I hoped to have more time to collect my thoughts and sit to write for this one, but as the situation has it I find myself with twenty minutes to spare before catching a bus to a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat. What is Vipassana meditation and why am I doing it? I asked myself very similar questions not too long ago.
When I began travelling in June, I volunteered at Swami, a beautiful yoga retreat center outside of Sydney, Australia. Here I met Marcin Kumiszczo, a world traveller from Poland who has been an important character in my story thus far. Suffice it to say for now that Marcin is someone I admire greatly, and he’s part of the reason I am here in Asia instead of back in the USA already. I am so grateful I met Marcin, and yes he is just a friend.
Anyways, it was at Swami that I first heard of Vipassana meditation – a volunteer from Belgium was talking about it and wanted to do it. When I discovered that Vipassana involves ten days of silence, I nearly scoffed (if you know me and how much I like to chat, you might scoff at the idea of me doing Vipassana, too). I set the idea aside as something I’d probably never do and let it marinate in the far corners of my brain.
When I rejoined Marcin later in September to hitchhike Western Australia, he was the one applying for Vipassana at the time. He was applying for a course in Penang, Malaysia, which was on his travel route. The idea resurfaced in my mind while I briefly (very briefly) considered if I would ever be able to do Vipassana myself, let alone want to do it. Once again, I shrugged it off and continued with my life.
Not too long after that, I found myself bound for Southeast Asia. Malaysia would be on my way after Indonesia and Singapore. Once again, the voice of Vipassana beckoned to me from where it was hibernating deep within my brain. This time, I found myself looking up the information online.
It was November 18th that I quietly submitted my application for the 10 day Vipassana course in Penang, Malaysia. Coincidentally, it was also the same day that Marcin returned home after nearly two years of travel. It was a big day for both of us.
Today, January 6, 2016, is the day that I begin my Vipassana meditation experience. For 10 days, I will sit quietly and meditate among peers. I will set aside all electronics. I will not talk, I will not read, I will not write or even listen to music. Not because I won’t want to – I’m sure I’ll be near tears because I want to so badly – but because that is part of the deal.
For me, this is a necessary part of working towards peace, happiness and balance in my life. I’ve heard many positive things about Vipassana from others who have experienced it, but the only way to know personally will be to get through it myself.
Here goes nothing…
Wish me luck!