Posts in usa
6 Things I learned as a Vipassana Server

I recently became ill (and am still recovering) while working abroad, and needed to center and heal ASAP. My brain automatically brought Vipassana to mind, because as a student, I experienced sheer peace and happiness from the practice. 🧘🏻‍♀️However, I wanted to be on the other side, I wanted to serve at a course this time. I happened to be en route to Dallas, TX, and was able to locate a center just 45 minutes outside of the city. I contacted them and applied to serve between the courses, as well as partly during a course.

I was so humbled when I was accepted to serve. 🙏🏽As a student, I didn’t realize how much work the servers had on their shoulders, and how happy they were to be serving (the courses are donation-based after all). I also didn’t understand how the center functioned behind boundary lines. As a server, you are there to offer your services, your time, energy and to send Metta (loving kindness) to all of the students sitting at the course, without expecting anything in return. You are there to ensure the students’ needs come first, and that they feel as comfortable as possible to have a successful sitting. I learned that everything in a Vipassana course is set up for a reason, and it made me appreciate the practice even more.

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4 Ways to Acclimate Back to Normal Life After a 10-Day Silent Vipassana Retreat

I had a challenging time reacclimating back to normal life after my Vipassana meditation retreat. I transitioned from complete silence, without anything to worry about except sitting, back to my hectic work days and long hours. I went from 0-100 MPH/KM, so to speak. I wish someone had warned me of this challenge in advance, but after speaking with the teacher, she explained that everyone reacts differently, and so it is difficult to forewarn anyone. I decided to consult with my fellow Vipassana meditators to see what helped them during this transitional process from silence to the noise of life. Through their recommendations, as well as my own success and challenges, I came up with this list to help someone successfully acclimate back to the real world after a Vipassana sitting.

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Vipassana Day 10: Master of None (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I woke up at 4:30 AM today from another strange dream, where my mom told me Prince Charles was planning to propose to me. I guess we were all super close with the royals? IDK. I said there is no way because he is dating sexy hot Meghan Markle, and he is really not my type and plus I am in a relationship. It didn’t seem to matter. Finally Prince Charles proposed to me with a crazy set of rings, made of Princess Diana’s diamonds. He said he’s always been in love with me. I mention his hot GF… He says the family will never approve, if I know what he means. I then mention my partner, and he just walks away, as though I don’t have a choice. I tell my partner, and his friend gets involved and said he knew I would ultimately disappoint my partner. I have to start attending these nightly formal dinners like in Downton Abbey with itchy clothes and we have to be secretive about everything. Meanwhile, it’s clear neither of us are attracted to one another. I show up for dinner a couple weeks later, and he said that he has decided to get back together with Meghan. I am so confused and feel like crap because I now have to beg for my partner back. Strange (GUYS, HE GOT ENGAGED LIKE A WEEK AFTER THIS).

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Vipassana Day 8: Feliz Dia de Los Muertos aka Realizations (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I woke up at 4 AM this morning - woo! I then fell back asleep. Oops. It’s getting colder and colder outside. So glad I found this weird bleached jacked in the Extra Clothes closet. At breakfast, I ate my light snack and as I stared outside, I thought, has anyone studied Vipassana as a detox or rehab method for addiction? I know I am already feeling the benefits, and know it could surely work miracles on others. I walk my four rounds while admiring the fiery sunrise before morning meditation. Meditation is smooth for the most part, but some drama seems to happen when I hear one of the ladies in the back walking about. After about ten minutes, I hear the teacher telling the manager to check on her, and about another ten minutes later she brings her back in. The teachers are always taking notes as we meditate, and I can hear them whispering things to the managers. This makes me nervous, because I keep thinking it’s me that’s the problem. For example, I use peppermint essential oils to help my neck pain as I meditate and to keep me awake. I just assume they are going to call me out for being too strong smelling. Or perhaps, I am rocking again or being too loud. But so far, except for on Sunday (Day 4) they haven’t called me out for doing anything wrong.

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Vipassana Day 7: Happy Halloween aka Glamorous (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

I woke up at 1:30 AM this morning, despite taking Benadryl. Bumps and itchiness still present. Those pills have been in my purse for a while, and I can’t find an expiration date. This is the fourth morning I’ve had Fergie’s Glamorous stuck in my head. Great song, but not an appropriate setting. Where is impermanence when you need it? I force myself back to sleep.

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Vipassana Day 5: You Reap what you Sow (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

Whoever said Day 3 is the hardest, didn’t quite make it to Day 4. I woke up at 2 AM, needing to use the restroom. The restroom window is always open, and I’m constantly paranoid someone or something is watching me when I am in there. The paranoia continued when I returned to my room. I barely slept and finally woke up around 5:45 AM. Yeah yeah..I am supposed to be up at 4 AM for morning meditation. Whatever. Tell my body about it.

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Vipassana Day 4: Impermanence (a 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience)

Today I woke up at 4:15 AM to wash out the conditioning mask from my hair. I tried to fall back asleep, but failed. Today’s breakfast was better than yesterday's because they had my favorite fall fruit, persimmons! Honestly, I wish they would just serve us lunch leftovers, because there is nothing savory for breakfast. Or at least offering eggs (everything is vegetarian at the center). I don’t think I have mentioned that I ran out of my oxygenated magnesium (my magic poop pills), which means I’ve barely gone to the bathroom. Even with eating vegan mush, and the copious amounts of water I’ve been drinking… Nada. My morning walk was beautiful, but there is this one woman who gives me the strangest look each time she walks by. This is the third day I’ve noticed. Maybe I stare strangely at the other gals? I think we are all losing it. Speaking of communal spaces, sometimes we will hold the door for each other, and we will use our eyes to say thank you or bow, or accidently mouth it or even say it. We aren’t supposed to gesture at each other, let alone break noble silence, but it happens. Habits are hard to break.

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Intro to Dhammaland - The Happiest Place on Earth: A 12-day Journal of my Vipassana Silent Meditation Retreat Experience

For many years, I wanted to complete a 10-day Vipassana retreat. Why? Because I wanted to know myself in the truest sense. I spend so much time avoiding myself, and trying to fill up my time with every activity in the book so that I do not have to hang out alone. Despite this proclivity for self-avoidance, I truly wanted to find out the root of my anxiety, my chronic guilt, and to finally understand my impulsiveness, my indecisiveness, and my need to keep busy with a million things to feel happy, to feel ‘satisfied.’ I know I am literally the grandmaster at avoiding myself, which is why I thought a retreat, where just me, my ego, and potentially the dark night of my soul could get together for an overdue intervention. The thought of being alone for 10 days in silence simultaneously excited and scared the shit out of me. Hence I chickened out twice before, and gave up my spot to someone I thought would be a more worthy goer. Plus, I was not ready! I had to take the time off work, financially prepare myself, etc etc etc. Finally, I convinced myself that there was no more avoiding. I had to do it.

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