10-Day Vipassana Retreat

10 Days, no talking, no looking in the eyes, no books, no television, no writing. Just me, my thoughts, a bunch of weird people, vegetarian food, and most of all, a new form of Meditation that opened my eyes.

10-Day Vipassana Retreat

10 Days, no talking, no looking in the eyes, no books, no television, no writing. Just me, my thoughts, a bunch of weird people, vegetarian food, and most of all, a new form of Meditation that opened my eyes.

I always wanted the excuse of being without the internet and any other thing that resembles responsibility. And I’ve just found my scapegoat. But what I found there was beyond my wildest expectations.

So in order for me to organize my thoughts, I divided the experience into 12 Days. For each one, I will describe what I’ve been to, and on most days I will link to other blog posts so that this one doesn’t get longer.

Day 0: Free at last, free at last

On this day I just arrived, packed my things, and said goodbye to my parents. My parents were very brave, in this retreat, you can’t contact anyone in the outside world.

I bet my parents were very scared to let me go through with it. Worst of all, because I’m a lazy ass motherf%cker I didn’t even know what it was all about, so I couldn’t explain to my parents why I was gonna be okay.

Day 1: Knowledge

“Intellectual Knowledge”

On this day I felt lots of pain from sitting the whole day, for hours on end. The day wouldn’t end. But by 12 pm I was feeling grateful, I was alone with my thoughts and realized a lot of things about myself, about my character. I also had many funny thoughts when I meditated.

Blog Posts:

Nature of my Character

Jack Wollock

Day 2: Experience

“Acquire Pañña, the true kind of wisdom.”

On this day I realized how stupid I was throughout my whole life. I had forgotten that DOING is the ONLY way to really learn something. You can’t learn how to f%ck without f%cking, even if you read a very good book written by sex experts, psychologists from Harvard and etcetera.

It is obvious now, but sometimes the hardest part about life is to be so honest with yourself and be willing to look at your life and realize the obvious.

Blog Posts:

4:1 – The rate of pain: Motivation

Nature of Wisdom

Day 3: Continuity

“The continuity of the practice is the secret of success”

Today I understood the concept of continuity. I felt deep into my bones that doing something continuously, every day, and putting effort really does pay off. Funny I had to do something so extreme as this to learn this.

Blog Posts:

The Man in the Glass Ceiling

Day 4: Rage

“I f%cking hate this sh!t”

I killed three ants today, I just wanted to shit on my hand and throw it off on the teacher. I was sweating, couldn’t sleep last night, and most important I couldn’t sing Radio Gaga at the top of my lungs.

Day 5: Change(Anicca)

“Anicca, anicca, anicca, everything changes.”

I understood the nature of change today, I felt really equanimous, almost like Doctor Manhattan on The Watchmen(2009). I felt like I was just an observer, and that gives you so much calm over everything.

Day 6: Death

“I live, I die, I live, I die, I live, …, I die.”

I die

Today I started experiencing death, and life, and death, and life. I just noticed how different I was every minute, even the second of every day. I was calm and realized at every single minute I died trillions of times.

And I live again.

Today I also experienced pain as vibration, I just wouldn’t move for the sake of pain, pain wasn’t there, only sensation. The hot water wasn’t unpleasant, the back pain wasn’t, and there was only vibration.

Day 7: Pain

“There is no pain, there are only vibrations, but how about emotional pain?”

I just understood the real concept behind Saṅkhāras(desiring something and avoiding others) and how Sidarta came up with it, and more awesome still to learn to use experiences and meditation to reduce Saṅkhāras in your life.

Many people cried today during the Addhitthana sessions(the meditation sessions where you can’t move your hands or legs for a full hour).

I cried too. For 20 minutes.

Funny thoughts: I always clutched my anus during meditation sessions for periods of time, I was afraid of developing hemorrhoids so I just kept the muscle exercised.

Day 8: Trauma

“It is January 2019, I’m sitting in the meditation Hall. It is November 2018, a friend has passed away, I don’t go to the funeral, I’m studying for a test, won’t deal with it right now. It is January 2018, I’m with my soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. It is March 2018 I am devastated. It is December 2018, I’m watching Bohemian Rhapsody with my cousins.”

Today I experienced time in a different way, it wasn’t like I was reliving memories, I was simultaneously in all those traumatic events in my life all at once.

Anicca. Anicca. Everything Changes. Feel the body.

Today I cried a lot. I cried for 4 hours. Not for 4 hours nonstop, during breaks, I would calm down. But 4 hours of meditation session today had me crying. For about 1 hour I cried so much everyone could hear me.

“In 10 billion years the universe won’t even care about you, why cry?”. I kept repeating. I kept repeating. But a voice inside answered “Yes you can repeat that, and that may as well be true, but then why is it that you are crying over a friend that passed away last year?”. “Why cry for him? Your intellectual self thinks you are so clever, so nihilistic and so clever, WHY ARE YOU CRYING THEN?”. “Intellectual truths should be enough to live my life right? WRONG!”

“WHY ARE YOU CRYING? ISN’T NIHILISM SAYING NOTHING HAS INHERENT MEANING? WHY THE DEATH OF A FRIEND IS MAKING YOU CRY???”. “You can keep saying whatever bullshit thing you think is deep, but he mattered”.

My intellectual voice remained silent the rest of the day.

Blog Posts:

What I like about Buddhism

Day 9: Path

“Information should be useful.”

Today a voice, the voice of the observer calmly pointed out a truth about myself, something that was very much buried deep down. It sounded like something Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen(2009) would say. “I respect things that work”. It felt very deep to me. I was a nihilist throughout most of my life. At this moment many things in my life started to click.

Blog Posts:

Information should be useful

Nihilism isn’t useful

The Good Life

Day 10: Respect

“I respect things that work, this… this works.”

I understand now why we make an Addhittana(Firm Determination, like a promise) to remain the 10 days on our first day. Leaving too soon may be very dangerous, and this is a very safe place to deal with the demons that emerge after you achieve the first experience of real Equanimity.

Like Buddha said, when you stop desiring new things and avoiding new other things, the old demons come back. I had 2 days of hell right after the day of complete bliss. It would be extremely difficult for me to deal with that outside of there. At least the first time.

Now I feel I can deal with them outside the Retreat, but they were very strong, and the first time I ever felt so much pain in my life. Mostly at the time of the trauma, I close down and keep calm, but then I bury the feelings deep and never open up.

I had gone to a psychologist 3 years ago, and she just looked at me and told me to cry. After I cried, she told me “Lucas, it seems as if not even you know why you are crying, it’s like you have so much buried inside, and you transformed into a cloud so big you can’t see the reasons inside”(I took some artistic liberty with that phrase, but the meaning is there).

Not this time, on days 7 and 8 I cried, and I knew exactly why. It was like piercing my heart on lots of points. I felt each of those points, sometimes at the same time. But it wasn’t confusing, it was clear.

Anicca. Anicca. Everything Changes.

Day 11: Aftermath

Come to think of all these, I think I never really felt that I achieved something, was successful at something by just trying hard and keeping with it even though I “didn’t like it” at the time.

I think it was the first real experience where hard work paid off for me, and I saw its value. I could really put my finger on my efforts and see how they paid off. It’s not hard work just because it’s hard.

It’s hard work because your mind won’t want to do it for the entire duration of it. And every work will be hard for just that reason. It gets harder if you believe in “motivation” and “loving what you do for every minute of doing it”.

You will be bored, you will hate it, but you must know that this feeling will pass, and the feeling of accomplishment will succeed. Then it will pass as well, but the thing will be done.

One last thing

Nothing I wrote here will matter if I don’t change my behavior with what I learned there. I must change for the better. Anicca. Anicca. Everything Changes.