By Aditya in Experiences
Updated 23:35 IST Mar 22, 2020

Views » 660 | 4 min read

It was day 4 of the course. By then I had overcome the fluctuating mental resolve, the ups and downs most students experience. The night before, one of the students had scaled the wall and ran away, unable to endure the process anymore. Not that we were not warned before. On day zero the teacher did brief us, “this course is like a surgery, once you commit to it, you have to go through it till the stitches are done, you cannot just abandon the process half way, with your mind opened up’’.

Yet the fellow had run away, but I had managed to devise a strategy of my own. “Two test matches, back to back and one session at a time”, I had told myself. It helped me to break it down into smaller tasks and tackle it one at a time, allowing me small victories.

So it was day 4 and having spent three days learning and practicing the Anapana technique, finally it was time to learn Vipassana. I was eager to know what the big deal was. I had heard stories about people discovering their chakras and finding enlightenment and what not, so I was keen to discover some magic myself. The first session at 5 am was as usual, like most of the students, I tried my best to stay awake while pretending to focus on my breathing, while an older fellow next to me snored without a care of the world.

After the morning break, we reassembled at 10 am and during that session I experienced one of the learnings that will stay with me forever. We took our seats in the hall and the teacher asked us to adopt any sitting position that we were most comfortable with. But once chosen, we had to commit to the position for an hour, no shifting, no releasing. We had to stay still and focus on the breathing. How difficult can it be to just sit quietly for an hour? I cannot describe how tough it was.

The wall clock was right in front of me, every once in a while, I would open my eyes and take a peek at the clock, only to realize the excruciating slowness of time. My knees started giving up, then ankles, then the back and finally the calf and thigh muscles. The interesting part is, neither was my mind willing to focus on the breathing, as it kept complaining about the pain and wandered here and there, nor was it was willing to let go of the position. Ego with shame is a deadly combination, pushing you to do things that a sane mind will not. So I held on to the position, enduring the pain, unwilling to bargain with the shame. Even managing to focus on the breathing a few seconds.       

Finally, the teacher asked us to release the position. I cannot describe the joy that I felt when I let go of the tense muscles and the compressed joints. Later that evening we all gathered in the hall to listen to the Guruji’s discourse played on the tape recorder. The discourse is designed such that, invariably it answers the queries that have popped up in your mind during the day.

Guruji said, “How did you feel? Free? Free from entrapment? That was just an hour, imagine your mind entrapped in your body for years. How tired it must be. Imagine how it would feel to experience it free of all boundaries.”  

I did finish the two tests, but I played for the draw, although winning a session or two, which isn’t bad in itself. But honestly I didn’t experience the chakras or anything of that sort. In the last ten years since I did the course, I haven’t practiced meditation regularly, sometimes I do, only to find my mind wandering in the past or peeping in to the future but unable to stay in the present. Unable to see things as they are. But the course was certainly not a waste, no way. The experience is etched deep in my mind and I can draw on to it whenever required, like I did today.

Today we all spent a day entrapped in our homes, not allowed to move freely. Imagine the joy we will experience when we step outside, once the restrictions are lifted. Many of us are trapped for 9 more days so we might was well prepare for two tests back to back and play by the session. While we see through these days of entrapment, let us look within and try to release the mind trapped in our body.      

Stay safe, stay healthy.


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