This is the final part of my description of my course in Vipassana meditation Ödeshög, Sweden. By this time we have reached the summary of the course.
I think I’ll start with one of those lists of what’s good and what’s bad.
This is part 5 of my stay at the Vipassana course on Dhamma Sobhana. You can find part 1 here.
- The guru S N Goenka was a really sympathetic man, and I think it was really nice to listen to him speaking, but all those songs in Pali… After a while I couldn’t stand them anymore. I think that the purpose of the songs was to get into that meditative state but I can’t listen to music in that way. When I listen to someone who sings I listen to the lyrics and I listen to the melody. This songs were performed in a language that I didn’t understand. but phonetically it sounded a lot like Swedish and therefor I heard a lot of Swedish words in the songs. Besides, Goenka regularly missed some notes and I must confess that I didn’t manage to stay focused on the meditation for a second while he was singing.
- I really felt incarcerated, especially the first couple of days.
- Mosquitoes. The woods were full of them.
- The silence! One thing that can be considered a bad thing is that you weren’t allowed to talk for nine days. I liked it.
- The silence! I thought it was nice that the air for once wasn’t polluted with sound. Everybody was silent and the meditations center was located a long way from civilization. Two or three times an airplane passed in the air above us, and once in a while a car drove past on the road outside. Aside from that, there was complete silence. Wonderful!
- The feeling when I had passed the course. The feeling was almost like when walking in the woods after a massive thunder storm. The annoying warmth an the pressure that has been pushing on your head all day is suddenly released by the thunderstorm and when you enter the woods afterwards everything is clear, fresh and it’s easy to breathe again.
- All the old dwellings that I suddenly could label. We all have problems that we are carrying along every day. I have things that happened in eight grade that suddenly appears in my brain with a sour sensation in my stomach, even though they happened over twenty years ago. I don’t think that those memories will ever bother me again. Other bigger feelings, people that you have a bad relation to, questions about life and death and other big problems that you have been pondering for a long time also comes to a solution. I think that if you are a scientist that is trying to solve a big problem, or if you have a big problem in your life that you want to solve, you should gather all the parameters and then take one of these courses. My opinion is that your subconscious mind will solve the problem during those ten days.
- I must mention the servers. I think that it’s great that so many people voluntarily comes and helps the other course attendees with food and service without salary.
This has been a positive experience for me. I had a really tough time going through it all but I must say that I have reached the other side of it as a new person. I have learnt to regard my shortcomings more objectively and I have put words to a lot of my feelings of anguish.
If I compare the experience with Vasaloppet, the Swedish 90 km ski race. I the beginning its crowded and wet, and when you get started it’s hard and a struggle. When you’ve reached half the race you have a feeling that you will not be able to reach the goal – I will step aside and take the bus instead. When you reach the finish line in Mora you think that this is the best thing I have ever done. Or rather you think – this was awful, I will never do it again, but when the tickets for the next years race is release you are standing first in line to get a bib for the race.
I think that the probability for me to visit another course is quite high. I recommend you to take the course. There are, according to me, two types of persons. On kind, to which I belong, thinks and dwells a lot about things that has happened. Why did I do that? What did he mean when he said that? Isn’t my relation with <someone> really strange? Why does she look at me that way, did I do something wrong? People like that could really benefit from attending this course. The other kind of people are already in balance with life. They don’t spend too much time thinking about what has been or what will be. They already accept life for what it is. According to me, this group of people doesn’t need to attend the course. Or maybe they would benefit from it as well?
I should also mention the price of the course. You decide the price. If you don’t want to pay anything, then don’t pay anything. If you want to pay a million, then pay a million. According to tradition, attending the course is free, but if you leave a small contribution when you leave the course you will give other people the possibility to attend it. Other people have payed for you to be able to attend the course, and you pass that charity on to the next people attending the course. It was possible to pay in cash at the course, or at a later moment to their bank account.
Another reflection of mine is that there were a lot of young people who attended the course. I had expected that the attendees would be around my age, maybe between 30-45 years old. There were a lot of visitors in their 20’s. I am surprised that people that young were so mature in their souls. When I was 20 years old I was going to the pub to drink beer, trying (and failing) to pick up girls.
For those of you who will attend the course in Sweden. Bring warm clothes, a mosquito net hat if you got one, a flashlight so that you find your way back from the toilet at night. Also bring shoes that are easy to take on and off. I hope you will get a good stay. I don’t think that you will regret going.
Thank you, Dhamma Sobhana for an enlightening course.
Ah, one final off topic point on my marathon training. I couldn’t run for ten days, since I wasn’t allowed to distract my co-meditationees. The happy news is that your shape doesn’t deteriorate that much over 10 days. During my ten days of eating vegetarian food I lost 4 kg, which according to some will improve my marathon time with about nine minutes. Finally, I have been still for ten days trying to mentally deny the pain that arises in my body. I almost believe that this was the best thing I could do for my marathon!