Tag Archives: #anicca

Another Ten Days

It is time for my annual Vipassana retreat blog. 

Like all things this year, Vipassana retreat centres have been closed in most places. At the beginning of the year, I thought I might be able to do it in a centre – but as the year progressed that possibility dwindled. I have always done a course at a centre and was not sure about the self-course at home. So, I waited and watched to see if the desire remains, and by grace, I realized the need to do a 1-day even if it is at home. And I am delighted to announce that I finished it today. 

At the core, it is just like any other course at the centre – the meditation technique remains the same. Water will boil, and ice will melt regardless of where in the world you are (depending on the temperature), it does not change its nature. However, this course was a lot harder because I had never realized the energy boost that the centres, teachers and other students provide. And I had to fill that gap by myself – it was tough. There were days when I found myself wondering what I have gotten myself into.

 All I did was meditate, eat, rest and sleep. And meditate mostly, 4:30-6:30 AM, 8:00-11:00 AM, 1:00-5:00 PM and 6:00-9:00 PM. Pretty hardcore, eh? All I did was observe my breath or my body sensations. And in this technique, you have to keep silent, and you cannot read/write/check emails; it’s just you and yourself.

Vipassana means to see ‘Reality as it is’ and not as we would like it to be. And it is a means to get rid of all suffering (misery, anger, anxiety etc.). For example, we all know that we should have compassion for all human beings. But I am sure we all can think of at least one person right now towards whom we have negativity. At the level of mind, we all know that it is not right, but we cannot help ourselves. Vipassana helps you see how you are the root cause of the negativity and not the other person and enables you to eliminate it. When we generate negativity there is an unpleasant sensation in our body (also our regular breathing rhythm changes) – once we become aware of the sensation and do not react it – we have changed the habit pattern of the mind.

Why I do Vipassana? Because there is the inner knowing that this is the right thing for me. It helps me achieve my personal vision of – ‘Becoming a better version of myself every day.’ Because I am a better person, I can make a better contribution to society.

Whether you do Vipassana or something else – it does not matter. What matters is you do – there is nothing more important in this world that self-awareness. It is not about building the next iPhone (god knows we don’t use the existing technologies a 100%) it is about understanding oneself.

Gnothi Seauton: How well do you Know Thyself?

It’s Not The Same.

We recently played a game – Dayam, it is popular in the villages of South India. I had played it as a child growing up and recalled fond memories of playing it with cousins and other friends to pass the time in the long hot summer holidays. I had got the board and the dice years ago but never got a chance to play it – so we decided to play it with my parents. To my surprise – the game was not as much fun as I expected it to be.

I watched a show on Netflix called Perfect Match – it is about two chefs. A uber wealthy couple comes to dine at the restaurant, and they wanted to taste the same dish that the chef had made 50 years ago when they got married. The younger chef has the exact recipe that her father had used to prepare for their wedding, and she decides to make that same dish. The experienced chef modifies his recipe. The couple loves the modified recipe, and to her surprise when the young chef tastes her recipe, she does not like it, either.

What happens? The experienced chef explains it to the younger chef – that the couples taste and ours to evolve with time. When the couple got married, they did not care about eating organic, or they were not watching their salt intake – so if he had served them the same recipe, they would not have liked it.

It’s the same with us and our lives – our taste evolves but memories linger. That is why as we grow old things from the past seem more enticing and exciting than they were because they get enhanced as our experience increases.

Life is change at its core – we change, our tastes change as we experience life in our way – this is why sometimes it is harder to connect with friends back home because the path travelled are so different that we are at different places in our lives with no overlap. That is normal and ok. Our tastes change – that is how we improve. If I ran meetings the way, I did before I would have learnt nothing. The foods that I eat today are a lot different than what I used to eat before — everything changes – what we do today, what we like today, what we wear today.

And this personal change is reflected in the world around us – our attitude towards sex, climate change, IVF babies, plant-based food, liquid food, online ordering. Life is not what it used to be when we grew up, and this is how it is going to be.

What this means is to enjoy each experience for what it is – not holding onto it, and it is the experience that counts – every interaction changes us as a person – it is up to us to decide how we want to change and include or stay away from that change or accept that change in our lives.

What is your relationship with change?