Why did I sign up for the Vipassana Course

By Admin

August 16, 2021
Having heard very little about Vipassana , I jumped to the idea of  signing up for a 10 day course , for the only reason being – I wanted to experience  silence . Yes ,in this chaotic world that we live in , Silence  has become a luxury especially if you are a mother of two boys during this pandemic 🙂
Initially  when I thought that I would need to be away for 10 days for the course , my heart did skip a beat thinking of all those thousands of things that we as women think we are incharge of . However this time I decided to surrender-
Surrender the house , surrender my kids, surrender my work , surrender to the new experience that I was headed for and above all surrender to the Master who would then be requiring to take charge of everything.(Well it’s always that way)
After having registered and going through the routine check up including a Covid test , students were  asked to relax in their respective room, which was followed by an orientation and then began the NOBLE SILENCE – ARYA MAUN period for the next 10 days  .
As per the schedule , I woke up at 4.00 A.m with the sound of the Gong  and got ready for the group meditation to be held in the Dhamma hall. Each student in the hall is assigned a particular space and is asked to be seated there for the entire 10 days . We all are guided through an audio of Sir S.N Goenka, who started teaching this technique of Vipassana in India . His lectures  at the end of the day motivated me as well as other students to stay put the entire 10 days .
As couple of days  passed  and I was spending 10 hours a day sitting on the floor trying to get a hang of a comfortable posture along with controlling my monkey mind, back pain , shoulder pain, leg pain, all sorts of pain emerged and made it impossible for me to sit still.
After working on observing breathing and focusing on the nasal area for the first three days  I realised that I was able to then control my mind  which was only revolting against this whole new experience and making it more difficult for me to sit still .
However this was the true test – The thumb rule of Vipassana is just to OBSERVE  without getting anxious, or agitated 🙂
As I witnessed these self doubts, I realised that the more I give in to my mind ,the more I am unable to attempt Vipassana, thus began the process of taming/controlling  my mind consciously and persistently .
Day 5- Day 10
Came the 5th day and we were taught the technique of Vipassana , The first four days are only meant to sharpen the mind and and train it to stop following a string of thoughts and to feel subtler sensations.
This was indeed the toughest day as it requires the mind to be become sharp by then, while searching for sensations on different  parts of our body .
The next five days are all about practice of Vipassana and feeling subtler sensations in the body. Students are also then assigned meditation cells in the Pagoda to meditate all by themselves , the cell is a rectangular small room with a small circular window and the purpose of meditating in cell is to feel the vibration of one’s own energy unlike in the hall where each ones vibration is mixed with the other meditators .
We were then instructed to follow Aadishthaan sessions in our group sittings (Aadhisthaan means -Strong Determination) . There are three such sessions in a day in which one isn’t supposed to move one’s body or open one’s eyes and be determined to do so for the entire one hour long of meditation. The purpose of Aadhisthaan is not to torture ,but to help one  realise how determined one is  and how strong is the will to do what one decides upon. 
These sessions indeed help me to gain confidence at the end of the day when I was able to finally endure the pain that I was going through . The clock seemed to move really slow in these sessions and indeed made me feel like I have been sitting since eternity with my eyes closed . The achievement that one experiences after the sessions indeed overpowers all the aches and pains that one goes through this one Long hour.
Every time I felt like moving my leg owing to the immense  pain due to my varicose veins  I was only reminded of one word that was again and again being repeated in all the audio instructions given by Sir Goenka, and that is Anichya which means Impermanence . Anything that is happening at the moment is bound to change and if one develops attachment towards it or if one creates an aversion towards it then it is bound to multiply and cause more pain . However if one just observes and remains  equanimous to both pain or pleasant sensations then one is indeed getting set to walk on the path towards liberation . (All this however is easier said than done 🙂 )
The principle of Anichya did help me to feel at ease as I was experiencing the change within me , every sensation was changing and so was the intensity of the pain being experienced thus helping me to accept it without attaching importance .
The last two days were very tiring as one is expected to practice this more seriously and with immense dedication and this is where again the mind wants to give up . I somehow pushed myself the last two days and managed to stay put despite missing my family and the urge to connect with them .
Came the last day and the Noble Silence ended after the morning Aadhisthaan session . All students finally spoke to one another and were feeling at ease to know that each one went through almost similar struggles all through the 10 days . The old students of course moved up the ladder , but as far as for the ones who did this course the first time including me, It was an immense learning experience . 
It made us reflect on the changes that one needs to bring about to train our minds in a way that it becomes our strength than a source of weakness, as the default function of the human mind is either to react or  to crave .
The feeling of completing this course and experiencing  the bliss that one experiences is something that is worth the pain and sacrifice . It not only helps one to declutter one’s mind , but also leaves one with a feeling of immense  Gratitude .
The best part about this course is that the practice that is taught is universal and applicable to each one irrespective of their caste and creed . All that one needs is Aadhisthaan (Strong will or determination )  and faith in Anichya (impermanence ) to learn and being about a change.
As I continue to practice Vipassana mindfully on most days  , I urge you to try this course  whenever you get an opportunity .You don’t have to pay any fees for this course as it purely operates on donation and you are free to donate any amount as per your wish .
Remember the principle  of Surrender and you will be able to sail through the course as smoothly as I did 🙂
FYI- Government of Maharashtra had passed a GR to follow Vipassana in schools for students and teachers and launched an initiative called MITRA which stands for MIND IN TRAINING for RIGHT AWARENESS .
MITRA  aims to address 2.5 crore school children and 1 Lakh school teachers.
All school teachers who wish to apply or know more can visit the following link  https://www.dhamma.org/en/courses/search
To watch my video on learning from Vipassana click here https://youtu.be/jiXj6ajRK28

Rakhee Chhabria
Founder- TeachersHelpTeachers
(A curious learner , passionate educator and a mother of two boys )



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