Three years after my first meditation experience, I embarked on a life-changing ten-day vipassanā silent meditation retreat. That was end of 2019...
Today, I am going again.
While these ten days were physically and mentally difficult, no other practice has helped me uncover my true self and upgrade my meditation practice like vipassanā. In full honesty, the Untethered book would probably not exist if it hadn’t been for my first vipassanā retreat in 2019.
What is vipassanā?
Vipassana is a mindfulness meditation technique. It involves observing your thoughts and emotions as they are, without judging or dwelling on them.
The ten-day retreat includes 11 hours of meditation per day. No Talking, no reading or writing materials of any kind are allowed. No exercise, no entertainment, no physical contact, and no food or drink besides what is provided.
Three days are given to the practice of anapanasati, intended to increase consistency and precision of attention. The rest of the time is given to the core vipassanā practice, in which the meditator attempts to move through the body, paying attention to the various sensations that arise without reacting to them.
Basically, all you do is meditate, sleep, and eat lightly. I jokingly refer to it now as a military boot camp for awareness.
There, I improved my present-moment awareness, clarity, and motivation to develop a daily meditation practice.
Should you try it too?
Endless researchers have confirmed that meditation and a deeper experience of the present moment can have significant health benefits.
Neil Peterson, for example, who investigated and wrote about more than one thousand psychology studies, says that:
“people’s time perspectives correlate with life satisfaction, anxiety and depression ... people who live in the present are more satisfied with life on average, the opposite seems to be true for those who dwell on the past.”
Unfortunately, we often choose to escape into our digital devices. Although happiness lies in the present moment, we try to avoid being present regularly.
Our smartphones have become so convenient that we sometimes choose them over our own happiness!
If you are interested in learning more about vipassanā, the short YouTube video titled “How to Practice Vipassana Meditation in five minutes” explains how you can start your own vipassanā meditation today.
On YouTube, you’ll also find an incredible TEDx talk by Eilona Ariel showing how and why she created a documentary on vipassanā by traveling the world visiting meditation centers and prisons.
Whether you choose to do a ten-day silent meditation retreat or commit to practicing quieting your mind while you drink your morning coffee, meditation is an invaluable tool to reconnect to our inner world and the present moment, and to encourage a healthier relationship with technology.
Talk to you in a few days.
Until then, stay untethered.