On Friday I went to a 3-day meditation course. And ‘wouw’ probably summarizes what an experience I had. It’s the same form of meditation I’d been introduced to in India: Vipassana. I did my first 10-day course in September last year. An amazing experience like that I only ever imagined to do whilst travelling and venturing far away from ‘normal’ life… I never ever expected to be eventually doing it here in Ireland! At the start of my first course last year, I never even realized that it was such a universal type of meditation and was convinced I could only learn such practices in such countries as India. But throughout that particular course I learned it IS taught EVERYWHERE in the world.
After that September experience, I maintained my practice. Every morning and evening I’d sit for 30 to 45 min, witnessing the workings of the mind and doing my best to get past the chaos so a sense of reality would come. But it’s such a deep form of meditating that—if you’re serious about developing the practise—a regular refresher course is needed. As well I noticed over the past months that I was starting to struggle. So a few weeks ago I was browsing the Vipassana website wondering where in Europe I could get back into the swing of it! And then I found they were organizing one in Donard; a tiny village up in the Wicklow mountains (only an hour drive from Arklow). What a coincidence! It could have been held anywhere in Ireland, or Europe for that matter, but it just so happened to be up the road! Yay!
So… 3 days of silence, instead of 10 days… 3 days of making NO eye contact and NO physical gestures… 3 days of waking-up at 4am and sitting still for 10 hours with eyes closed and legs crossed (with a break every hour)… 3 days where our last meal was served at 11am… 3 days without writing, reading, mobiles phones or internet… Could I do it? Well, I’ve done 10 days in the past, so these 3 days were a breeze!
It may sound ‘off the wall’ to many, but I can’t express how amazing it is to sit in silence, watching the mind and the thoughts and the ‘shit’ coming and going whilst trying to dig past it with the intention of becoming unstuck from pain—on every level of being. I totally understand how it will sound somewhat... hummm… odd but I’ll still openly admit how exciting I find it ;)
On Friday afternoon we all gathered at the residence where it would be held: The old Rectory. This place was like a little sanctuary in the Irish hills… I reckon it once was a farm house and has since been restored. It’s on a couple of acres of land, with a stone driveway, sheep in the surrounding fields (being more talkative than we were), humongous trees everywhere and gardens with walkways and scattered little huts of silence. When I arrived on Friday I really couldn’t believe my luck…
The silence didn’t start until 8pm, so up until then we were able to mingle. I got to meet some great people and realized just how many people actually DO meditate here in Ireland! I was delighted to find out this little piece of info, as I’ve often thought this type of meditation was something alien and unheard of. But it just so happens that it’s only unheard of to the people I’m surrounded by. Needless to say, this course totally opened up a different side to Ireland.