The quieter you become the more you are able to hear”, so said the beloved medieval poet Rumi.
Born more than 8 centuries ago, Rumi, also known as Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, was a renowned Persian poet, theologian and scholar. His poems on love, loss, divinity and mystical spirituality continue to enthrall readers for their wisdom and simplicity. Unlike many contemporary writers and poets of his time who were influenced by the religion they were born into, Rumi chose to propagate a philosophy of human compassion and tolerance through his writing.
What makes his quote so profound is that it is yet another reminder to us that silence reveals far more than it hides. Interestingly, Rumi gives us a glimpse of the philosophy behind the ancient Vipassana meditation through the wisdom of his words.
Known to be one of the oldest of Buddhist meditation practices, the Vipassana meditation is a powerful tool to gain inner awareness of who we are. Though the complete step into this feeling of liberation is known to take years, its attainment is known to be an emergence from the illusion that masks the true reality of our existence. In simple terms, Vipassana can be described as a process towards the attainment of mindfulness. It’s achievement relies on listening to what is not known in obvious circumstances but through a training of our mind and exercises.Through this meditation, our five senses (vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste) are heightened. It is also a glimpse regarding the oblivion we cocoon ourselves in from truly paying attention to the fact that we pay little attention to the state of total awareness of our state and existence.
Vipassana Meditation affects our comprehension of life and our role in it – giving us a glimpse into “the insight into the nature of reality”, I came to know about Vipassana meditation through a dear friend of mine. A lady with immense ability and courage, knowing her as been a revelation to me. My initial meeting with her revealed little about her to me. Reserved, sharp and observant, she impressed me with her candid wit, warmth and sincerity. Having known Shobana since we had completed our Hypnotherapy Course together years ago, I was intrigued by her narration of her serene experience.
According to her, the silence that one endures in the process of Vipassana meditation is profound, not to mention the intensity of the experience. Her narration of the ten long days of silence she experienced appeared to someone like me an eternity. The individual undergoing this meditation program is expected to observe, respect silence and refrain from any kind of communication. The goal of this meditation is look beyond the physical and materialistic aspect of life and consider the true spiritual nature of existence. As an experience that seeks to elevate a person from negative emotions such as sadness, hurt and agony, Vipaasana seeks to nurture in us a positive and tranquil frame of mind. More importantly, it’s goal is focused on the promotion of mindfulness in us.
Originating from the Sanskrit language, ‘Vi’ stands for powerful and ‘Passana’ conveys ‘seeing’. With its aim on the elimination of emotional and physical attachments, the goal of the Vipassana meditation is to attain ‘nirvana’or freedom from any suffering and ultimately the emergence of wisdom. Observing our breathing while meditating and experiencing the awareness of our body and soul is known to be key to gaining enlightenment or salvation. Like in the case of any learning, there are changes expected to be made by the student. For eg: if we are to even start a new habit, we have to stop the undesirable mismanagement of our time in our day before we incorporate the desirable habit into our day. A person undergoing the Vipaasana meditation course makes various changes to the lifestyle, this primarily includes changes in their sleeping time, eating habits, cultivation of healthy lifestyle habits (yoga and exercise), disconnection with the world and those we know and diet restrictions.
For respecting, comprehending, appreciating and learning from silence, the process is long yet undoubtedly enlightening. Right from helping us relate to life, people, priorities, efficiency, creativity, understanding our mind and body better, any meditation is a gateway to the intrinsic awareness of who we are, what we are and what we can be. Vipassana meditation takes you a step closer to our understanding and acceptance of silence – the impermanence of life, acceptance and the universal truth in inevitability of change in our existence. Apart from all the mentioned benefits, we learn to become conscious of the importance of breathing right and with better awareness to our inhalation and exhalation.
Silence is indeed very different from what it may appear to be.
As a Latin proverb often remarked to convey that the serenity of appearance could be hiding an interior that possesses sheer movement and passion, “Still waters run deep”, can also be interpreted differently. Silence speaks volumes and has the immeasurable power to transform and be a catalyst of change.