31 - Intro to Vipassana - 10 days pure silent meditation
This is a short soundbite episode with Felix Chandler. We break down the main lessons and things to know about Vipassana meditation courses and why on earth you might choose to do one.
10 days of silently meditating with no books, music or even writing is a big ordeal for any human to take on and has a fascinating effect on mindset and capabilities after. It is certainly worth looking into and learning from!
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Raw Unedited Messy Google Transcript
I've invited you to the podcast today to talk about Vipassana meditation because I've never done it and I first heard about from you. It's ten days complete silent Retreat don't get to talk to anyone don't have any devices.
You can't even write or anything and then like further ideas. I love. Like having my ideas instead of doing something with it. And I love I feel like I have to get some work done every day to feel content and I feel like I have to do some exercise every day. But if I'm banned from exercise and work and reading sure I don't mind that having my phone, but all of these things are suddenly like, okay.
I don't know if I can do that really ironic counterintuitive. Phenomenon I've observed when you go further and further into not writing down your ideas and not thinking about them. Yeah and not thinking about them and acting on them is the more you keep meditating and not thinking about them and putting your energy towards them the more creative you tend to get and the more you subconscious comes into play to bring out deeper and deeper ideas and emotions.
It's crazy. That's today. Okay. Okay. Um, can you describe what I've now missed out on like has a pass in the work some like etymology and backgrounds probably good that nowadays more and more people have probably heard of it is just getting particularly trendy may be particularly in the tech world and the mindfulness new-agey subculture to do meditation Retreats and they're commonly called we're passing which is almost a franchise standardized form in which it's mostly encountered in the.
Which is a result of going monk from Burma who standardize things and then they opened centers around the world which breed to go to the easily 10 11 days can be found anywhere. Yeah, you meditate men sitting or standing or walking for eight hours a day and final to think or don't try not to think and yet I think and so it's in the standardized franchised almost form in the west and I do like that sort of form and they haven't been to one of the.
Ones with those particular going person, uh rules. Um, so more broadly, you know coming from Sanskrit root and throughout a lot of the Buddhist World. They use that word as a general term that applies to a Meditation Retreat with so throughout a lot of Southeast Asia from its value your city, they'll have different practices of Meditation Retreat.
I might involve more movement some might be more or less strict or have different eating rules. Daily routines and so when it's used by a lot of westerners and they say the person is the standardized needs to be like this thing. I think it's just technically a bit misguided and not very historically globally informed in the global sense of the word and how it's used in a lot of traditions which have done these things for many hundreds or thousands of.
Okay, and then what do you get from of a pastner it varies a lot and just to make things controversial. Oh, uh, you know just mention two really Divergent perspectives on them one. You could almost look at it as or some of the passengers in Southeast Asia of the go extreme and go for a month at the end.
They don't give people food for three days, you know. Just like for three days and you mentioned just sit. You don't have to go to the toilet anymore say just sit and meditate for three days non-stop till now if we look at the physical circumstances while people are putting themselves through doing that.
It's very much akin, to torture and brainwashing techniques of the military Etc. If you deprive someone of food and sleep will become 1 euro plastic and you can brainwash them. Yeah, and at the same time there's a religion involved, you know, and um, so in a lot of them is. Maybe also a way to make any at the same time.
You're told to not think don't be critical don't think and in some of them some aspects. I didn't like was you doing hours and hours of not thinking and sitting there and having no stimulation and then they'd switch over to a bunch of Buddhist philosophy. Some rhetorical dogmatic bullcrap that is just going to sink in and convert people and at the end of some of these for passing this they're promoting that you become a monk and you can you know, you're gonna be saved through the teachings of border and blah blah and it has a lot of parallels in the end as much as I initially put it on a pedestal there's a lot of guilt and pain and being saved which is a lot of parallels with Catholicism or a number of other religions.
They're gonna They're Gonna Save you and this is the only way out and there's promise of rebirth. Blah blah blah but as with a lot of religions, I think you can interpret it in different ways and some areas of Buddhists. What is them? So focus on making Merit and getting a good rebirth. Well other interpretations might seem more scientific and practical and I think a lot of them are what being more adopted in the west such as just having a lot of conscious awareness and through that process of observing all that Sensations and feelings through practices of meditations one might be able to be more in control or less addicted to or.
To all sorts of aspects of one's life. Um, so yeah, there's one very critical perspective on all these practices. I can definitely frame it in that way maybe that is part of it and at the same time everyone has very Divergent experiences, but for a lot of people you can experience absolute states of bliss and ecstasy through meditation that may be more clear and intense than even I imagine.
So you can get to those stages in a more clear way just sitting on the ground. No one drugged you, you know, then even you know, you could look at it from a. Pretty cool perspective as well and say that just like Spirit possession or all sorts of mystical phenomena. Maybe they happen more to people when they absolutely believe in it.
And I remember back to one of the most amazing highs. I had been meditating for days and days and I just talked with people before they're all talkin about they'd had this experience and blah blah blah and maybe if you absolutely the power of the mind is amazing if you really believe you're going to have the most ecstatic.
Experience ever and he's sitting there for days with such dedication trying to do it. Maybe you will if you will and that's the that's one perspective or alternatively you can just feel definitely the once you slow your mind don't have stimulation. You can get much more control of the thought patterns.
You're not just getting your mind hijacked all the time thinking of miscellany. Unnecessary relevant things and I even got to the stage after a few I've done six now after a few where he could catch yourself while you're brushing your teeth having some fantasy about next year riding an elephant on the other side of the world, whatever unnecessary thing it is that doesn't really contribute to your happiness or well-being and I could then get so much awareness of my thought patterns that I could trace it back how I ended up thinking in this obscure scenario and you know, I thought of an elephant because I saw a picture of an elephant and I saw a picture of an elephant, you know, because I saw the same color.
And I saw the same color because I and I could go back six steps to will initially I Saw an Ant and then my mind thought of something else something else something else and the idea a lot of these practices as you could have so much awareness that you catch yourself and moment. You have some stimulation through one of the five cents.
And instead of having you mind hijacked you come back to the present. That's the fundamental idea. But certainly there's a lot of the Divergence in what people get out of it some friends. I know that have been there said yeah, they were thinking the whole time they didn't get anything out of it. It was pretty boring and a lot of other friends that did attend a thing had all sorts of peace of mind if not supposed ecstatic hos unsurpassed by anything else.
They've. And then the other relevant question that comes in is do you just want to get some more awareness of mind and get high or do we believe in it more dogmatically and seriously at least 1% might even drive you more in the story of the Buddha, but the whole goal of doing all this is to reach.
Spiritual Liberation forever blah blah blah, um, and I think for a lot of people even if you have 1% doubt if you believe in that story 1% well, that could be a big driver. Do you want Eternal Bliss and the almost scary thing that makes you wonder a bit more, you know, I read some books both some.
Who claimed these different states of vagina there's different states of ecstasy one could reach through meditation as you got better and better at it and you sort of like that couldn't exist. And you know, he's articulating that you go through, you know, the best ecstasy you've ever experienced in your life.
And then the next stage you get disattached from that and then it gets a million times better and like it is like ten stages of like things just getting so undream better than ecstasy connected with the universe. Yeah, and I would be pretty critical and just read that it's any other mystical.
Except that I seem to have experienced the first two stages of those ten stages. Yeah, and the tenth stage is supposedly navona and spiritual Liberation. So well, it makes you wonder is the third stage gonna come if I was to push it do it more the other thing I've experienced is that a lot of what can be temporarily obtained or experienced is temporary?
You can definitely have a lot of awareness. I've come out of them and I can walk all the way down the street without any random thoughts popping into my mind. I can just focus on the sensation of walking and having that. Charlie's undoubtedly, really powerful, but it's not it's a temporary. It's not permanent.
They can reach these amazing stage. You can have these amazing highs and as when I was 18 when it finished them then go out and have some fried chicken and alcohol and sex and party all night. You've lost it in the morning, you know, as you watch television for a few days you've lost it and so I've also met a monk in Burma that did 30 years hardcore meditation with the goal of reaching spiritual enlightenment forever.
I thought all this is going to be interesting to met him. He got there and he was very much overweight and unaware and. Talkin all day and not inspirational or anything in my first reaction was oh God, didn't he waste his time. He didn't achieve anything, but then you know, there's no need to be critical to be may have experienced and on to amazing places with his mind, but it's not permanent.
He just came back to the city and worked and watch television. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah poignant back the way nothing is permanent. I like the quote that even when you say the word future the first syllable is already in the past. It's like everything ended last as long as it lasts. It's not worth worrying about.
Much if you do enjoy it is that any worse than watching TV or something a lot of the challenges, you know, whether we want to have the goal of becoming spiritually enlightened forever or believing in. You know more complicated motivations for doing it. There's definitely the basic challenge. A lot of people will go through a lot of frustration and anger and it'll be really hard for most people the first couple I did I left after seven days.
Yeah, and a lot of those difficulties come up and a lot of the benefit will come in for a lot of people just if they didn't have television or computers or phones if they didn't have any. Food if they didn't have cigarettes or coffee and then their data really clean diet and wake up and go to sleep at a healthy time and have no stresses or responsibilities for 10 days that that is absolutely transformative.
Most people just couldn't even believe and it's really supportive to have a whole bunch of people doing that with you. That's the other we're social beings and we'll do it much more easily when there's 200 other people going through pain with a sore back waking up at 4 a.m. With you a real challenge when it really goes next.
On so many levels is if you have the self-discipline and motivation to go and sit in a tent or your room or wherever but 10 days and meditate all day working or looking for stimulation. Once you can get to there. I daresay you pretty disciplined and um and so pragmatically well you can just do it now.
You don't have to go to a bloody meditation betrayed. It's not very complicated below your breath and don't think but it makes it a lot easier and when I did one in Burma. We're living days and this amazing portrayed in Burma. It was almost all Burmese and in Burmese culture still most men go and do a pass or meditation.
Is a half initiation to being a month they go and live as a month for what ends up telling me for most men is a year six months to a year and half living in a monastery meditating nine hours a day a year and half meditating on your knees nine hours a day. And so when I was in that environment, I had a very different reference of how hardcore difficult what I was doing was and all of a sudden 10 days seemed really easy.
Whereas when I was in the westerners one in Thailand. It seems really hardcore. Everyone's dropping out and everyone. Like they're in pain and you think it's I can't go through this but then the other blokes next to me and Boomer done a year and half and it's like oh and he's like, this is normal.
We enjoy it. So good Roger Bannister four-minute mile and then we could ever do it and tell me that everyone could do it around