What Opened My Eyes to Vipassana

I received a lovely message from Sae-san whom I met last October at a ten-day Vipassana meditation course in Japan. Sae-san wrote that she had just returned from another ten days, this time as a volunteer server, where she cooked meals, helped keep the place clean and running smoothly. The biggest gift from her experience as a server was how it showed her she could, incorporate the practice, three hours a day into everyday life and still manage her life.

How we kept each other going

For a few days during the course, I was sitting to the right of Sae-san while we learned Vipassana and practiced the meditation in the hall. Throughout the course, we do not talk and chat with one another, and we don’t make any contact, including eye-contact.

Silence was lifted after the ten days and we finally spoke to each other! We were sitting on the grass and Sae-san mentioned that she was really inspired by how just I sat and sat and sat. I noticed how she was sitting so still that I felt I too could be sitting still like she was. So I guess we were inspiring one another (^○^)

On this last day, I also met a lady from Vietnam. This is her second 10-day course. She attended her first course in Canada. Since learning the Vipassana meditation method, she has kept up with her practice, although shortened to a more manageable 30 minutes, twice a day, and people around her and herself too noticed a difference. As a professor, she has been able to handle frustrating situations with students in a much calmer manner.

I am thankful she shared her experience with me as I was wondering if I would make this meditation a daily practice. She showed me the benefits and how it was possible — thanks to her, I’ve been keeping up with the practice at home.

The seeds were planted five years ago

Five years ago, I was finishing up my aromatherapy studies and had to give aromatherapy treatments (i.e. massages) to case clients over a course of seven sessions each.

One of them, was a friend. She had just returned from a trip, and I didn’t know where from.

I started the massage with the blended essential oils diluted in a base oil. However, when I got to the legs, I was like, “What’s going on?” “Did she lose her sense of touch in her legs or …”

Her thighs used to ache — even the slightest pressure would be so sore — this time, elicited no response.

I leaned in further and further, and she still had no reaction whatsoever.

My friend was unfazed. While was I confused,
“What did you do? Where did you go? How come the pain is gone?”

She then told me about the Vipassana course.

During the course, through meditation, a memory came through where she realised she was holding onto old memories of a person she used to be close to. She cried and let it out, and the pain disappeared.

My experience was different. I didn’t have any drastic emotional release during my sittings. However, I did notice things shift internally for me in a more fascia-physical way.

What Vipassana course attendees need to know

My friend didn’t tell me much about the course other than that the food is vegetarian and one doesn’t eat after the sun sets, and a reminder to bring an extra shawl for the meditations.

I am very glad she didn’t tell me more and that I didn’t look up info online.

Going with an openness to soak in all that transpires, to follow the instructions closely would be my best tips.

Every person’s experience would differ depending on where they are coming from and what they put in. So why not see how it unfolds?

The course has been running for decades all over the world with avery good system of instruction. So do as you are told and you’ll be getting the most out of it.

For me, seeing how the pain disappeared from my friend thighs — no surgery, no nothing — was when I knew I want to check this out five years ago.

For more information on Vipassana meditation: www.dhamma.org

Originally published at https://wheremyheartleads.com on April 29, 2019.



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Karen Tsui

Karen Tsui

Writer + Host: WheremyHeartLeads.com/ Filmaholic/ Orchestrii Orchestrator-in-Chief / Design-lover /World explorer. Written for Zolima City Mag, Culture Trip.