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My Vipassana Experience

When I decided to introduce meditation to my life I wasn't prepared for where it took me.

Through meditation I have learned about my resistances, my thought patterns, my strengths and my weakness's. I have gained the ability to self reflect, to accept what comes, and to observe myself.

During my first Vipassana course, I was half way through the first day when I realised I was in trouble. Every part of me was in pain, my mind was in a spin and I was wound up so tight that I wasn't meditating; instead I was forcing my way through every minute of every session praying for it to end.

That was exhausting and getting me no-where. So after talking with an Assistant Teacher, and begging him for a seat or a space to lean against the wall, I was amazed to be told that I was struggling because my mind is weak! Probably not what anyone wants to hear, but it was the best thing he could have said to me.

I realised that I was causing myself the problems I was experiencing. From then on I was able to turn things around. Instead of resisting the pain I was experiencing, I started to relax my mind and breath. Then something amazing happened. I was able to detach from the discomfort and observe it. Yes the pain was still there, but I wasn't resisting it anymore. I observed it and watched it change.

This simple change in my mind set allowed me to be fully present to the experience, and to notice how everything is impermanent. I experienced the pain lessen in intensity then increase without being affected by it - well not in the way I was being affected when I first started.

When we resist anything we tense ourselves against it, thereby creating more pain and challenges for ourself. A simple way to understand is if you are exercising and pushing yourself, you are likely to hold your breath, feel an anxiety rise in your body and tense yourself against the movement you are trying to achieve. Alternatively, when you breathe into the stretch you find that you are able to move further than before.

Now I can notice when the anxiety is arising in me, and I can feel the discomfort of my mind and in my body; and I know that I am resisting something. Thankfully I now have this tool to come back to and can quickly change the experience.

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