13 Jul Vipassana: What these days of silence did to me
Have you ever noticed how noisy your life is?
I am not talking about that noise you can hear everywhere in the streets outside your working or living place. What I mean is that inner noise which we all hear but everyone ignores.
There are always a million thoughts in our heads that make it really hard to ever calm down or get some rest for our brains. We are rushing at a very high speed in our lives without taking a real break and at the same time we are expecting our body to deal with that high speed every day and to support us unconditionally.
Unfortunately that easily becomes a vicious circle. We get up in the morning, rush into work, dealing with our to do list for the day, having one appointment after another, rushing home again, always being late and having far too little time left for ourselves.
This continues for days and weeks and years. And then suddenly our body tells us one day that it is all too much and our lifestyle is unbearbale.
Our body is infact sending us signals of an actual or impending sickness which we need to deal with.
In that very moment when we get unwell after a period of driving on the fast lane through our lives without ever taking a break, we are forced to to take a break. Most of us might just be annoyed because being unwell causes even more problems. We become impatient and wait till the external physical symptoms disappear and then continue where we left off. The whole process keeps repeating itself like a never ending story. However, inside ourselves we all know that nothing happens without a reason. But being either lazy or in denial we tend to ignore that thought and keep driving on the fast lane pretending that everything is fine until we break down physically or mentally.
Ultimately when we start feeling sorry for ourselves and are forced to take a break there comes a point we seriously start reflecting about our problems and the chaos within our our inner self. This is very difficult to deal with and leaves us with a feeling of having millions of thoughts inside our heads without any structure or order. I call this the inner noise. This inner noise is caused by hardly ever taking a break to rest, to calm down and to just let go.
The big question is how can we get rid of that inner noise?
Also how can we ensure that we avoid getting into that state of unbearable inner noise where our bodies simply give in?
Well, there is no simple solution to that question. Based on my personal experience I recommend to everyone of you is to spend at least a couple of days per year in
That might sound a bit strange, so what does that mean? I know that sounds a bit scary when I say complete silence. Let me explain what I mean by that. You can trust me when I say I was the prototype of a highly strung , unrelaxed person. I was living a very fast life, doing a million things at the same time and absolutely never taking a break. As a result I became unwell for a couple of days every month which really annoyed me as I could not carry on living in the fast lane all the time.
I therefore decided to take some action about my recurring bouts of illness. What I did was to subscribe at a course in vipassana meditation at a buddhist temple. Vipassana is the oldest kind of mediation in the world with an origin in India.
Vipassana means finding the real truth within all things and beings.
Having been taught by the Buddha himself, Vipassana meditation focuses on purifying the mind and eliminating delusion. The idea is to get rid of negative attachments such as pain, suffering and distress. This is done by spending some days meditating in an environment of complete silence.
The idea of spending a couple of days in a row in complete silence means not talking to anyone and even not using a mobile phone. Being completely dependent on my mobile phone that sounded like my worst nightmare! However, in that period of being unwell once a month I decided to do something about it and giving Vipassana a try. To be honest, I have never done any kind of meditation in my life before and I had no idea what it would be like.
After having arrived at that buddhist temple where the course took place I still was unsure about the deeper sense of guided meditation. The instructor started by giving an overview of what would happen in the next 4 days and what vipassana was about.
The more I heard about it the more scared I became.
How could someone like me even think about doing a thing like that?! Me, being a very efficient person who believes that taking breaks is just a sign of weakness, should sit 4 days meditating in complete silence?! That was a really odd thought, however, in the end I gave it a try.
It turned out that this was one of the best experiences of my life.
I can not even find the appropriate words to explain what it did to me and how necessary it was for me. I have not been ill again after this meditation programme. During the first two days of meditation I heard and felt for the first time the unending noise within my head. There were millions of thoughts that had left me emotionally and physically exhausted.
The moment when you sit in complete silence not talking to anyone and not using your mobile phone you are alone with yourself and your thoughts. Even if there are other people in the same room meditating at the same time you do feel alone, which feels unusual but good. No one speaks to no one, not even whilst eating. I did 8 times 50 minutes of sitting meditation as well as 4 times 10 minutes of walking meditation every day.
Once you realise how noisy it is within yourself you would be willing do something about it. Within those first two days I establisehd some kind of self awareness about the awful and continuous noise in my head. Within the last two days of Vipassana meditation I felt how this noise gradually lessened and eventually turned into complete silence. This feeling of letting go of the noise and all those negative, unnecessary thoughts was such a wonderful release that I really felt completely relaxed. I had never previously experienced such a state of relaxation and peace as i did after those 4 days..
It was an experience that I will never forget. I would advise everyone to experience this at least once or twice a year for a couple of days no matter how busy you are. We are all very busy and have stressful lives and are hardly finding any time to calm down and relax.
I can promise you that once you have tried vipassana with all its surrounding silence it will lead you to a state of deep inner peace and relaxation.
It’s Carina’s passion to write about self awareness, self reflection and self empowerment. She draws her life experience into her work as an author to share the ideas of designing a smart life.
Find out more about Carina here: http://www.steuerberatung-hackl.at/