Personal Raw Reflections for the future : Vipassana Meditation

ヴィパッサナー瞑想10日間コースを終えた感想・学び・気づき(c)Megumi Mitani Column
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Hello! It's Megumi (@meg_intheworld).

Just right after completing my 10-day Vipassana retreat in Nepal, I wrote down my personal experiences and some realizations about myself on my journal.

Initially, these reflections were intended to be private, but I thought it might be interesting for others to witness how one’s perspective might change over time, whether in 3 months, 6 months, or even a year.

It has been two weeks since I completed the course, and now I find myself in Bangkok, crafting these blog posts at my Aibnb.

I continue to practice meditation in the morning and at night. My level of real human interaction is almost the same as during the “Noble Silence”, since I mostly spend my time writing, working or running at the gym, and I haven’t had a conversation with anyone almost 10 days..!

Yet, I started feeling like the “quiet, peaceful days in Nepal” were a long time ago. Our memories and sensations slowly fade away without us realizing it…

OK, this is my real, raw realization about myself just right after completing the 10-day retreat. Enjoy!

Contentment with Enough

Since I started nomadic life in 2015, I’ve learned to find contentment in simplicity, and this became my value.

I’m a huge coffee lover — sometimes I roast my own beans, grind them and make pour over every morning, and visit coffee roasters and cafes around the world. But during these 12 days, I never once craved coffee or even thought about it until someone said “I really missed coffee!”.

Perhaps it’s because tea is more common than coffee in Nepal. The milk tea served in the mornings and tea break became a delightful substitute for me.

I believe that “being content with what is” allows you to live anywhere.

Freedom from Desires and Attachments

A lack of “desires” and “attachments” has been a part of my identity for a while, but spent 12 days and observed others made me re-acknowledge this aspect of myself.

As I mentioned about the coffee thing earlier, I rarely crave for something. Even in situations where I might have wanted something, I quickly let go of that desire if it’s not available.

Of course, there were exceptions. For instance, on the first day’s morning, I found some fruits on the table. However I found out it’s only for Old Students and was disappointed, thinking, “Can’t I have some fruits!? Fruits are my absolute favorite food on this planet..! (Heartbreaking).” But I quickly accept it, and enjoyed the porridge, the bean soup and milk tea instead. And when I found out that New Students would have fruits in the afternoon, I was so happy and smiling secretly. 

I noticed that some students frequently requested extra food or items from the servers, someone even disregarded the fruit rule and eating it both in the morning and afternoon, even after an Old student kindly warmed to her.

Observing their behavior, it became clear to me that they likely have strong desires and actively pursue fulfilling them. And perhaps, it extends to their daily lives and relationships, not only just material possessions within the Vipassana Center.

It was interesting to observe the power of desires and attachments in others and myself. Some might think a lack of desires as boring, but I am ok with that, at least for now.

Comfortable in Solitude

While walking around the garden after lunch on DAY 2, I realized that “I thought I would feel lonely if I couldn’t talk or contact to anyone, but I don’t.”

Perhaps solitude comes naturally and feels comfortable to me.

Sure, I love my friends, think of them quite often, and sometimes think “I wish we lived in the same area” or “I’d like to catch up with them!” However, I can’t remember if I’ve ever felt lonely simply because I’m alone.

I guess solitude has become my normal since I’ve started living as a digital nomad.

During the course, a few friends, my cousin and her family came to mind, but I didn’t feel a sense of missing them because I believed they must be enjoying their lives too.*1

Spending time in silence and solitude has actually made me look forward to interact with them in real life even more.

 

Strong Will

The day the 10-day “Noble Silence” ended, I received a surprising insight from my roommate.

My roommate, the girl next door, and I were discussing the challenges of sitting still for an hour, my roommate turned to me and said, “Megumi, you did it well. You have a strong will.'”

In my head, I was like “Me? Do I?” for a second. Then I realized she was right. I surely committed to Vipassana practice.

Looking back on my life, I found some instances where I followed through with my decisions, like rejecting a job offer after graduate college to pursue my dream in the music industry or quitting my corporate job to start a completely new lifestyle and career.

Then I’ve realized that when I decide to do something, I commit to it. It doesn’t matter if I achieve it or not, I just try and keep doing it until I see some progress.

I hadn’t given much thought to my willpower before, but I am grateful to my roommate for bringing it to my attention. Thank you, X!

 

Self-Focus and Self-Belief

Another revelation emerged from conversations with fellow participants: the importance of self-focus and self-belief.

Some expressed frustration at not being able to still and meditate like others, like “Others can sit still for an hour effortlessly, but I can only manage 30 minutes at most, and it’s so frustrating!” or “We’re both new students, but why can they do it and I can’t?”

Those comments were actually eye-opening to me, because even though I had faced some challenges such as distractions and knee pain, I hadn’t compared my progress to others.

I think it’s because I naturally believe that everyone is unique, and this belief enriches our lives. And Vipassana taught me the importance of self-focus, which aligned with my own approach to concentration. For me, I can only truly focus on something when I can put myself in the “zone.”

As I mentioned in my Vipassana report about DAY 3, when faced with moments of difficulty, I encouraged myself through challenges, believing that “if this is a challenge, I can overcome it.”

The 10 days of silence provided a unique environment where I had no one but myself to share my thoughts and feelings, to get some encouragements or supports, and to seek advice (except technical matters). I was the only one who could provide all of them, so basically I was my best friend. And if so, I would believe in her, and I did. 🙂

 

Ok, That’s all for the Raw Reflections Notes I wrote in Lumbini, Nepal.

Again, it has been only two weeks, but I started feeling different already.

For instance, “Comfortable in Solitude” *1.. Now I can see that this was completely my imagination and wish, yet I truly felt that way at the time. And it’s funny I just wrote “our assumptions could be quite wrong.” in the other post yesterday..

Let’s see how my perspective will change in months, or a year. I’ll share with you as a case study. 😉

Thanks for reading!

Love,
Megumi

Have you also done Vipassana, or any type of meditation retreat?
I’d love to hear about your experience! Leave a comment on here, or DM me on Instagram @meg_intheworld.

P.S.
If you want to read more about my 10-day Vipassana experience in Nepal, please check out the articles below. I’ve shared my experience very detailed; it almost feels like I’m sharing my personal journal in a public space. It’s kinda embarrassing, but that’s me, and I’m okay with being myself. So, if you are interested, please enjoy.

All articles are written in Japanese, so please use Google translate or similar tool. Also, please understand that the articles might be not easy to read since it structured for Japanese readers.

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