Fitting in 10 minutes of daily quiet time—totally doable—but 10 WHOLE DAYS? Is that even humanly possible? I can let you know, I’m heading there soon.
Why would anyone willingly choose to fly off to some bare-bones retreat center where there’s no allowance for technology, no music, no books, not even a journal to sort one’s ubiquitous thoughts? The crutches of comfort food or beverage are also eliminated through the scantily clad vegetarian menu and side-car of tea. Sleeping off boredom is futile as the campus bells toll at 4 a.m. Many people can’t quite comprehend this picture.
Ever since my awakening in 2010 (while milking goats in Italy), each year I force myself to go deeper into the vat of me—with the hope that the experience will help me hone the unknown.
I pick an experience I’ve read or heard about—one that triggers astonishment, admiration, and fear within me, one that pushes me way beyond my comfort zone and delivers me to the land of no notion (neutrality).
I mean, really, how can I anticipate the outcome of 10 continuous days of the aforementioned? We shall see; I am leaving in a couple of days.
According to the host organization, Vipassana meditation “is the process of self-purification by self-observation. One begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. With a sharpened awareness, one proceeds to observe the changing nature of body and mind and experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering, and egolessness. This truth-realization by direct experience is the process of purification.” I remember barely grasping those words when I read them 15 years ago. Back then I was 100% inexperienced with such concepts, yet somehow they piqued curiosity and poked a pinhole of majorly uncharted personal territory.
Recently I’ve listened to several people who have attended this 10-day experience. All survived. One woman now goes every year. Some graduate to the 40-day version. Their stories solidified my 2018 choice for personal evolution, for which I leave in a couple of days.
For several years I have asked myself what life would be like if I continuously engaged the necessary discipline to live more consciously in all aspects of my life—constantly acting on things that align with my highest and best good. It’s a grand goal.
Evolution is a process, not a switch.
Which is why the following portion of the organization’s description pushed me past the fear. “As a by-product of mental purification, many psychosomatic diseases are eradicated….including the three causes of all unhappiness: craving, aversion, and ignorance. With continued practice, Vipassana meditation releases the tensions developed in everyday life, opening the knots tied by the old habit of reacting in an unbalanced way to pleasant and unpleasant situations.” B-I-N-G-O! That is my take on planned obsolescence…and it all starts in just a couple days.
Why am I telling you about this? Because my purpose in life is to inspire people to evolve. The best way I know to accomplish that is to walk the talk. If I just go through this 10 days and keep it to myself, am I fulfilling my purpose? Perhaps on a subtle level, but not to the degree for which I feel responsible. Through this article, I initiate this walk in a way that requires deeper vulnerability and invokes vaster accountability—and I thank you for that opportunity!
Did I mention that I am leaving in a couple of days? Yes? Oh, several times? Yes. That’s because I’m nervous before this journey—I have very little idea of what to expect or how this will feel during and after.
I am confident that my life will change for the better (evolve) and that there’ll be nuggets of wisdom to share with others.
And that my friends, is enough for me. See ya on the flip-side….