to be in this course & learn this great technique to work on rest of my life. (you have to practice this daily, that would be the secret of your success on this path)

I will encourage everyone of you to give it a try & see how it will improve your life by practicing this technique. Most importantly, these courses are 100% free (it is funny we spend 3-5k for 3-5 days course, where something  like this available for free of charge). Also it is available through  275 centers worldwide. See one may be close to you, still you may not aware of it :shock: .

Here are some videos about this technique, Please watch them if you found this interesting

1. Vipassana Meditation and Body Sensation: Eilona Ariel at TEDxJaffa 2013
2. Doing Time Doing Vipassana.
3. The Dhamma Brothers.
4. 10-Day course student experience-1.
5. 10-Day course student experience-2.
6. The Origin & Spread of Vipassana.

*** How did I go there ***

It took me nearly 37 years to find this sort of great learning. Even after that many years, If I haven’t met my lovely wife Rajika, I may not get this opportunity in this life. She has done this few times & encouraged me to go there while taking care of all the hardship of family life for this 10 day period. I am very fortunate to have someone like her as my lifetime partner. May all my merits share with her & help her to progress further in her Dhamma journey.

References
1. www.dhamma.org

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