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Meditate your way to wellness |


Meditate your way to wellness

"I can’t believe it – 10 days without talking to other people, just sitting and just meditating!" said Bunny, a friend of mine who had just signed up for the Vipassana meditation course. A part of me envied my friend who could take time off to learn a mind discipline. I have, for a number of years, wanted to attend the course but life situations always just seem to connive to show me that now is not yet my time for it. So I am sending my friend Bunny off with a wee bit of envy, taking solace in my own personal meditation practice. Any added experiential learning to help bring one’s life to a more peaceful and gentle state of mind is always welcome.

In the mad rush of our world, our Mind, energies and emotions are all sucked into the speed of things. Speed alone wouldn’t be so bad except that there are just so much negative energies being brought to the surface so that some cleansing, healing and transformation can happen. It becomes more and more crucial to learn techniques and develop practices that allow us a certain detachment. Life after all is really a drama where illusions of ego-created situations play out through our emotions, repressions, thoughts and reactions to the sensory stimulants. Add to the plot: challenges in relationships, forcing us to learn lessons after lessons to help make us better, wiser and kinder. The Mind that never stops calculating, thinking, strategizing, planning, judging (and we can go on with all the activities it finds time to occupy itself with) can deplete the Spirit. Such busyness in the Mind can even create more and more illusions, bringing us deeper in believing that what we see and experience in everyday life is the ONLY reality. The speed of the world forces change and transformation. And how we hate change! Many of us refuse to get out of our comfort zones. Our Minds hold on to outmoded beliefs, limiting our consciousness. Yes, the Mind can make us prisoners of ourselves.

There are so many processes of quieting the Mind and one of them is Meditation. Even this very broad practice has so many types, kinds and nuances. Meditation practice enables us to face the tensions and problems of daily living in a calm and balanced way. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.

Vipassana literally means "seeing things as they really are." It is a systematic method of quieting the mind and sharpening it through direct self-observation. It is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. Since the time of Buddha, Vipassana has been handed down, to the present day, by an unbroken chain of teachers. Although Indian by descent, the current teacher in this chain,, was born and raised in Burma (now Myanmar). After receiving training from his teacher for 14 years, Mr. Goenka settled in India and began teaching Vipassana in 1969. Since then he has taught tens of thousands of people of all races and all religions in both the East and West. In 1982 he began to appoint assistant teachers to help him meet the growing demand for Vipassana courses (even in prisons!).

It is not a religion but a non-sectarian technique that aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose. The entire practice is actually a mental training. Just as we use physical exercises to improve our bodily health, Vipassana can be used to develop a healthy mind.

Yoga teacher Bela Lipat says, "Vipassana 10-day courses are amazing." They can be life-enhancing and life-changing if one is open to growth and evolution. I’ve done seven courses already, (have sat in five courses and served in two courses) and each time I sit for a course, it’s never the same. One experiences the truths directly, not only as intellectual understanding, but as it really is. Seeds are planted during the course, and with practice, its flowers blossom and bear fruits in one’s daily life."

I had asked once why the course had to be 10 days. It seems that this disciplined process requires this minimum time frame. Only after a number of days does something "click" inside, or allows the Mind to go to a new level of awareness.

Many who have attended the course have also said that the full flowering of the effects of the ten days become even more obvious a year after. Because it has been found to be genuinely helpful, great emphasis is put on preserving the technique in its original, authentic form. It is not taught commercially, but instead is offered freely. By tradition, Vipassana meditation courses are supported solely by voluntary donations from those who have completed the course. There are no charges, not even for food and accommodations. Neither the teachers nor the organizers get paid for their services.

This is some serious discipline that requires hard work within three basic steps.

Step One:
Calm the mind.

Step Two:
Develop some mastery over the mind by learning to fix one’s attention on the breath.

Step Three,
which normally happens during the fourth day: Observing sensations throughout the body, understanding their nature, and developing equanimity by learning not to react to them.

Meditation is something we can carry with us through life. Just like prayer that allows us to converse with our God to bring us solace, meditation is a deeper non-mind/non-verbal prayer that breaks to the zone BEYOND the Mind. Vipassana shows one such technique.

Next Vipassana course is on April 5 to 16 at the Sico Farm, Dasmariñas, Cavite.

For inquiries please call: 6393047 or 0916-9708578 or 0917-8004464. Email: Application forms may be downloaded from

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