I completed my first Vipassana Meditation course a few months ago - in December 2017 in Leh, Ladakh, India. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! So tough and uncomfortable, in fact, that I didn’t think I’d ever do it again…
But now, a few months later, I’m missing it! Not the course per se, but the way I felt afterwards. My mind was clear. I knew what I wanted. I knew the path I needed to take.
After the course, I continued my meditation practice for a few weeks. It was easy to do just an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening after doing it ALL DAY for 10 days! But after a while, it became harder and harder. Life came in the way.
In the course, you are completely cut off from everything - phone, Internet, books, even talking to other people! After a few days of it, it gets easier and easier to get into the right zone for meditation.
But in real life, all these things are constantly in your head. Add work, stress, other people, and it’s almost impossible to get into that magic flow of meditation. I lost it. It got frustrating. I stopped.
Now, I can barely be in the same room as my own thoughts. I need constant stimulation, whether it’s Netflix while eating, or constantly checking my likes on Twitter, or even checking Facebook when I know there is absolutely nothing I want to see on there.
I know I need to get back to that amazing path to clarity. Of course, my first thought was to do another Vipassana course! Force myself back! Dedicate the time! Go extreme!
But the courses that work for me in terms of dates and locations are already all full, with long wait lists. That made me upset, but it also made me realize that meditation is not something I should do in a 10-day course and forget a few weeks later. I have to do the work. Nobody else can do it for me.
I still plan to sign up for a Vipassana course in the next few months - I already found one that works for me and noted down the application date. But more importantly, I will do the work myself regardless of the course.
I’m starting with what I can. Right now, I’m just putting a timer for 1 hour in the morning and in the evening, and sitting there with nothing else to do. It’s uncomfortable and not fun, and it’s not even what you’re “supposed to do” - I’m not even forcing myself to meditate. I’m just starting with building that habit of doing nothing.
Most of the hour, my thoughts dominate. I make to do lists (but I’m not allowed to write them down), think of certain people, think of movies or tv shoes I’ve watching recently, etc. But there are moments in there where things slow down and I’m able to be present, be as I am without all the stress surrounding me. Those are the moments I hope to grow into reclaiming my own mind.