Self transformation through self examination
I attended my first Vipassana 10-day course in March of 2005 at the Alliston, Ontario location. At that time I was going through some dramatic changes in my life. Vipassana meditation offered a powerful tool to manage the challenges I was experiencing, and learning to balance my mind by seeing situations as they really are, not how I would like them to be. Rather than viewing my life through a veil of my own perceived reality, with the daily practice of Vipassana meditation, I am better able to simply look at a situation without reacting strongly to a variety of unruly emotions.
Prior to attending my first 10-day retreat, I had tried various other forms of meditation ranging from guided meditation to chakra meditation to simple one pointed meditation. All of these other techniques of meditation can be very helpful to a person in terms of focus sing the mind to allow for a break from the constant activity that it endures every day. However, what the technique of Vipassana offers is a profoundly lasting shift that pulls deep seated issues from the root. This scientific process ensures these “issues” will not grow to become unhealthy to both the person and the people around them. By simply observing the mind-body connection from an experiential vantage point, the mind becomes well trained. With regular practice, controlling thoughts and reactions becomes second nature, and as a result we have more freedom to be happy, more energy to give of ourselves, and less need to escape because we see the interconnectedness of all things.
One of the many things that impressed me about Vipassana, as taught by S.N Goenka, is that there are more than 130 centers world wide that are run solely by donation from student ‘servers’ who have taken at least 1 10-day course and have benefited from the technique. These ‘old students’ wish to share their time, through volunteering at the center, or their money by donating to their center. There is no profit made at any of the centers, and all money donated goes to expanding worldwide, and daily maintenance of the centers. The courses are available free and/or by donation to anyone, regardless of financial situation when they follow the strict guidelines for the 10-day course.
Having attended several 3-day and 1-day courses, as well as serving several as donation, I sat my 7th 10-day course in 2016. I hope to sit a 20-Day course in 2018! Although I have gone back again and again, this course is likely the most difficult inner journey I have endeavoured in my life. Having said that, after completing each course, the level of pure joy and peace that I have felt is second to nothing. Talk about a natural high!
The Vipassana 10-Day course is well worth the time and effort involved. It changed my life in wonderful ways.
This article is the most comprehensive explanation about Vipassana meditation I have yet to read: http://www.boloji.com/spirituality/090.htm
To find out more about the 10-Day Vipassana course and dates of courses visit: www.torana.dhamma.org
Oh what a journey it is - this life. How enlightening it has been to introduce a new world of learning and growing at The Vidya Centre. I see more than ever how important my daily practice is, and how dramatically it impacts everything I do. I see the value of moving out of a comfort zone and into unchartered territory. Delving into crevices, nooks, and crannies of relationships, people, business, trajectories, foresight, time management and how it all relates to one another. Each morning I arise to greet a new day as a gift. I sit quietly in meditation to pull the weeds of the garden of my mind. These weeds that may impede my progress - both personally and professionally. Oh what a process to observe the mind, the ego, the thoughts that swirl and churn and fight for top priority in the mind. What an amusing sideshow the human monkey mind can be!
Thank goddess for mindfulness. Thank goddess for conscious awareness --for the precious food that feeds our heartspace. Thank goddess for love, for goodness and sharing. Thank goddess for friendships and heart to heart connections. I am thankful for the love that abounds. Not my love, not your love, just the purity of LOVE. That love is what we all connect to. That love is what each of us clings to in lonely moments. That love is our birthright. And that love will be there for you when you are ready to receive it.
All of this to say that I am thankful for being thrust into the position to steward the mission of the Vidya Centre. I am thankful for the strong and brilliant souls who are in board with me. I am thankful for the tools I have acquired over the years to help keep the ship from steering wayward. I am thankful for all of you who care enough to read my words. I am thankful for the community that we are building around us. Let us continue to grow, learn, and be together.
I believe that our primary reasons for being on this planet is to align with our potential, our life’s purpose, and sense of freedom. I see that more and more people are awakening to this potential. If we’re motivated to want to awaken to ease the suffering of the world and we’re consciously working towards this awakening, we need a solid foundation; our body should be strong, as well as our mind and spirit. We need to to cleanse our body so that we can have a pure vessel to channel the Divine life-force that comes through us and allows us to focus on the sacred work that needs to be done while we are here. Our true potential stems from our ability to be free within ourselves, and in the choices we make.
When we learn to have a harmonious relationship to food it no longer consumes our energy (like it does when we struggle with food and weight), and in fact it frees up our energy (because we let go and drop the struggle altogether). It no longer depletes us, but energizes us. In this capacity, because the fundamental nature of our relationship to food has changed – to one that we enjoy, we can then turn to more important things in our lives, like waking up to our highest potential and doing the things that we love.
This is one very important reason our understanding is paramount to know where our food is sourced. If you eat meat, or dairy, where does it come from? How are those animals raised and treated? What methods were used to make that product salable on the market?
When we eat the flesh of an animal who has been raised in pain and misery that energy becomes part of our own. Perhaps her baby was taken from her (dairy/veal cows) or perhaps they have not been able to move or even see the light of day! The extent of animal cruelty that is out in our world is shameful, and needs to be exposed.
The food we eat, and the energy that is attached to that food BECOMES A PART OF US. It's how our cells are created. The energy that is in that food becomes enmeshed with our energy, and we take on the energy of that plant, or animal, or egg, or brownie, or french fries. So we must be cautious and careful about what is on our fork, because that food will be instrumental in shaping who we become. We, ourselves alone are responsible for the energy that we emit to the world.
All of what we call our world is a shadow of the stuff that creates who we are. The constant creation that unfolds due to our thoughts, and ideas creates our circumstances. This is the power we hold which takes very special care and time to understand and execute. Once this new state of being becomes a habitual state, the power becomes us. The sails are set for the wind to carry us forth to where we are needed.
Wholeness comes from our ability to learn and grow in understanding that the world and its beings are not separate from us. This acknowledgment and understanding changes everything.
There is a natural quality to the pace to our own individual development, just as there is for a tree or a forest. Our path is a process of freeing limitations so it can engage in the process more fully.
How are you engaging the path before you? How can you develop a brighter level of understanding for your own unique growth?
Trying to achieve something out of our comfort zone can be a daunting task. Every excuse in the book comes up. But if we rise above, we can see the next step quite clearly. Often we need to pull out a whole new level of intensity from the depths of our being. And we need to let go of what pulls us downward or away from it. Working towards it without attachment to results. Being ok with rejection or failure is a great practice. Keep trying. Success of any kind may take some time, but it's well with the realm of possibility. But only if we immerse ourselves in it.
One step at a time ... arise. As Buddha said "Drop by drop the pot is filled".
The world around me is turning rapidly. So rapidly in fact that I'm having a tough time keeping up with all of the change and growth in my friends and family - never mind in myself. I'd like to take this opportunity to reach out to you ..who is going through difficult times, changing times, and let you know that you are not alone. Ever. Being alone is a choice you make.
Your life is a testament to what is important for you. No judgement on anyone's part can ever take that away from you. So go. Do it. Move with the mighty flow (the things we can't control), but guide yourself with your good choices - healthy choices. Healthy for your body, and healthy for your spirit. Life is brief. It passes quickly. Finding your balance is a challenge, but it can be done with patience and persistence. Find a practice that you enjoy that is a release of stuck energy - yoga, meditation, tai chi, dance, garden, run, sports, whatever...but keep it up regularly! Don't let anyone take that away from you. Adjust your sails as you age. That practice is your rock - your constant feed from the universal tap of energy and connectedness to your source.
I support women, especially. I support all. Forget about competition. This human experience is not an easy one. What makes it scary is the feeling of aloneness. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Crazy fears hold us back. But it's just a facade .. this thing we call fear. It is a veil of perception that can be removed with right practice, with trust, and with the support of those who truly care.
In buddhist tradition it is called Sangha, aka supportive community. The idea of sangha is something I feel our community needs more of. A few weeks back I attended a festival that I have attended for years - Harvest festival. At this event, for a weekend the festival goers share food, gifts, smiles, dances, and special moments together. People write in forums for weeks after an event like this about the incredible moments they had. They post pictures. They cherish them and look forward to planning the next one. People are hungry for community. And at the same time they run from it. Sometimes being a member in community means you must face your fears. This isn't easy. It brings up pain and hardship from the past. It forces us to grow. Sometimes we're not ready, and as a result instead of growing we throw insults to protect our wounds.
In the Hawaiian tradition there is a practice called ho'oponopono which includes atonement, forgiveness, sending love, and gratitude. The meditation operates on the main principle that you are responsible for everything that happens in your life, even when you are just a witness to it. Ho'ponopono is a mental cleansing to "put right" what is wrong. Taking yourself out of "blame" and simply taking accountability for all hardship. To correct, or make amends.
You reading this: I am truly sorry for all of the pain, hardship, and suffering you have endured.
I care, and I will support you every step of the way. I am not the only one. Are you ready to join this army of support? Male or female. We are One.
The practice of yoga postures is not about being able to "master" a pose, or movement. It's more about using the theory and postures in a way that aids in a far deeper understanding of ourselves, and our true nature. Yoga helps us to connect to our source, to ourself, and to all living things. <3
This coming fall Kim Vidya will be offering an 8-week journey into the deeper aspects of classical yoga, "The 8 Limbs of yoga."
Book your classes online: www.yoga-wellness.ca
I truly value a good attitude. It's always the productive attitudes that endure, and create a positive ripple effect on others. The right attitude can make or break our day!
Aversion allows for diversion. When we divert attention, we can never be whole. Being whole in each moment helps us to connect to our true nature, and to what truly matters.
The best way to cultivate a good attitude is to practice! Smile when you don't feel like smiling, give someone a compliment when you're feeling down. We can heal ourselves by uplifting others. Dig into the beauty that is this life!