What I Learned After 100 Hours Of Meditation In 10 Days, Aka Vipassana

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The moment you guys have been waiting for! Drum roll please + thank you ; ) If you are reading this + not quite sure what I’m talking about: this is my last post on a series sharing my experience at Vipassana, a 10 day silent meditation retreat. Links below!

It’s been exactly one month since Vipassana ended. In a way, it feels like a far removed dream. I had been talking about going on Vipassana for so long, + when it finally happened, I didn’t have the experience I expected… so my mind is a little bit like, “did that actually happen?”

Here’s what I expected my experience to look like [based on journeys from people I know]: tons of memories from childhood, childhood traumas released, flashes of profound insight, the hardest thing that I’ve ever done but the most rewarding.

To my surprise, I had zero memories from my childhood [I realized what an incredible, privileged childhood I had] + the overarching takeaway from the 10 days: It’s okay to be okay.

It sounds so weird, but I had [have!] such a hard time coming to terms with this.

After watching Brene Brown: Call To Courage, this feeling “it’s okay to be okay” sunk into me even more. She talks about feeling joy, + how it’s the most vulnerable emotion we experience in our lives.

“We are terrified to feel joy. So often we’re afraid to be grateful for what we have, especially in front of people who’ve gone through great trauma + loss because we think it’s insensitive.”

So many people experience great suffering. My heartaches + pain seem so small compared to the traumas of others I know, not to mention those I read about in books/see on the news. I don’t belittle any one else’s suffering, why am I belittling mine?

A follow up thought to it’s okay to be okay was: while you may have not experienced the *flavor of suffering* [this is a Tony Robbins term] as others, doesn’t mean you can’t help + show up with love. Be a good, loving person! It’s as simple as that. ++ be grateful for what you have — you’re on the path, stay on the path.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to — I desire [yet am terrified] to be fully seen. I believe most humans are. I must remember: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Other things I learned//takeaways…

1] Many of you know my left shoulder has been in chronic pain for years. I talked with a Medium about it, + even she could easily tell by my aura that it had to do with stuck traumas + was undergoing healing. My only *flash* of insight that I had was on the fourth day: I discovered the root of my shoulder pain [it has to do with expectations]. Crazy enough, it has been feeling much looser.

2] More meditation, always! I want to sit 30–45 minutes every morning.

3] Use lovingkindness meditations to improve relationships.

4] Move s l o w e r — this is always a takeaway I have after retreats. In this world that glorifies busy it’s so hard to implement. This was a quote on my tea bag during Vipassana that I loved: Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

5] Wedding ideas [lol]. I’ve never been the girl with the Pinterest board that knows exactly what she wants for her wedding. On one of the later days, when I was extremely bored doing the body scans… I was like, “Eff it, I want to think about something!” So, that’s what I did ; ). [PSA, no I’m not engaged.]

6] Really enjoyed the *simple* things [probably because it was the only thing other than meditation + eating that I could do] — loved flossing, tongue scraping, making my bed, seeing how slow I could walk. I will say… I’ve made my bed every day since Vipassana! Flossing… not so much.

7] I want to do a yoga/meditation retreat with my mom.

8] One of Goenka’s stories that I loved portrayed how much we all care about *my + I* — “A friend’s expensive watch falls on the ground + breaks, we say aweee that’s a bummer. Our expensive watch falls on the ground + breaks, we get extremely upset… maybe even cry! It’s the exact same watch! Why different reactions? Because we care so much about the my — my watch. We are so attached to our possessions.” Yikes.

9] Take a silent day [or weekend!] every season to #rechaarg. Including journaling, writing, + reading though ; )

10] I don’t need to accept someone’s “anger” present. If someone’s angry/frustrated/etc, + takes it out on me… it’s easy to marinate on their words + allow it to be trapped in my mind for awhile. Instead: stay calm, + don’t take their negative energy personally!

11] Look up meditation groups in Chicago, or start my own with friends.

12] Loved, loved, loved the technology silence. I didn’t think about my phone at all during the 10 days… which I was shocked by! A few days after getting home, I kept the *technology silence* going + was barely on my phone/instagram. It was so, so nice. I must admit, I’m back to my typical habits. This is another reminder to myself to let go of the addiction.

It’s crazy to think that after 100 hours of meditation [okay, more like 75 if you read *my schedule* — BUT STILL. A LOT OF HOURS!], I really only had a handful of takeaways, right? That’s why I was discouraged after Vipassana… I wanted tons of groundbreaking insights! But the funny thing that I’m starting to realize: Life is pretty simple. We are the ones that complicate it so much.

Less striving, more living… more loving!

Rooting for you,

Elisabeth

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