Golden Ticket

There are four types of people in this world. Those who move from darkness to darkness, those who move from lightness to darkness, those who move from darkness to lightness, and those who move from lightness to lightness. Which one are you?

To hold a mind of no impurities: anger, resentment, sadness, fear, worry, and guilt, but only of compassion, love, acceptance, strength, and gratitude – that to me is true freedom. If someone handed you the golden ticket to that freedom, would you take it?

As the final moments of silence were upon us in the dhamma hall on Day 10, a feeling of serenity came over me like I had never experienced before. For the first time in my 26 years of life, my mind was entirely present and at peace. What I was feeling were the sensations that were being experienced through my body in that moment and that is all. Nothing more, nothing less. A vibration underneath my skin as I scanned from head to toe and back up again. Over the course of 10 days, I had gained the wisdom and tools to apply a technique to my physical and mental state that is the jewel called Vipassana.

Chants came over the speakers in the hall that queued the closing of our group meditation. Routinely, each individual stood from their meditation pillow and silently exited. What differed in this particular instance was that when we walked into the beautiful garden that surrounded the building we spent 10 hours a day meditating in, our noble silence would come to an end. For the first time in 10 days, after being in complete isolation, we would be able to make eye contact and interact with each other.

Each day outside of the dining hall, a quote on the wall would be visible to us. One that still resonates with me was this: "Good to have control over your words. Good to have physical control. But to have control over your mind is the real warrior."

If I were to share with you the learnings and techniques that took place during this experience, the reality is that they would all seem logical and appealing, but they would just be words to you. Perhaps new knowledge, but your journey is your journey and all I can say is that if you have any days left to live, having the opportunity to invest in 10-days of time to settle your debts with your own self, is maybe something to consider. Vipassana doesn’t change you, it just makes you so much fucking better.

The moment I was able to connect with the women in my group, we all had smiles on our faces from ear to ear. I cannot tell you why we were smiling but no drug could ever make me feel this pureness of happiness and bliss. When we were given our technology back, I had no interest in being on my computer or phone – even presently it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable to be “connected” to these pieces of technology I’ve grown to have unhealthy attachments to. I’m in a little bubble of bliss and I want to stay in that bubble forever – but the core of me knows now that everything in life is temporary and this too shall pass. Acceptance that craving leads to attachment which leads to misery, and we are solely responsible for our own happiness and misery – that’s the lesson. No one else is ever responsible.

Vipassana is like putting your mind into a washing machine and when the cycle is finished, it comes out cleaned and purified. The process in which to get to that final cycle stage was quite the ride. The thinking and feelings that went through my physical and mental state over these days were intensely painful and blissful all at the same time. I went inside the deepest part of my inner self and met myself for the first time. When I met her, we sat down together and hashed EVERYTHING out. You’ll have to read the book I’m currently writing to see what this introduction and encounter was like.

Did I enjoy Vipassana? No, I did not. Would I do it again? Absolutely, and I plan on it at least once a year if I can. It was the most challenging mental experience I have ever been through – but it was also the most rewarding. A faucet turned on in my mind on day 1 and by the end of day 10 it turned off and I had never been happier to be alive. The love and compassion I feel for every individual who I have ever crossed paths with, whether that individual is currently in my life or not, is undeniable and sincere.

Vipassana is the golden ticket to true freedom. Are you prepared to take that journey?

I came to India hoping to find fulfillment and lasting happiness. When I got here, she told me that I won’t find that here and that it has been inside of me all along.

Dhamma Chakka, Varanasi, India

Dhamma Chakka, Varanasi, India

Natasha Aquin4 Comments