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Disconnect to connect- My Vipassana Odyssey

Part 2 – Finding solace in knowing it’s all within

In my last blog I shared my experience about knowing the Buddhist practice of Vipassana. In this blog let me take you further into my journey.

After deciding to take the step and try out this practice, I immediately signed up for the next available slot and waited in anticipation to hear back. A few days later, I finally received an email confirming that I have been successfully enrolled to the 10-day practice course.

In that email, were also instructions, guidelines, and schedule that must be followed throughout the entire duration. Abiding by the code of discipline that required one to remain at the seminar site until the end of the seminar, observing complete noble silence from the first till the tenth day, setting aside all rituals and prayers, and sitting for a total of about 10 hours on the floor for meditation – these were some of the highlight directives.

It was demanding to say the least, but I had already made up my mind and didn’t want to second guess the decision.

Finally, the day arrived and we drove to this remote resort in Ras Al Khaimah, the venue where these seminars take place. The volunteers, generally referred as ‘Dhamma servers’ briefed us one on one to ensure we were ready for the strenuous journey ahead. This was also the big moment, where we surrender all our precious belongings including our cell phones and keep just our necessary clothing and hygiene items with us.

Following a detailed orientation where we also got a chance to briefly mingle with other fellow participants, we adopted noble silence and progressed with the seminar.

Having successfully completed the course, on the tenth day, we finally broke our silence and for the first time in ten days spoke with each other. Overwhelmed and joyed with what we had just accomplished, although we could speak again, we were at a loss for words that could truly express how we felt.

It felt blissful to learn and develop the consciousness to be really present in the moment and not get absorbed in the past or the future, gaining an understanding of oneself and others, embracing and accepting the impermanence of life. It also gave us strength to accept that everything changes and nothing lasts forever. We also learned a lot about the science behind meditation and how important it is to master one’s thoughts and emotions so we can lead a better, fulfilling, and most importantly a compassionate life.

Meeting some of the most wonderful people to share innumerable life lessons with, realizing that words are not always essential to communicate, and silence alone can reveal the most sought after answers that we search for remain some of my most treasured learnings from this once in a lifetime experience.

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it,” Gautam Buddha.

Zainab Chakkiwala is Social Media Manager at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me