For three consecutive days, all you would be doing is breathe in, breathe out and keep focusing on your breath. Besides worrying about the now-perennial body aches, that is! So, will you be experiencing the state of Nirvana after enduring so much for three days? Of course not!
We’ll be spending ample time to understand the nuances of our mind works — how our attention gets divided easily, how we get distracted within a fraction of a second and how difficult it is to focus on one thing at a time. We also get to learn how the Buddha attained enlightenment and how he had put himself through this very rigorous meditation technique that is being taught to us thousands of years later.
The recorded discourses in the evening are a saving grace as that is when late guru Goenkaji tries to explain the logic behind the rules that participants are made to strictly adhere to during the 10-day course. During the discourse, Goenkaji also unfolds the mysteries of the Noble Eightfold Path that the Buddha treaded and instructed his disciples to follow as well.
“The Eightfold Path is divided into three sections: Sila (morality), Samadhi (action of developing control over one’s mind) and Panna (development of wisdom). While the first two can be practised albeit with a bit of struggle, neither can be complete without the most important part — panna,” says guruji. He insists that only with wisdom can one eradicate the impurities accumulated in our mind.
The discourses, therefore, help practitioners of Vipassana meditation to understand how filling one’s mind with impurities results in the body revolting against it by giving way to illnesses. “Disease is nothing but the body’s way of showing that the mind has done enough damage,” says Goenkaji.
By the end of the third day — if you survived them without running away — you would notice that focus on your breath starts happening naturally the moment you sit down to meditate. Just what we need before we enter the realm of panna on the fourth day. With a nervous-yet-excited feeling of what is in store the next day, I retire to bed.