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“You shoot me down but I won’t fall I am Titaiiiinnnnniiiiiuuuumm!” if you have not heard this song by David Guetta feat. Sia ..then you won’t get my emotions for why I wanted to go for Vipassana Meditation.
Physically I was doing everything in my power to be at my best— No Sugar (10+ years), Vegan (4 years), Gluten-free (4+years), Workouts, Active time, Fuelling well, Hydration, Fasting, Pranic Healing, Gut health— I went all out. Whereas, my mental game was not where I wanted it to be.
In movies have you seen the protagonist being dragged on the ground with a rope tied to a vehicle/horse on the other end; with the villain in the driving seat? I felt like in my life-story I was being dragged like that, helplessly by some extreme situation, that was unexpected or against my expectations. First I would try and control the villain, in my case the situation, or my environment. If it was not in my control, I would give up my senses and be at the mercy of the situation. My mindset in these moments let my emotions take over me.
I tried many approaches—Yoga, Stoicism, Landmark Education, Vedanta, Bhagwad Gita, Self-help books. It was insightful and transformational— it added a huge jump to my mental growth graph. Still, there was a missing link of ‘HOW?’— ‘HOW’ does one live in the present moment continually? HOW does one not have any attachment? HOW do you be compassionate? HOW do you ‘Be Positive’? And HOW do you create these mindsets permanently? Sometimes it seemed impossible to put to action when the villain came to play.
One day it suddenly occurred to me that this Vipassana meditation has been on my bucket list for about 15 years now (I’m big on learning and growing so my bucket lists are a bit unusual). Why not do it now? I did not think it is going to be the thing I have been looking for, waiting for, seeking. A tool to create that mindset.
So here I was, in middle of July 2022, a Chennai evening, sweating profusely (because I wasn’t dressed for the weather) in a hall with approx. 60 determined women.
Some people told me “Are you sure you want to do this? It is not for the faint-hearted.” I actually went in, not knowing it will be that tough. For me, the challenge was sitting for 10+ hours and not having writing material for 10 days. I was actually memorising the things I want to write, once I am given my stuff.
10 Days of zero communication with the world – The not talking bit was absolutely beautiful, as I was quite entertained by myself. Quite enjoyed my conversations with myself not being interrupted by work, people, noises or anything. Just me and my thoughts— I relished every second..
On the last day when we all got our phones, for 2 min I was looking at the object in my hand and wondering— ‘Oh! Yes, I have to unlock it, but how? How do you use this thing?’ It is beyond me how the mind can be altered in profound ways. The things you gain when you challenge yourself is the beauty of growth.
Pain is a part of life
Oh yes, on days 6-7 I was missing my mom hysterically. Also the reason I stuck to her for 4 hours when I got back. During meditation, I did have some huge soul-scratching moments, had me battling with the 5-year-old me, sometimes facing those emotions (that scrolling on Instagram made it stay in the background) and I was left dumbstruck by the nightmares, I used to have as a kid. It was still beautiful, the tears and all.
Managing your expectations is the real maturity
Before writing here, I wanted to wait and see if I slip up on what I’ve learnt after I come back. I was at Dhamma Setu, Chennai and there they had a whole South Indian menu. Which I love. So I had a good experience, even being Vegan and Gluten-free wasn’t hard. Still, I did not expect that we would be allowed a single serving of only one fruit every day. On a regular, my body depends on fruits (natural sugar) so I told myself it is just 10 days. My goal is different, so I can accommodate.
Been about 2 weeks since and after I got back I could sense a few people looking at me with an evaluating eye— ‘Did she get enlightened?’ Silly NO! I learnt a new technique and that’s it for now. If I put in the work and practice what they taught me I know this will be the reason why my life turns to better roads. To have new tools is exciting and to be able to up-skill is even more so. If you are fit mentally, many people will be saved from the drama that you bring in their lives. If you are looking to upgrade your Mental game—that’s it you are home.
What exactly is Vipassana then?
This course is no time pass, it is simple HARD work and it is scientific, methodical and has a very systematic approach to understanding the mind-matter phenomenon. The technique will help you see through to the beginnings of your patterns, equip you to break those patterns, tools to automate living in the present moment and get clarity. It is a science that can be practically experienced and I just got a sip of this understanding. A great discovery by Gautam Buddha sitting under a tree and meditating in Bodh Gaya. It is what Buddhism is all about— it really made me change my perspective about Buddhism, I truly felt this is a universal scientific discovery and it should be taught in schools.
After having to follow a strict schedule of waking at 4:00 AM, meditating for about 10 hours a day, eating 2 meals and a snack (as being served) and following complete silence and no communication with anybody, not even eye contact. Here I am yelling in my head now— “I did it!” just like I had many years back when I overcame the fear of falling from a plane mid-air. This is Vipassana, excruciatingly beautiful and it is GOLD!
I attended the course with about 60 women, (men in the other quarters don’t have a count) each of them very different from the other (age, language, occupation, etc). I don’t see why YOU cannot do it. It is for everyone. If we can, You can.
To Being bulletproof!
Buddham Saranam Gacchami।
Dhammam Saranam Gacchami।
Sangham Saranam Gacchami।
Special Credits to S.N. Goenka for getting this technique back to the world and how! This man will make you laugh every day and get you to do the work. To the Sangha for supporting his work and letting the Dhamma spread to one and all.
Susheela Chudiwala- Facilitating Teacher
Kaali, Maala, Aditi- Dhaama Servers
All my fellow Vipassana inmates
Chennai Dhamma Setu
LINK To START RIGHT AWAY: If you can spare 10 min every day
LINK To Read more about the Vipassana Course: