I sent the application to the Dhamma Medini Center shortly after our stay at the Yoga Retreat ✉️ There i really liked the meditations and somehow it was on my bucket list to go to Vipassana for a long time. I got the confirmation only 24 hours before the start ⏰ All right, then to the preparations: I need plain and wide clothes for 10 days. So quickly to the next second-hand store 🛍 I have to explain to my boss that I need a spontaneous vacation on vacation 😬 and want to do some sports again before I am not allowed to go for 10 days 🏃🏼♀
On the day of arrival – one day before the actual Vipassana begins – I am first relieved of all electronic and “unimportant” things that could distract me from myself and I am assigned my room 📲. We gather in the dining room and it gets really loud again. Men and women spend Vipassana separately and so we are in separate rooms right from the beginning. It seems as if anyone want to talk again quickly as much and as loud as possible before it becomes quiet 📣 There is still a warm meal in the evening and an official speech to all participants. Here they pay close attention to the pronunciation of the names. This is a sign of respect 🙌🏻
During the briefing for the next 10 days they point out on the Code OF Discipline again and again. I must keep the 5 moral basic conditions for the next 10 days: do not lie, do not steal, do not kill, no physical contacts, no drugs 🤝. For the old pupils – who already completed a Vipassana of 10 days – additionally the commandments were added, to do without a comfortable bed, after 12 o’clock noon nothing more to eat and no art at the body to carry. All had to commit themselves to stay the whole time, since an early abort can have psychological consequences 😳 Shortly after the speech the so-called noble silence started. 🤫
First we go for a meditation with introductory words of Satya Narayan Goenka into the so-called meditation hall 🛕. Men and women come here to different doors and sit to a large extent separately from each other. S.N. Goenka is the founder of the center, of which there are another 206 center, including in Germany. Goenka comes from Burma and was a successful businessman. For years he suffered from severe migraine, which was so severe that he was given morphine and the doctors could not help him 🙇. A friend then recommended meditation, more precisely the Vipassana technique. Since then he was cured of his migraine and dedicated his life to Vipassana until he became enlightened. In 1969, after fourteen years of practice, he made it his mission to help as many people as possible and teach Vipassana 🧎🏽 Within 45 years he helped people worldwide 🌏
All participants live after the first meditation according to the strict timetable of the center: The day starts at 4:00 o’clock in the morning with a gong directly in front of the room door 🔔 and a meditation starting at 4:30 o’clock and ends with a meditation 21:30 o’clock. During the day there are many meditations (10 hours/day), interrupted by short breaks for breakfast and lunch and a discourse with the teacher 🧘🏼
At first, the extreme amount of daily mediation practice is overwhelming. Everyone starts on the first evening with two pillows in the place assigned by name. However, many participants are already stocking up their pile of cushions. I, with my 7 pillows, am therefore not a rarity 🧎🏼 Many people cannot stand the physical pain in their back and knees when sitting and are given a backrest or a chair 🪑
The places assigned in the meditation hall are also available for eating 🍽. We were asked to eat only at our place. However, no one keeps to this and scurries with the plate to the most beautiful and sunny place ☀️ I couldn’t blame anyone, because the meals were somehow the highlight of the day. The food is vegetarian and optionally vegan. My vegan and gluten-free extra sausage was thus no problem 😋
The accommodations are spartanly furnished, but very clean and perfectly adequate 🛏 I have enough space to stretch out in the room every day and loosen the tensions a bit. Yoga and other physically strenuous movements are finally forbidden 😐 The Dhamma Medini Center in New Zealand as well as all other Vipassana Centers run purely on a donation basis. You donate at the end of the ten days and only if you have successfully completed the ten days. The donation should enable another person to have the same experience 💰
We begin the first 3 days with the observation of the breath. This is not controlled, but one observes the sensations by breathing around the nose (inside and outside) 👃 as well as on the small piece above the upper lip 👄 From day 4 on we have to sit still for one hour at a time. No opening of the hands, arms, legs or eyes. From now on, we scan not only the area around the nose, but our entire body (approx. 5 cm² one after the other from top to bottom) for any kind of feelings. 🧍🏼
A little more about the Vipassana technique:
Vipassana was rediscovered by Gotama, the Buddha, in India more than 2500 years ago and taught as a universal remedy for everyone against universal diseases and as an art of living.
It means to recognize reality as it really is: the real truth. The focus is on the deep interaction between body and mind. One recognizes that everything is in the constant change: the own body, the environment, the thoughts 💭. This always recurring change is noticeable in the body. Everything is transitory. One should learn to no longer consume and cling to feelings or reject negative states and feelings. This is the control of reactions to certain feelings, the development of equanimity 😌
The ten-day silent meditation is also called an operation on the soul. An incredible number of things come up in me. Many of the participants often run down their tears, men as well as women and this not only because of physical, but also psychological pain 😢 Childhood memories, current problems or fear of the future are the order of the day. Vipassana is everything, but a retreat or a break from everyday life. It is hard work! I am plagued by extreme headaches, which I usually have very rarely. I have been told that new connections are created in the brain which rebuild old patterns of behavior 💆🏼 My senses also feel extremely sharpened: smelling, tasting, hearing, feeling, simply everything is sensitized.
On the last day we are prepared for everyday life outside. To have an easy introduction to the noisy outside world, we only keep silent until 3 p.m. You can already feel the restlessness on the premises, finally being able to talk again. At 3 p.m. sharp, the first laughter is already ringing out and the magic of silence is over 🧏🏼 I have lived with strangers for 10 days close together and now I hear many speak for the first time 🗣. Many of the participants would not do the course again. However, I, personally, can imagine it again next year 🙋🏼
I have learned to be alone, in silence and that this can be simply wonderful! 🧘🏼
Do you have any questions about my time here? Feel free to write them in the comments.
With Goenkas concluding words after each meditation: May all beings be free of aversion and happy. May peace and harmony prevail everywhere. ☮️