100+ hrs of meditation

100+ hours of meditation in the past 10 days in a vipassana retreat has been a unique and a rewarding experience.

I must say 10 days was short. It should have been atleast 100 days given the impurities dump in our minds and the lifestyle hazard we go through. But I understand 100 days of noble silence, no screens, no reading/writing, no external activities and stay in ashram would be hard logistically. I found it hard to make time for even 10 days and I have been procrastinating the retreat for a decade now. 100 days for folks busy with work would be hard. But when I wonder don’t we deserve 100 days just for our well-being in the several decades of our life, I guess it is nothing. Let me try one more 10 days first and then we will see how to make a 100 day retreat possible. 

I must say 10 days of vipassana was hard on me at a physical level.

Ability to sit cross legged for hours together (10.5 hours/day to be precise) after sitting for hours together in a plush chair was really hard. The flexibility has surely gone for a toss. 

Concentrating mentally was the hardest. The monkey mind jumped everywhere every moment. Just for it to settle down it took 6 days 🤷‍♀️

After being extremely busy for decades together, doing nothing and intensely binge watching breath was certainly harder than I expected. It is far easier to binge watch Netflix for 100 hours. I realised I have been external focused 💯 of the time. I have never focused internally all these years. The inner work of life design was the closest I have done for inner work but Vipassana is at another level. If you can make 10 days and can sit for 10 hours a day, you must do it. 

In case you are planning one in 2024, here are some tips and suggestions. 

10 days in noble silence and total focus are golden and rare. Don’t waste it on flexibility issues and focus issues. Do everything that will enhance your Vipassana  experience and then go for the retreat. 

Here is what I suggest: Plan vipassana not just for 10 days. Give it 5 days before for preparation and 5 days after to settle down as well. It is hard to get fully back on to the external world after the inner retreat for 10 days. So plan a 20 day holiday and not just 10. You need it. 

If you have a busy schedule then you must find ways to make time (atleast 2 hours) in your schedule forever for Vipassana. It can’t be 10 days alone and then you let it go. Your ROI will not be realised. I am starting with one hour a day as a commitment. 

Based on the months you are taking up Vipassana plan according to the weather. I was an idiot to miss my jacket and socks in winter. In one sense it is good but in another you will suffer. Be planful. 

Please enhance your flexibility for atleast 30 days before you go to the retreat. Sit cross legged whenever possible. Do some stretches to make yourself comfortable. If you are the yoga kind then do some upa yoga and suryanamaskar for 30 days to enhance your muscle strength. It helps. I practically went in with nothing and my pain was unbearable. It becomes a sufferfest with pain. 

Go into the retreat with a complete calm mind. If something is swirling in your personal life, then your mind will not be able to switch off. Make sure you delegate most tasks to folks of your life and for some tasks let it go for 10 days. If you are an entrepreneur make sure you don’t have any client commitments, if you are a content creator, schedule your posts for 10 days/ tell your audience you wouldn’t be available for 10 days. If you are an employee make sure important deliverables are done before you go. If you are a single parent make sure your kid is in a safe place and they are comfortable in that place even before you go etc. Basically you don’t want anything big lingering in your mind. 

You yourself switch inwards and start observing how you breathe, how you feel and how you react to things in life for the previous 10 days. I would even go to the extent of suggesting you to do watch the discourses available in YouTube before you go. This is not an intellectual exercise but an attempt to awareness The intent is to enhance your ROI exponentially. 

Like all things profound, it is not the knowing, it is the doing where all ROI lies. 

In just 15 days I have become more peaceful and calm. I am more involved and committed to everything I do including small tasks like making the bed, sweeping the floor to big ones like investments in 2024, building #pifo etc. I stopped all intoxicants from coffee/tea to social drinks (alcohol). I stopped eating meat/eggs. I talk atleast 50% lesser than usual. This is a big deal. I knew coffee was not great for me and yet I had for years together. No one told me to stop coffee and tea, in fact they served coffee/tea during vipassana. My morality aka sheila has upped and that made me take better decisions.

Manasa - Vacha - Karma (thought - speech - doing) has become more thoughtful and intense. My concentration is better. I live in the moment most of the day. I understand this moment is inevitable in my cells and bones now. 

I have a long way to go but I consider vipassana as a good start. It is an attempt to inch from being a buddu(idiot) to a Buddha(enlightened one). I am certainly not there fully but inching in the journey for sure.

It feels like path for a lifetime is set and there is no more seeking/searching/experimenting and breaking head on what is life, what is purpose, why am I born, is this all etc.

I understand it experientially that we are magnificent beings. We have a gift of consciousness and we can inch towards our max potential unlike other animals. It is time to live intentionally and intensely. 2024 is starting with immense clarity and focus for me. 

How is yours starting? 

🥂to intensity and intent !

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