Three Months Later

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3 months later

The following story is about my experience of 3 months of meditation after Vipassana. One of my friends encouraged me to write and share more after reading my first article. Meditation brings small benefits over a long period of time. Though many things have happened in this short period which I really wanted to share.

Since Vipassana I have meditated every day. In the beginning I would meditate 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour at night (as recommended by Goenka). But soon I changed this to half an hour in the morning and half an hour at night. sometimes once a day but never skipping a full day or meditate less than half an hour.

Why I believe in Vipassana meditation

Vipassana meditation allowed me to become aware of many things. It allowed me to delve in my own subconscious. It is like peeling an onion. I slowly went deeper and deeper into my own mind. I began to face old patterns/emotions I held on to without knowing it and which are hard to face. I began to realise that I have to face them so I can accept them and let them go.

Increased awareness

During these months I became more aware of everything. both outside and within myself.
Outside. Nature becomes vibrant, so much more alive. I began to see and appreciate beauty in any place. I began to see people for what they are. I began to see behaviours, feelings, sometimes feeling in what state people were. I was observing everything around me. not labelling, just observing things the way they are.

Inside. I began to feel myself. The love that was inside. An energy flowing within. I became aware of behaviour patterns of myself. I could ask questions why I did this. Because sometimes you do things to “fit in” or be liked. But it is not the real you. For example, I personally do not care for sex or one night stands. All I want and need is love. But so many around me keep asking me how many women I have been with during my travels. Then I start searching for the crazy stories which they want to hear or the pictures of the hot girls I had been with. But the only reason I do this is because I find it hard being different. My friends wont judge me but still there is that fear. It is this fear that you become aware of and can start questioning why it is there. is the story my brain is telling me real?

Seeing thoughts

I begin to see thoughts. Observe my thoughts without binding to them and letting them float away. Sometimes they still grab me and take me on a worry loop or a happy story before I snap out of it. But I try to laugh because these thoughts are mostly based on stories created by my mind.

I read this article the other day explaining it really well. There is a difference between thinking and thought. You can actively think about something. Or you can think without noticing you are thinking. You are always able to stop this whenever you want. But thoughts come and go. you cannot control your own thoughts (usually when you want to control thoughts they just become worse).

How the past influences me today

I have learned how past events still me today. I have a fear of failure, and this also breeds perfectionism and at the same time try to please people or want people to like me. This happened because I sometimes feel I am not good enough. But I learned through becoming aware that this started at my parent’s divorce. My dad used to always travel around the world for work. I would often feel terrible when he left and I remember one morning when I did not want to come to breakfast because I knew he was not there. I questioned why he was leaving. Then my parents divorced and the same feeling came back. The feeling of being left alone and I started blaming myself for their divorce and felt I was not good enough. I started changing myself hoping my dad would come back so we would be a whole family again. Now me finding this out and travelling has actually brought my dad and me closer together than ever, and it was not like our relationship was ever bad. But subconsciously I hurt myself.

The Yes/No/But voice
Through meditation I gained awareness of a thought that kept saying Yes/No or But in my head as soon as a thought came up. This Yes/No or But would make me agree, disagree with a certain thought or make up an excuse why that person would be able to do something and I would not. Now being aware of this thought all I do now is laugh. It if often the yes/no or but that gets me out of the thought pattern.

Higher awareness

After more practice and help from other sources (mentioned below) I attained another higher level of awareness. I gained a level of awareness where I became aware of my body’s and minds reaction to information coming in through my senses. Example; When I was listeninh the book The Art of Being, they were talking about how to increase awareness and focus. One of the methods is meditation. As i heard this i noticed my thoughts and body’s reaction to hearing this. I was happy, thinking im doing something right and instantly a happy feeling arose. You become aware of the emotion. You become aware of why this emotion is there. It is like being a spectator of yourself. You do not fight it, you let it be. You even catch thoughts before they trigger an emotion.

Now… you might be thinking “Why would I want to become this aware?” “Wont you turn into a robot without emotions?”. But the truth is, it brings calm and clarity into your mind. The emotions you have left are real and honest and based on compassion and love because they are not triggered by external events. And those emotions that are triggered by external events are just there. You allow them to be but you are not taken over by them. All that is left is your inner self and an honest energy flow going outward.

Focus

After a lot of practice and again help from other resources I gained a level of focus I had not experienced before. I could focus on anything for a longer period of time and observe it without adding words or labels to that which I was focussing on.

I am able to focus on food in my mouth. Feeling different textures, different flavours within that bite. It made food so much more flavourful. I taste the food for what it is, not comparing with previous experiences. I take it as it is. tasting the food for what it is now and appreciating what it is on its own. And it is an amazing experience if you do this with everything. With all experiences.

I focus on a tree and it comes to life. I focus on a painting and see details unseen before. I focus on people and watch them as they are. I focus on music, listening, again without adding words to it. I can focus on a single instrument within a song and do this with all instruments and then listening to them all play together. It gives a whole new dimension to the music. All you need for this is stillness, patience and a clear and calm mind. I started to enjoy very simple things. I can focus on the feeling in my hand and when I move my fingers I feel the muscles contracting. it is actually a pleasant sensation.

But with this focus also comes awareness of distraction. You become aware when your mind is trying to find distraction because it does not want to be where you are.

Slowly accepting myself

Through meditation I come to know myself. I learned habits/strengths/thought patterns. Slowly I begin to accept myself for who I am. I used to want to change myself because I thought I was flawed. I did not accept the “bad” sides of myself so I fought against them. wanting to change because I was not good enough. If you do not accept yourself. You put yourself in a small box. Unable to grow. Not opened up to let anything else in.

Back home

Being back home after travelling for 8 months is great but I do notice that I fall back in old patterns. Old patterns of behaviour and of thought. I am not as aware as I was during my travel and feel like I have “taken some steps backwards”. But as I write this I think, maybe this is part of progression? two steps forward one step backwards. I know I keep meditating because of the benefits it had already given me. And another thing I keep doing is writing. Journal writing, article writing, and more. It is a way for me to help me become aware.

Meditation brings me peace. It is a tough road and certainly not as easy as my writing or others may make it seem. But it is the small steps that make it worth it. Seeing progression bit by bit, slowly seeing and learning more. Slowly being less influenced by external events and more in touch with myself.

Resources that helped me increase my awareness;
- The Art of Being by Erich Fromm
- The Art of Stillness, Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer
- Medium writers
Farnam street articles

03/06/2016 15:20

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