Vipassana Diary : Code of Discipline

Vipassana is a technique that helps eradicate suffering. It is a method of mental purification which allows one to face life’s tensions and problems in a calm, balanced way.

Now, this process of self-purification by introspection is certainly not an easy journey. Also ten days is certainly a very short time to penetrate the deepest levels of the unconscious mind and learn how to eradicate the complexes lying there. But nevertheless, it is a sufficient time to learn the technique.

To learn about this mental purification process one has to follow the code of discipline.

As I mentioned earlier, following are the rules the students have to follow :

  • No talking, touching or eye contact with other students
  • Men and women students are segregated at all times
  • No intoxicants, sexual activity, stealing, telling lies or killing
  • No reading, writing, electronics or any other means of communication or entertainment
  • Strict adherence to the Vipassana method of meditation so that we could give it a ‘proper trial’ during these 10 days (this included religious rites, praying, etc.)
  • Most important of all, to finish the 10 day course

I had virtually no issue with any of these rules. I was perfectly at peace with myself and did not even had the desire to talk to anyone. I did talk to my teacher everyday for I had a lot of queries.

But I did break this noble silence. There was this young girl who travelled with me to the Vipassana centre. We got talking en-route and got to know a bit about each other. On day 1 of the course, I saw that she missed a few sessions and when she did come, she looked unwell.  Then I overheard the teacher and the attendants talking about her health. She didn’t look well on day 2 and noticed her absence in some more sessions. On day 3, when we were walking back to our rooms after lunch, I asked her about her health. As she was speaking to me, there were tears in her eyes. I half hugged her.

Later on, I was thinking about my actions and reasoned that it comforted her, so it was ok to break a few rules, once in a while.

As we were busy from 4 in the morning till 9 in the evening, there was no desire for doing anything else but crash on bed and sleep. I didn’t think about reading books or watching TV or missed social media. I realized that all the restrictions and a hectic schedule were needed to create the optimal meditation environment.

Absence of distractions does pull you deeper into yourself. Silence and being left to one’s own thoughts really forces you to focus on your feelings without reacting to them. Also, since there was nothing to distract my mind, I was able to be in the present and experience my state of mind and emotions and understand myself too.

Not every meditation session was intense. There were times when I felt sleepy or bored or distracted or plain uncomfortable.  I did check with my teacher about this and was told that it was all normal. If we observe these unpleasant emotions mindfully, gradually we’re able to let go of them sooner. And I practically saw this happening to me.

One thing is very clear that to walk and grow on this spiritual path, one has to work very hard. And the thing is that one has to learn by their own efforts to arrive at their own realizations. No one else can do this for them. Therefore, this form of mediation will suit only those who are willing to work seriously and observe the discipline.

What did I learn from these 10 days of solitude? Stay tuned for the next  chapter of the Vipassana Diary.

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18 thoughts on “Vipassana Diary : Code of Discipline

  1. Wow. I always wanted to express. Exactly what is suppposed to be conveyed, you wrote it.
    Some effort some grace…. And the magic happens if we give it a shot!

  2. Your post was excellent. Being quietly comfortable with ourselves is something we can’t often experience, especially in today’s “connected” world.

    • True that. In this hectic pace of life, we dont have time to discover ourselves and this can happen only when we still our body and mind. Thanks for stopping by Cheryl and taking the time to read!

  3. I always had a very strong urge to undergo a self realization course. There have been times when I have always wanted to understand and observe my actions, behavior.
    Does Vipasssana relates to Emotional Intelligence or it is only a method of meditation.
    I am very keen to undergo such a course, can you help me understand more on this.

    • Hi Karamjit. Vipassana is mindful meditation and is known to increase awareness about our thoughts and emotions. As you know emotional intelligence has to do with how aware we are of our emotions, our ability to control them, and how we communicate them to others. It also involves identifying others’ emotions and acting with compassion and empathy.
      It is believed that Vipassana has a role in enhancing emotional intelligence.
      You must explore this course as it is totally experiential. You can find all the details at https://www.dhamma.org
      Wishing you the very best!

    • Thank you, Shailaja. You must go for it! I am sure you will love doing this course. I liked what you said about our willingness to learn. That’s so true… seek, and ye shall find!!

  4. My first experience I found very difficult to remain still and quiet, as I was very activity oriented and to be calm was not easy. Yes sometimes we need to be helpful. My room mate was an elderly lady almost 70 plus and she would talk to herself loudly worrying about her husband who was on the other side. I couldn’t help but just listen and smile. Later on when i went again I was comfortable and was even able to sit calm and learnt to enjoy my own company. Agree with you, this works only for people who are serious about learning this art. For me I am grateful for the learning..

    • Aah! We had a lady who would talk to herself too but she was actually looking at initiating conversations. LOL 😀
      So good to read your experiences, Genevive! I am grateful that I got the opportunity to go for this course too!

  5. Its okay to break rules occasionally! Your reactions to self-imposed solitude and meditation were pretty sober I would say. I would probably go raving mad. But it is kind of a cleansing ritual isn’t it…to flush out all the negativity and clutter.
    Kala recently posted…#DIY – Photo-LineMy Profile

    • I was open to learn and accept, I think that helped me enjoy this course despite the strict rules and challenges. Yes, it’s worthwhile to indulge in mind cleansing activities some times. If we can make them as way of life, it would be sone pe suhaga 🙂

  6. The last paragraph hits hard but very true and not just for spiritual path, Shilpa….. to achieve anything in life this is the real truth even weight loss /gain or health or for that matter any ambition in life. What say?

    BTW, I do try to practice silence daily often to feel the still point, will share with you a quote that inspires me soon.
    Asha Bala recently posted…When memories ran amok…My Profile

    • Well said, Asha. The urge to do something has to come from within. Then only you’ll give your 100%.
      Wow! Practicing silence! That’s wonderful. For how long do you do this? Please do share that quote. Looking forward to it! 🙂

    • Well said, Jayashree. You are spot on. Because everything is impermanent, the pleasant and unpleasant thoughts and emotions will go too. Yes, it’s not easy to kick these away, but with practice, it is possible 🙂

  7. Agree with Shailaja here. The techniques are very similar to what I’ve heard of the Bhavaspanda program by Isha Org by Sadhguru. My sister, mom and the husband have completed this course. Only I remained stuck after the basic level course. Hmm..need to at least get back to my regular kriya.
    Uma recently posted…Lessons I learn from parentingMy Profile

    • Oh, that’s interesting. I am not aware of the Bhavaspanda program. I think, all the techniques have some similarities and differences. But all work on concentration, self awareness, mindfulness, compassion, focusing attention inwards etc. Isnt it? Wow, your entire family is on this spiritual path, Uma! That’s wonderful.

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