This is Part III of a three part article titled “Vipassana – the path to freedom”.
For Part III, keep reading.
~ PART III ~
A few more things about the course…
- This whole thing is free. Run by donations and volunteers ONLY, this course thrives on the purity of the technique and what it teaches. Previous students who feel the course has benefited them will donate (only AFTER the course has finished) so that others can benefit as well. By not accepting money before the course in exchange for the services and hospitality the course provides, and by only using volunteers, teachers and students can truly receive the full benefit of the teachings, free from monetary intentions.
- Vipassana Meditation courses have been held since Buddha was still alive and head honcho of Vipassana courses, originating in India some 2,600 years ago and spreading all over the world. The course I took was held by the Rocky Mountain Vipassana Association at a rented-out Jewish Children’s Camp in Elbert, CO, which worked pretty nicely for the course. RMVA is now expanding and have plans to open up their own center in Colorado.
- Held at 310 locations in 94 countries around the world, Vipassana Meditation courses have expanded for good reason.
- This course doesn’t advertise. Only by word-of-mouth do course lists get overbooked and waiting lists get filled.
- The course is non-secular, so students can come religious or non-religious.
- Eleven hours a day meditating seems pretty brutal when you think about it, but after trying it, it’s not so bad. A roommate of mine during the course had never meditated before coming to practice Vipassana, so the program is truly meant for almost* anyone who wants to improve their lives in a deep and introspective way.
Believe it or not, it can actually be enjoyable to be in such a deep state where time and space almost don’t exist anymore. To be able to heal from past wounds, physical and emotional, and retrain our brains to think more emotionally clear and consciously is an invaluable skill for every single day for our entire lives.
Plus, students never have to sit for more than an hour at a time if they don’t truly want to. Students are permitted to take short breaks here and there and the instructors trusted we had an idea what would happen to our practice if we didn’t meditate seriously.
- The Association will accommodate students with dietary needs. If a student is taking a prescription, needs vitamins, or asks for modified food accommodations, those who run the course will help them meet daily needs.
- Likewise, if a student would like a chair to meditate with rather than sitting in criss-cross applesauce, they’ll accommodate to get everyone comfortable enough.
- *With all of this said, this course is not for everyone. Those with serious psychiatric disorders are not recommended to begin with Vipassana. For these people, this article may help you.
Vipassana for a Happier World
While Vipassana Meditation is a way to eradicate suffering, each of us by ourselves are the only ones to be able to take the steps on the path. Anyone who expects salvation to come from an outside source (even a meditation course) is only going to come to realize it is nothing but ourselves, our own mind, who will save us. It is each of us alone who does the work to be free of the mind’s limitations and eradicate our excuses for being unhappy. Not the meditation course, not the drugs, not the healthy food, not the lover, not even the prayer or worship. Those things guide us, but it is our mind and intentional effort alone that is what gets us to where we truly want to.
Though there is power in all of these things, by ending our clinging to what excites or upsets us to any degree, we can taste our liberation and take the steps to true happiness.
Many people have seen the value of this technique and envisioned what it can do for school detention centers and even prisons. “The Dhamma Brothers” is a unique film highlighting just one example of how Vipassana has been introduced into the system and the mental freedom it has given two prison mates in one of the most violent prisons in Southern Alabama.
Schools have also started implementing Vipassana Meditation for restless children and finding great results. Meditation itself has been proven to benefit kids just as much as adults, and in a society that thrives best with calm and creative minds, it’s the lock and key to a better functioning society as whole. But external peace starts from peace within, something Vipassana Meditation has proven to help cultivate.
It is one thing I believe we all have in common: each of us alone must free ourselves from the chains of our own minds.
The only way out is in.
To find out more about the Vipassana Meditation Technique, head to https://www.dhamma.org/ and click around for resources and articles.