Vipassana: 10 days of silence
I picture a tree when I imagine a silent mind. Still and grounded. It is simply right there, inviting sunshine and rain, allowing itself to grow and bear fruits, letting its leaves to fall and wither, allowing flowers to blossom and seeds to be planted, giving others a shade, a place to rest.
When was the last time your mind was peaceful and quiet? No phone app to thumb through, no social media to peruse, no book to read, no pen and paper to put your thoughts in order, no human being next to you to talk to. It might sound like being in a 19th century prison camp.
But it was a 10-day meditation retreat called Vipassana which I attended right after I quit my job. My friends jested it seemed like being in jail for 10 days. But being trapped was the last thing that would ever happen to you there. My goal then was to set my mind free, away from the noise, pollution, distractions in and out of myself.
Yes, it was a challenge of sort, a new experience. I had been meaning to try Vipassana for years but I simply could not have the time. Once the time and opportunity came, I had to seize it.
There in Dasmarinas, Cavite, about 50 kilometers south of Manila, is Sico farm, the meditation place surrounded by full grown mango trees. There were two dozens of people who came before me. After briefing us of what to transpire in the next 10 days, the volunteers of Vipassana led us to our residence halls. Men and women were segregated. But we were gathered all together at meditation hall for the daily meditation sessions.
We had our first vegetarian meal that evening. We can still talk to each other as the Noble Silence will start after the first evening session. So everyone was chattering in a rush fully knowing that the next days will be completely silent.
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