Life is best lived if one learns to read the signs (so says the Alchemist) and most of us have at some point or another read those signs and followed em.
Vipasanna was one such sign that had been staring me in the face for almost 3 years. The first I heard about this seemingly tough course was when I was back in Chennai and had met AYs mom for the first time. Not sure what prompted her to say this, but she asked me to attend a Vipasanna course at the earliest possible. I used to think that maybe its coz am a “loud” person or seem ever so excited- that she thinks a meditation course would calm me down.
And so it went on for almost 2.5 years, with aunty & AY telling me that I should do the course soon & I making promises that I kept on breaking inspite of best intentions. Then one fine day, I got up and was having a chat with my mom while reading the newspaper and she mentioned about a relative who had just gone for a Vipasanna course. I went back to my room and saw a text from AY saying- “Dude, i hope you sit for Vipasanna this year”….and this was like 7.00 a.m. I was spooked by the coincidence and decided it was time to act- so went online & booked myself for the course at Dharamkot (Dharamsala)… I told myself if I have to sit & meditate why not do it at an exotic location (they do have courses in Delhi & few other places in N India).
Registered myself for the course that started on 1st Aug 09. So I took an overnight bus and landed at Dharamsala early in the morning. Luckily found another bus that said “Dharamkot” so without much asking around, I found myself infront of this colorful gate saying- Dharamshikara Vipasanna meditation center.
Since it was not yet 9.00 a.m. I decided to kill time at the “Himalaya Tea shop” the last taste of civilization (as we know it) before the course and the first glimpse of the real world- once you are out in the open… Trust me its everybit as dramatic 🙂
While walking around & stretching my legs I glanced upon the time table for the course that was listed there- and it would be an understatement to say that i was scared.
It read something like this:
4.00 am – wake up bell
4.00-4.30 am – get ready
4.30-6.30 am- Meditation
6.30-8.00 am- breakfast
8.00-9.00 am- GROUP MEDITATION
9.00-11.00 am- Meditation
1.00-2.30 pm- meidtation
2.30-3.30 pm- GROUP MEDITATION
3.30-5.00 pm- Meditation
5.00-6.00 pm- Tea
6.00-7.00 pm- GROUP MEDITATION
7.00-8.15 pm- EVENING DISCOURSES
8.30-9.00 pm- Meditation
9.30 pm- Lights Out
For those who missed the critical items- NO DINNER, 11 hours of meditation !
Add to this complete silence for the complete duration of 12 days (this was the only bit I had known & prepared myself for…)