My biggest learning from a Vipassana course was a simple observation about breathing that i had on the 3rd day and understood fully on the 8th day. This learning was extremely powerful as it was experience based and wasn’t a result of any intellectual activity. Vipassana is a meditation technique wherein one concentrates one’s mind inwards to observe the realities within one’s self. It starts from observing breath in its natural form, as it comes and as it goes. Breathing is a Truth, for it happens naturally at every instant. In Vipassana one’s mind is focused by observing the breath without any external help whatsoever.
Having observed my breathing for 2 days, i noticed that i wasn’t observing my natural breath. As soon as my mind was getting conscious of observing, the breathing was becoming a bit faster than its natural pace and no matter how hard i tried, its pace remained fast, it was in-fact increasing if i tried too much. To understand, you need to know that in Vipassana, initially we are instructed to increase the pace of our breathing so as to catch it as observing the natural breath requires a lot of focus. We are further instructed to take 2-3 fast breaths to get our focus back, whenever it gets distracted(which happens a lot) and once it gets back to slowly let the breathing return to its natural state. However, this is easier said than done for the moment you try returning it to its natural state, you get conscious about its pace and end up increasing it.
Funny, right: On one side you instruct your mind to just observe the breath as it is and as you instruct it, it becomes conscious of breathing and ends up making it a bit faster. For the moment i becomes conscious, i started thinking that if i didn’t aid in breathing, it wouldn’t happen. I forgot that breathing is something that happens naturally and doesn’t need to be controlled, however i ended up making an effort and thus the increased pace. When i understood it, my joy knew no bounds for i had caught my Desire to control at play red handed. I also realized that i can’t try to get rid of it, for trying would again be wanting to control, Haha, what a beautiful vicious circle for even if i started not trying, it would also be borne of a desire of control. The only way out of it is to neither try nor not try, to just be.
I realized that throughout my life, i have been trying to control the present moment so as to somehow shape up the future and not just letting life flow. I constantly tested my belief in the universal energy by trying to control it and making it go my way. It was this urge to control that wasn’t just letting me be, just letting me live the moment, just celebrating my very existence. I also realized how its just me who is responsible for pushing myself further away from myself for it was my own urge to control that was giving rise to the next moment.
Enlightenment is just realizing what one is and just being, its can’t be chased, desired or aspired. It will come naturally when it has to, when we are ready for it. Now, i am just trying to live my life momentarily with as much awareness as possible. The funny part here is,if you would have noticed, that i am still trying so i am still not out of the habit of controlling. Haha, but then that’s the beauty of this experience for i can’t even try to break the habit, it will break when it has to. 🙂