Heart Surgery – Part 2

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.

Background 

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. 

Conclusion 

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।

विपस्सना की पहली अनुभूति

सन २०१० के जुलाई महीने में मैं सम्मर वेकेशन मनाने काठमांडू गया। वर्ल्ड कप का नशा हर व्यक्ति में छाया हुआ था। फाइनल देखने के लिए दोस्त के रूम पर बियर के बोतल खुली और वर्ल्ड कप ख़तम होने के बाद घर लौटने की तैयारी करी|

meditation-blog

1 महीने की छुट्टी अभी शेष थी, दिन कैसे बिताउ समझ में नहीं आ रहा था। अचानक दिमाग में कुछ आया, मार्टिन को कॉल करके आईडिया लिया. तुरंत सम्बंधित निकाय को कॉल करके डेट्स फाइनल किया। रिसीवर से आवाज आई आपको आज ही पंजीकरण करवाना होगा और कल से ही आपके कोर्स की शुरूवात होगी, जल्दी करियेगा सीट बहुत कम रह गयी है।  हमने जल्दी से अनु को बाइक लेके आने को बोला।  हम दोनों होंडा शो रूम पहुंचे और मेरी आईडिया अनु को बताया और वो भी शामिल हो गया।  आधे घंटे के अंदर हमारा पंजीकरण होगया और हमें एक बुकलेट दी गई रटने के लिए।  

अति उत्सुक था और मन में थोड़ा भय भी, क्यों की अगले १२  दिन मेरे जिंदगी के ऐसे छण बिताने जा रहे थे जो पहले कभी एक्सपीरियंस नहीं किया था ।  

अगले दिन सुबह ७ बजे अनु और मैं ऑफिस पहुंचे, शायद थोड़ी जल्दी पहुंच गए, ४ लोग पहले से बैठे हुए थे। आधे घंटे में ऑफिस का वेटिंग रूम भर चूका था, सीट के एब्सेंस में कई लोग खड़े थे, करीबन २०० लोग होंगे मेल, फीमेल और बुजुर्ग मिलाके। सब के हाथ में कम से कम एक बैग या एक सूटकेस था और आपस में खुसूरफुसुर कर रहे थे। समय होचुका था, ऑफिसर ने आके अनाउंसमेंट किया : सबको हॉल की तरफ जाना है, शांत रह कर आचार्य (गुरु) जी से १ घंटे का प्रवचन ग्रहण करना है।  प्रवचन के बाद सबको बैच में बांटा गया, हर बैच को विंगर में बैठने की सलाह दी गयी। विंगर एक एक करके रवाना हो रहे थे। वैसे ही हम भी एक विंगर में बैठके रवाना हो गए।  

center-vipassana-meditation

अभी तक हमें बताया गया था की हमें १० दिन कंटिन्यू बगैर बोले ध्यान करना है, हम धर्मश्रृंगा के ओर प्रस्थान कर रहे थे।  काले बादल छाए हुए थे और जैसे ही शिवपुरी पहाड़ों पे चढ़ना शुरू किया वैसे ही बारिश होने लगी, यह शुभ घडी का संकेत था हमारे लिए।  

गंतव्य पे पहुंचते ही हमने चेक इन किया, मोबाइल फ़ोन जमा करना पड़ा और हमें अकोमोडेशन के रेगुलेशंस बताया गया।  अनु का रूम मेरे रुम से काफी दूर आलोट किया गया था।  घने जंगल के बिच में, मध्य पहाड़ी से सारा काठमांडू का नजारा दिखता था, हल्की बारिश और ऐसे मौसम में किसका मन शांत न हो। ऐसा लग रहा था की आधी मोक्ष की प्राप्ति कोर्स सुरु होने से पहले ही मिल गई।  शाम के डिस्कोर्स में १० दिन की रूटीन बताया गया और कंसल्ट करने के लिए एक आचार्य आल्लोट किये गए।  अगले १० दिनों तक किसी को कुछ बोलने की इजाजत नहीं थी, ना ही कोई इशारा करने की।  किसी को कुछ दिक्कत हो तो वालंटियर्स को इन्फॉर्म करने को बताया गया।  रात को ९ बजे विश्राम करने को अनुमति दी गई| 

सुबह ४ बजे मॉर्निंग बेल बजा, आधे घंटे में रेडी हो कर मैडिटेशन हॉल जाना था।  सबको बैठने के लिए सीट मिली हुई थी।  कोर्स का पहला दिन था, सारे शांत थे, बोलता था तो सिर्फ ऑटोमेटेड स्पीकर्स।  वो कुछ समय इंस्ट्रक्शंस देता और हम उसके बताए हुए कमांड्स को प्रैक्टिस करने को ट्राई करते| यह प्रक्रिया दिन भर कंटिन्यू रहता था।  करीब ११ बजे अपने आचार्य के साथ कंसल्ट करने की परमिशन थी जिसमे हम अपना एक्नॉलेजमेंट देते थे और डाउट्स क्लियर करते थे। सुबह आधे घंटे का ब्रेकफास्ट, दोपहर को डेढ़ घंटे का लंच और शाम को आधे घंटे का डिनर छोड़ कर हर एक डेढ़ घंटे में ५ मिनट की ब्रेक मिलता था।  शाम को साढ़े ८ बजे गुरु जी का डिस्कोर्स अटेंड करते थे।  बाकि सारा समय सुबह ४ से लेकर रात को ९ बजे तक सब्जेक्ट की प्रैक्टिस करते रहते थे।  पुरे कोर्स को २ सब्जेक्ट में डिवाइड किया गया था : पहला ३ दिन १ सब्जेक्ट पे प्रैक्टिस किया और दूसरा बाकी के ७ दिन।

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धीरे धीरे दिन बीत रहा था, रोज कुछ ना कुछ सीखने को मिल रहा था, ऐसा लग रहा था ज्ञान के सागर मे तैर रहा हूँ| बहोट आनंद आ रहा था| परंतु कुछ लोग परेशान होने लगे थे, मेरे रूममेट्स रात होते ही बाते करने लगते थे और अब वो शैयाँ कुछ हद तक टूट चुका था. हमने भी एक बार प्रयास किया अनु से बात करने का लेकिन वॉलंटियर्स ने माना कर दिया| बहुत को वॉर्निंग मिलने लगी थी, इससे पता चल रहा था की इंसान की बोलने की आदत बहुत बुरी तरह से लगी है और यह आसानी से नही छूट सकती|

पाँचवा दिन था, सुबह सुबह 5-7 लोग गुरु जी के साथ परामर्श कर रहे थे| हमारे बाद गुरु जी ने एक दोस्त से पूछा: शरीर मे कुछ फील हो रहा है या नही? जवाब था: मैइ मेरे शरीर के इक्कीससो अंगो को फील कर रहा हूँ| यह सुन के दूसरा दोस्त हसने लगा और उसकी हसी देख कर हम सब भी हसने लगे और गुरु जी भी| गुरु जी ने हसी रोकने को कहा, और हसने का बेफायदा भी बताया, सब लोग शांत हो गये सिवाए मेरे और वो जिसने शुरूवात की थी| गुरु जी ने बाहर जाने की सलाह दी , हम बाहर जा कर खूब हसे, हसी रुकने के बाद वापस अपनी सीट पर जा कर बैठ गये| उस रात मैने बहुत सोचा , सोचते सोचते अचानक से आँखो से आँसू टपकने लगे| अजीब सी अनुभूति होने लगी और एहसास हुआ की मुझे इस तरह नही हसना चाहिए था, बहुत बुरा फील हो रहा था| साथ ही साथ ऐसा भी लग रहा था जैसे मुझे आज कुछ कीमती चीज़ मिली हो जो बहुत कम लोगो को मिलती है|

वो चीज़ जिसे मैने बरसो पहले खो दिया था. लग रहा था अंधेरे जीवन मे सूरज की पहली किरण पड़ी हो| ज्ञान के सागर मे रो रहा था लेकिन खुशी के आँसू टपक रहे थे, अपने आप को कोसने लगा, ये ज्ञान मुझे पहले क्यूँ नही मिला, पहले क्यूँ नही मिला|

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दशवा दिन मेलमिलाप वाला दिन था, सब लोग आपस मे बाते कर सकते थे, सुख दुख की बाते बता सकते थे| सबके चेहरे पे खुशी की रौनक थी, 9 दिन बाद जो खुलके बात करने को मिला था| आपस मे सारे पहचान कर रहे थे और अपने एक्सपीरियेन्स बाँटने मे लगे हुए थे, कोई बुक्स खरीदने मे व्यस्त था तो कोई फोटो खिचने मे| कोई खुश था वंडरफुल एक्सपीरियेन्स को पाकर तो कोई बस यूँ ही|

अगले दिन सुबह वीपास्साना कोर्स का अंतिम अनुभूति करा और 9 बजे चेक आउट करके अनु और मै घर लौट आए|

कहते है हिंदू कोई धर्म नही, यह जीने की एक सैली है वैसे ही वीपास्साना भी जीने का तरीका सिखाती है, खुश रहना सिखाती है, जी हाँ खुश रहना सिखाती है| यह कोर्स में 95% प्रॅक्टिकल करवाया जाता है| इसके रोज अभ्यास करने से नैतिक ज्ञान की प्राप्ति होती है, समाज, देश और संसार को सही राह पे चलना सिखाती है. यह आज मे जीना सिखाती है|

Temper Tantrums

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually became fewer. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

Days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they have a scar just like these.” You can put knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound will always be there.

The Speaking Tree, Page: 06, 1, May, 2011

Magic of Meditation

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Often, stress remains in the system. Focus on the rhythm of your breath that is linked to the state of the mind, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


Once Mullah Naseeruddin met with an accident and he landed in a hospital. He had band-aid all over his face. One of his friends came and asked him, Mullah how are you doing? He said, “I am fine. Only it hurts when I laugh.” The friend then asked Mullah, “How can you laugh being in this condition?” Mullah replied, “If I don’t laugh now I have never laughed in my life.”

Undying enthusiasm is one aspect of being in perfect health. To be able to be in that state, the mind should be in that state, the mind should be stress-free and tension proof. Half of our health we spend in gaining wealth and then we spend that wealth to gain back our health. This is not economical.

Nature has provided us with an inbuilt mechanism — sleep. Sleep is very important as that is when the body releases stress and energy gets recuperated. To some extent, sleep takes care of the fatigue. But most of the time, stress remains in the system. For tackling these kinds of stresses, there are techniques of pranayama and meditation which focus on the rhythm of breath that is linked to the state of the mind.

Human beings hold onto stress. When You are stressed, you frown. Whenever you frown, you use 72 nerves and muscles in your face. But when you smile, you use only four. So you give more work to your face every time you frown. More work means more stress. Stress also makes your smile disappear. What if some failure happens here and there? Every failure is a big step for success. If you have the skill, you can turn any situation around by inducing a little humour in it. Humour is a very good greasing for avoiding stress.

The stress and tension in society  today calls for meditation. The busier you are, the lesser time you have, the lesser time you have, the more desires and ambitions you have — all the more is the need to meditate. Because meditation not only relieves you of stress and strain, it also enhances your abilities, strengthens your nervous system and mind. Not only does it eliminate stress and tensions, release toxins from the body, soothes the mind, it also makes you more capable and enhances you in every way.

If you want to be happy and healty, just meditate.

–Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, The Art of Living Foundation

Times Wellness, Page: 01, 7, April, 2011

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Friends & Enemies

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The ego, or individual self-sense, is both your best friend and your worst enemy. It is your best friend and your worst enemy. It is your best friend because, in the most positive sense, it represents your capacity to individuate — to see yourself as a unique, autonomous entity and to bear witness to your own experience with some measure of objectivity. Individuation is what makes it possible for you to be a conscious agent of evolution, a vessel for Spirit in action. The more profound our individuation, the more powerfully Spirit can shine through us. However, ego is also our worst enemy. And this is because, for too many of us, over-identification with our seperate individuality obscures the deeper and higher spiritual dimensions of our being. It is very important to understand this paradoxical nature of the ego if you, as an individual, want to take responsibility for creating the future, as yourself.
–Andrew Cohen
The Speaking Tree, Page: 02, 3, April, 2011
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