Dear friends, I underwent critical heart surgery last week. Yes, it was a tough time for me to cope with every moment of the 10 days inside the care unit. I have a very distinct and peculiar experience of the surgical procedure that I am so keen to blog and I would love to share this wonderful experience.
Heart ♥ Surgery! you might be wondering what kind of heart surgery was it that I am so keen to share with. This surgery doesn’t take tools like knives and scissors to cut my heart and take off the diseases out but the breath. Yes, the only breath tool to pierce my heart, cut the sections and fix the disorders. Here the doctor is me and relied only upon the guidance provided by the teacher. Confused right? Dear friends, I was suffering from the most common diseases around the world happening in this modern era originated from the cravings that caused full of harmful energies ruling my body and mind that tangled uncountable knots inside my heart and was becoming too heavy to carry along.
This procedure of surgery or the heart purifying technique is called Vipassana. I went my first 10 days Vipassana Meditation course 10 years ago in July 2010 at Dharmasringa, Kathmandu. I have already shared that experience by writing on my blog. If you like to read that post before continuing this you can find it here. Also before proceeding further I would like to briefly discuss what Vipassana is. Vipassana, meaning to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. The technique of Vipassana Meditation is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results. There are no charges for the courses – not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit.
It was the month of July of the year 2010 when I learned the Vipassana Meditation technique for the first time. Like my other life events, this too was sudden, completely unplanned. It’s been ten years now and two things are still crystal clear in my head. The first thing that I laughed like I went crazy, I could not stop for almost a dozen of minutes, for a joke created by a meditator friend with the assistant teacher and the second that the tears rolled down my eyes for I went too emotional, why wasn’t I introduced with such teachings earlier. Why then?
After 10 years in the first week of September, this time too I went to take the ten days course at sudden but this time at Dhamma Janani, Lumbini. For 10 years in between many ups and ups came into my life. I practiced Vipassana almost daily because it was diluted in my blood and there is no other way to get rid of it. This time I neither cried nor laughed but achieved a higher level of expertise. But how? Imagine a parrot in a cage when freed in the open sky, like a fish in an aquarium when left in the ocean. Yes, it was similar kind of feeling I experienced this time. Like I was free from the extreme burden. Like the entire knots that were tied one by one as the past deeds, got untied in 10 days. Like my stoned heavy heart transformed to feather light. Like it was successful heart surgery. Like I got a new life, a rejuvenated and pure one.
Day 0 – Registration & Introduction day
This is the day when people from different parts of the world come together to become a saint for 10 days at the Vipassana Meditation Centre leaving the material world, friends and families behind. Like other people, I too was excited enough on this day as if I was attending the course for the first time. During and after the registration process at 1 pm we introduced with each other and had a friendly conversations with other students. After breakfast in the evening, we were reminded of the rules and regulations basically the Pancha Sila – the five precepts in the mini Hall and begged for the knowledge with the teacher for the meditation technique in the main hall.
The struggling minutes
The level of curiosity on day 1 is the highest as everyone is very keen to learn a completely new thing in their life. This is for the new students. As I was an old one I had a different high feeling. I was given the first row of the entire members very near to the teacher’s seat in the main hall and a private room to practice, the meditation cell (शुन्यगार). Well, the first day goes off very soon by learning and practicing the Samadhi – the breathing technique. On day 2 and day 3 the curiosity curve falls sharp down and the impatience level increases high for them who overlooked & over expected what Vipassana was. Because it becomes difficult moment by moment to resist the silence and the pain coming out of the body due to prolonged single position seat. People start breaking the noble silence and begin murmuring with others. The frequency of changing the body position goes up and many starts to stay outside the main hall. The rest follow the track very patiently by learning and practicing the Samadhi technique. It was not that easy for me too in the beginning because it was already 10 years when I made my first attempt. The old students are given only two times to eat in a day. The morning breakfast at 6:30 am and the afternoon lunch at 11 am. The lack of evening meal was killing me and my stomach. The day 4- the teaching of the Vipassana technique also called Pragya– seeing the sensation as they are in every single part of the body, which gave a new hope as the story added a new chapter and the curiosity graph slightly rose up.
The adhisthan – Strong determination
It looks very easy and simple to see students sitting in a position without a move with a completely straight back and head for hours. Every day at 8 am-9 am, 2:30 pm-3:30 pm and 6 pm-7 pm we have to follow the adhisthan meaning strong determination. Here one has to make a strong decision to sit down in one position without moving the hands, leg and body for an hour. These hours were the most difficult and dangerous times for newcomers. Initially for two days, I had forgotten about the adhisthan. On the third day when I read the rules in detail, I suddenly realized. The same day from 6 pm-7 pm onwards I kept the promise and I was able to successfully follow the adhisthan rule. By the evening of day 4 we had learned the Vipassana technique of meditation. Most people used to think that they get rid of the samadhi technique from day 4 but it is not like that the Vipassana technique is directly dependent on the samadhi. The more good they are at samadhi the better they will perform in Vipassana.
The miracle moments
On day 6 during the one to one combined meditation with the teacher, he asked about the progress of Vipassana. I explained to him in a brief way but the detailed follow like this: On day 4 in the evening as soon as I started learning the Vipassana technique every part of my body started shivering one by one. This was not the first time I practiced this technique, I practiced Vipassana for 10 years but I never felt such intense sensation before. My entire body had continuous vibrations. The more I focused the clearer was the sensation. Slowly the vibration started causing a better feeling. Even outside the meditation hall, my whole body was experiencing vibrations and good feelings. The next day during the morning sitting I started to feel better. Though surprised, every moment was a wonderful experience. During the morning adhisthan the first free flow of my second Vipassana course occurred. It remained for more than 5 minutes. This sensation was more intensive than I used to have earlier. Till then every pain in my body was being converted into a good feeling. As soon as I felt the pain sensation in my legs and back it didn’t hurt but caused a better sensation and a free flow. My heart started to feel lighter and lighter. This is how I wish to die, I wished, I murmured. From 9 am to 11am group sitting the same day I went to the meditation cell to practice. In a few minutes, I felt another free flow from the top of the head to the tip of the toe. This was even more intense than that of the first one. The intense sensation was not bearable. The whole body was experiencing waves like ripple effects from the top to the bottom and filled with immense pleasure. Suddenly I felt like I could not resist this pleasure and broke into a huge laughter. I went crazy. I could not stop. I came out of the cell immediately and took a break for 5 minutes. Pleasure, pleasure, and pleasure everywhere in my whole body, every little part of my body was experiencing tremendous pleasure. Like all sadness was gone. Like no cravings anymore nor any suffering. Only pleasure. Only pleasure. During the afternoon practice session in the main hall on the same day just after the lunch break, I ejaculated due to continuous pleasure. Do you believe? Yes, it happened. I instantly left my seat, headed towards my room and took a shower. After returning back I went to the meditation cell for practice. The pleasure feeling was still remaining but gross and mild. I continued practicing. This was miraculous day 5. Did I enter into the next level of Vipassana Meditation? I asked myself.
When the teacher heard this story he asked me how many times I completed 10 days Vipassana course. When I told him this was my second one after 10 years then he appraised me telling that I did the good practice. It was a proud moment for me.
Similarly, on the 6th and 7th day I continually practiced Vipassana almost every moment and I experienced the most intensive sensation throughout my body I ever felt before. I also felt like I had no sorrow or pain then. Every physical pain used to convert into a beautiful experience. I could sit for hours meditating. I even felt deep sensation while walking, eating, sitting, sleeping, or even hearing the sound of the bell and the voice of the teacher. I felt no fear when insects were crawling throughout my body. Instead, their crawl on the surface of the skin brought sensation and sometimes caused free flow. All sensation either gross or intense used to make my heart feel lighter. Like the knots inside my heart getting unwinded one by one. The knots of old cravings. Making my heart cleaner and pure. Getting healed moment by moment. Amazing.
Day 8 reminded me of my family as there were only two days remaining for practice. The thoughts in my head made me feel disturbed and distracted. I used to manage the distraction but the sensation was gross then. The more the thoughts the grosser was the sensation. The free flow was still felt but after longer periods when the intense sensation was felt.
The friendship day
A new excitement was there on day 9 as the alarm for day 10 had already been rung. Day 9 passed away by making the plans for day 10. Day 10 was the friendship day. After keeping my mouth shut up for complete 9 days I broke the noble silence on the last day. Like mine everyone’s face had a wonderful big smile and their heart filled with glory and joy. Greetings and wishes. Small groups were formed and gossips went unstoppable. The first topic of the discussion was the 9 days of meditation experience. And the rest their own. There was a video show, book show and donation program on this day.
Day 11 – The exit day
After the morning meditation and breakfast on day 11, I washed the bed sheet and pillow cover. I returned home after clearing.
It is very difficult to make people understand who have never practiced Vipassana what exactly it is by explaining its process. Vipassana can only be understood when practically done and experienced. There are some terms like Panchsheel, Samadhi, Pragya, adhisthan, free flow, equanimity, etc which are completely practical terms that might be difficult to get. One should take at least 10 days of Vipassana Meditation course to experience life. Many people misunderstand about Vipassana and relate it with different caste and religion. But the one who has practiced it without expectations has benefitted the most. Those people have known the true meaning of life – The Art of Living. The true dhamma.
The core objective of this article is not only to share my experience but also to motivate people so that more and more people can learn this knowledge and take advantage of the Vipassana practice. I have talked about sensation many times here. One might wonder how the only sensation in the body can heal one’s heart-“chitta” and soul. People might wonder but it’s true that every single emotion that a person feels causes sensation in one or more parts of our body. This is it, Vipassana teaches us to see those sensations as they are. By not reacting on it, by letting it just like it. But the perfect equanimity should be maintained. Equanimity is the tool to measure the progress of Vipassana. This is how by the continuous practice of Vipassana one can rule over their own mind. Either sad times or the happiest moments.
Very soon I will be having my third 10 days Vipassana Meditation course in the near future.
Let all beings be happy, let all beings be liberated, let all beings be peaceful and harmony, let all beings share my merits.
सबैको भलो होस्, सबै को कल्याण होस्।
सबका भला हो, सबका कल्याण हो।