4th March, 2020, I started my car @ 6 am. Accompanying me were my backpack, phone, water in a steel bottle, bananas and oranges. The backpack took the backseat, the last 3 items took my side seat, while the phone comfortably took the getting-charged seat. I had decided to have my breakfast at Davangere. No, it was not out-of-the-blues decision, I had planned it on the eve of New Year.
Zoom! I started, and I was out of the city in no time. My other associates were - an excellent weather, the silent non-busy city, empty roads and some melodious music. I ate up some of my companions (remember! the bananas and the oranges) at toll points. I hit Davangere @ 9:20 am. I halted to fuel my car with petrol and my tummy with yummy Davangere Benne Dosa.
I was suppose to report by 2 pm @Vipassana Meditation & Research Centre (Belaku, Inchara school campus). I had lots of time in hand to explore the city before the reporting. I went towards Arsikere and beyond, and realized that I was 50 kms away from Davangere only @ 12 noon. I was carried away by the greens and the lakes. I took an U-turn and gazed the burning Sun. Being a non-AC person, the scorching Sun was showing up on my face as perspiration and I could feel it between my skin and cloth. I tried to beat the heat by a glass of cold sugarcane juice on the way, but that could only cool my tummy. I reached my destination at around 2:15pm. My tummy was already singing. I doubted if I could feed it with it's need at the centre which was away from the commercial part of the city. I parked the car and entered the patch of area which was green filled amidst the lifeless land, full of dried grass. The flowers there diverted my hunger pangs. As I walked, a person there directed me to the dining area for lunch. Now-smiling-tummy could not have asked for more.
Yes! I had enrolled for a 10-day meditation camp very often conducted by https://www.dhamma.org at centres located around the world. My father had been insisting me to take up a meditation course for more than 1 and half years. I had looked out for many but somehow would drop because I felt most of what I looked out for were very commercial. May be, they are good but I was not convinced. So I had started off with self learning process of meditation since April 2019. Then it so happened that a colleague of my S-I-L insisted Vipassana and she attended it during December 2019. I had come across Vipassana while reading about a famous blogger. But then, I just had ignored it, for I had walked a few steps in my self learning process and was progressing. As soon as my S-I-L finished, without a second thought I enrolled for it, in the earliest possible batch and closest possible location; for I was stuck at one point in my self learning scheme. And there I was @Davangere, as a result of my enrolling action.
I would hold back my personal meditation experiences for 2 reasons. First that I dont want someone who has not gone through the course to judge based on my experience or, someone who has already done the course to compare their's with mine. Second, I dont advocate generalization in most cases; specially when it is related to experience(s).
However, I would run through the course details, for I do think, its worth A TRY ATLEAST. The course disconnects you from the outer world for 10 days. Your valuables and phones are ceased and returned only on 10th day evening. That is the very first discomfort one has to undergo. Within the campus, one is expected to stay as if she or he is a sole person living there along with the 5 precepts of restraining from 1) killing 2) stealing 3) telling lie (this is made easy by taking vow of silence) 4) sexual activity and 5) intoxication. One is provided with healthy regional and seasonal food 3 times a day at the specified time. These are the other discomforts one has to be part of. These look very difficult, but trust me these feel the easiest as against 10-hour-meditation when you finish the day one of the course. The daily 10 hour meditation helps one know how our minds are no less than a monkey. No, the course is not about controlling one's mind but is completely about purifying one's mind. The most convincing part of the course is that it does not expect one to blindly accept what is told, but expects us to experience it and decide on whether to accept it or reject it. The technique is simple, but it is not easy! Introspection for purification of mind cannot be an easy task. The understanding of the technique is not at the intellectual level but at the experiential level. If you choose to take up the course, be prepared to be part of the 'uncomfort zone'.
I just jumped into it, for I was stuck at a point, and the thread of Vipassana that came to me through my S-I-L looked like a ray of hope to pass my barrier. However, I understand, many like to do a thorough research before jumping in. Such individuals can explore at an intellectual level either by watching @ youtube here or by reading this book - Vipassana Meditation.
Oh! I forgot to mention, it is absolutely FREE as far as accommodation, food, and course teaching is concerned. However I do feel, one pays a cost of his life's 10 days, his sincere efforts to get through his first step. On successfully accomplishment in a right way, one for sure would find a thin, almost invisible string that's connected within. Now, for sure it's a life time project, and not a short term or 1 time project to transform that almost non-existing string into a strong rope that can aid you through life. But one can enjoy the dividends immediately and every single day, if one willfully decides to work on this life time project. People might term it philosophical, I dont, for I think, no-philosophy is also a philosophy. It's spiritual, but there is science involved. It's reality, and you can experience it. You will know it when you try it. It's up to you to decide if you want to give it a try. If you do, GOOD LUCK!
By the way, while returning I had 4 other course co-participants who were from Bangalore to accompany me; and there was freshness in the air. I was happy to take them with me; while they were happy to find their means of transport. Vipassana was working! for each one was happy :)