Vipassana

“Oh! You’re having Dhamma baby, how exciting! Remind me to tell you about my friends Dhamma baby after noble silence is over.” said the beautiful kind and generous female course manager at Vipassana registration.

 

I walked into the registration hall after parting ways with my partner to embark on a 10 day silent meditation sit at The Southeast Vipassana Center in Jesup, GA. This will be my first sit and my partners as well. For 10 days I sat in noble silence and meditated for about 11 hours a day, five months pregnant with my first child. Yes I’m pregnant!

 

4:30 wake up…meditate

6:30 breakfast

8 meditate

9:30 meditate with the group

11 lunch

1 meditate

2:30 meditate with the group

3:30 meditate

5 light snack of fruit

6 meditate with group

7 dhamma discourse

8:30 meditate some more!

 

I was in bed every night at 9:30 and rightly so as there really wasn’t anything else to do and we were waking up at 4 in the morning. It was intense, not the silent part so much but sitting IN YOUR HEAD ALL DAY EVERY DAY took a serious toll on my emotions. Then the physical sitting with a pregnant belly, and sore back. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done but also the most rewarding.

 

For those of you who don’t know Vipasssana is to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living.

This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation through the  release of “sankaras” negative energies that arise that cause suffering when we either cling too much to something to have deep aversions. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose.

Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations (sankaras) that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.

The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.

I went to the course having as little expectation as I could. The only thing I was hoping for was transformation out of some of my patterns that cause suffering. Since becoming pregnant,  I have found that there are many new feelings are coming up for me. Feelings about my family, my childhood, my relationship to men, my old 14 year old girl habits of jealousy, passive aggressiveness, anger……all began to resurface. Feelings ranging from my resentments of my grandfather for the way I grew up watching him treat my grandmother badly to jealousy that I haven’t felt since I was with my first boyfriend in high school came back up. I had prided myself as someone who has done deep inner work to move through these emotions. It’s true what they say about having children, they bring out all of the cracks. So you better go through them a few times to make sure that you have them glued together with strength. In the past few months as I have had these feelings come up I have noticed a strong attachment towards them. I would get down on myself that they were coming back up or angry again as if it was happening for the first time. Practicing Vipassana changed all of this for me. I learned through dealing with the sensations in my body, through direct experience that NOTHING is permanent. I learned how to not develop aversion or attachment towards my feelings. Then the biggest lesson of all was compassion. Compassion for myself, for my past choices, for my family, for anyone who has ever wronged me, for my place in this life at this moment. And everything felt blissful. Just being felt like pure bliss.

The course manager came to me when we broke silence to explain what she meant by Dhamma baby. Dhamma means the law of nature. She explained to me that a friend of hers did her first 10 day sit when she was pregnant and 9 years later every time she says that it is time to meditate her daughter becomes quiet and sits. I have noticed that every time I sit to meditate at home since leaving the course, if the baby is kicking and moving around the little one will stop. And stay still during the meditation.

While sitting for such a long period of time in my head was such a challenge I am incredible proud and thankful for myself to have seen it through. I strongly encourage everyone to give this practice a try. Life will not be the same again.

Much Love & Metta,

Sarah

vipassana

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One thought on “Vipassana

  1. Sarah, I’m curious about your baby. How is his character? Do you think vipassana influenced it?
    I actually also sat vipassana whilst pregnant and I wanted to find out if other people feel influenced babies character!

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