I have read and heard the benefits of meditation that a mediator can realize if he/she practises continuously for a period of time. Meditation is being practised broadly in a wide spectrum. For example, it is practised by the religions for their spiritual realms, by the healthcare industry for health-related benefits and by the general well-beings for their mental and health reasons.
I have tried meditation using self-help reference and attended meditation courses. I would admit that I do learn quite a lot from these practises and classes. However, the experience of my true meditation was realised when I attended the 10-day Vipassana Meditation course at St John’s Island in 2009. It was the most fruitful experience which I ever had.
During the 10-days program, participants are required to surrender their mobile phones, electronic devices, reading materials and wallets as well; since all meals are provided. We are also required to follow the Five Precepts:
- To abstain from killing any living creature
- To abstain from stealing
- To abstain from sexual misconduct
- To abstain from false speech
- To abstain from intoxicants
Besides the Five Precepts, we are advised not to have any communication with the fellow participants, which I was puzzled by this strict requirement initially. Only until the last day, whereby we are allowed to talk, I realised the essential part of this requirement. However, we are free to discuss meditation problems with the teacher and material problems with the management.
The program is organised and the meditation is guided by two assistant teachers who are trained under the belated S.N. Goenka who passed away on 30 Sep 2013. The day starts from 6 am and ends around 9pm. We will have five rounds of meditation practises with the assistant teachers. Though we have only two main meals – breakfast and lunch everyday, I do not experience hunger. And there was a bonus treat – fruits snack at evening time. I will like to confess that I looked forward to the vegetarian lunch during my meditation. It was really delicious and appetising. I can’t help but go for second helpings sometimes.
The meditation program is well-structured. During the first three days, we practice an excerise of mental concentration. This is preparatory to the technique of Vipassana proper, which is introduced on the fourth day of the course. Further steps within the practice are introduced each day, so that by the end of the course the entire technique of Vipassana meditation is covered.
My takeaways from the 10-days program is that meditation can be picked up by anybody with proper guidance and conducive environment. The meditator will need to be focus and perserver so as to achieve the ultimate benefits of the technique. The insights gained by self-observation may not likely to be all pleasant and blissful. However, we just need to observe the changes and have no attachment nor desire. Just like any exercise, the goodness of meditation can be attained only through continous practise.
And it is through meditation where I renew, recharge constantly.
200hr Weekend (Jul-Oct 2013)