What is Vipassana?
“The technique of Vipassana Meditation is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results. There are no charges for the courses – not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit.”
“The elements of an emotion never to be admitted” – Ayn Rand
That’s how Ayn Rand wrote a perfect sentence to describe my experience with Vipassana Ten-Day Course, in one of her greatest works, Atlas Shrugged [page 315].
In the vastness of the ocean
and the way the sky is stretched out
I know you exist.
With languages so many
With races defined and undefined
I know you exist.
So, I know I was supposed to write about my Vipassana Course for the sequel of my last post How I lived in Ladakh for seventeen days.
However, I have kept that on hold, mainly for two reasons:
- My Vipassana Course was overwhelming. Imagine yourself in a dark room for years and suddenly to face the sunlight. You’d be struck by the light, and your eyes may lose sight because of too much exposure, and your words have fumble because you can see everything clearly and there would be too much stimulus to make sense out. I felt that way. Even though it happened 11 months ago, I am still making sense of my experience and I will definitely share my experience in this space – when I trust this space enough to contain it.
- I recently had decided to take a week off from Instagram and it was my first successful day without it. I want to articulate my thoughts so that I can document it.
It was monsoons, July 2017 – when I was in Himachal, organizing The Lost Tribe Art Festival – Mountains 17. I knew I had to visit Ladakh anyhow, so I planned way in advance. It was difficult for my parents to agree for me to go on a solo trip, all the way to the highest altitude of the world – 18000 ft! So I decided to find a more valuable reason.
Having wished to attend a Vipassana Course, I signed up for a 10-day course at Dhamma Laddha Vipassana Meditation Centre in Youknas, on the way to a small village called Saboo in Ladakh [you can check all the course schedules here]. Of course, people thought I was crazy to take up a course that involved ten days of silence and no mobile phones, no writing or reading, no eye contacts, no expression at all. However, all I had in my mind was to be able to live longer in Ladakh and I could give up anything to experience the silence of starry nights.
Sundays are not usually eventful for me, but today went quite well. I started my day with seeing my client who comes for therapy in the morning – with electricity not cooperating, we had to switch the place twice in the 47 degrees heat. I couldn’t help but wonder the repercussions of it. Changing the spaces. Can every space feel safe with the same person or does it change? I kept ruminating about how spaces have an important role in a therapeutic relationship or any relationship for that matter.
Settings, certain rooms, light, time, furniture – can they contain you on various occasions?
Being a girl from a small town, from quite an orthodox family – I still can’t believe that I have been able to travel so much and start a business with three guys I met during my travelling days.
A lot of pain, tears and struggle has gone into it, but it doesn’t end. How much freedom is enough freedom? When do you know that you don’t need to fight for making your own choices?
I am always confused, honestly.
When I was only 16 or 17, I found a space where I could dump my emotions without worrying about anything – it was ‘internet’ and more specifically, my blog.
The first time I found out about blogger.com and I thought wow, I could speak my heart out and I called my blog – Worlds collide in Words. Perhaps, that name came out a few months of me writing my blog and I saw that this space had more people who came to dump their emotions, too. Words made my world collide with theirs in a fruitful way.
Art has played an important role in my life. I started learning Hindustani Classical Music and Kathak when I was only 6 or 7. I spoiled so many benches in school with my best friend, sketching faces with eyebrows on point. Also, I used poetry as a means of channelizing anger and pain when I was 12; and, grew up to be in a professional dance team in college.
During my masters, as my friends made notes in the class, my teachers allowed me to draw in my notebook because they knew I could only concentrate that way. Art has been very close to my heart; blame multiple heart breaks or a genetic lineage – from my grandfather being a brilliant poet to my mother being a violinist, my father a writer, a social gathering singer to my brother, an architect and a musician. I’ve been soaked in art since I was born and art makes me truly happy – content, satisfied, at peace.
As a Clinical Psychologist, I understand the practical sides of art, too. It’s a great way to express, without causing harm to oneself or another. In a lot of our self-reflective classes, we spent painting what our emotions looked like. Being in a surrounding that is overflowing with the creative ambience has saved me, and has saved many.