© 2014 Kerala La Candeleda Meditation center

My second 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat: Did I survive?

After a year of having completed our first 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat in The Philippines, I’ve decided to take a second one, alone, in Europe. In fact, we were already “alone” during the first one, maybe not visually as we were physically in the same place, but we did it in practice… as we couldn’t communicate with each other according to the rules. But this time, I wanted to know that I was alone. As in the first one, in the difficult times I asked myself if David hadn’t been there I don’t know if I would have been able to stay and finish the course. And here I was a year later, repeating it! :) How things change!

Where I took the second meditation retreat. Spain.

Where I took the second meditation retreat. Panoramic view we had at the breaks. La Candeleda meditation center. Spain.

 

Ok. I confess. Before deciding to take a second course I had to find the courage to face it. 10 days without communication with anybody, either with the “outside” world, facing the silence, no books, no writing, no pictures, no mobiles phones or technology, nothing that distracts your mind, no meals after midday, waking up at 4 am, I repeat it: not being able to talk to anybody (!!!)…

As hard and scary that it may sound, it was a unique experience that left a (great & positive) footprint in ourselves. We learned a lot about how our thoughts are related with our body sensations, emotions & then our reactions to them. There has been no day after our first course where I haven´t reminded some learning from that retreat…

La Candeleda Meditation center

La Candeleda Meditation center

All these countless and valuable learnings, were my drivers to take a second course. And let’s say it: face your own fears and free yourself from them are one of the best gifts you can give to yourself & to the world!

So, on April 2014 after coming back from Panama and no job foreseen on the short term, I decided to attend a second 10-day course. This time, in La Candeleda, a tiny village surrounded by nature in Avila, near Madrid (Spain). There’s a (tiny big) thing you must now: for the “old students” (people who have already taken a 10-day Vipassana course), it’s not allowed to eat anything after midday (new students have a fruit at 17h, old students just a tea or lemon juice), which makes the 2nd course a little bit more difficult than the first one (I thought before start…).

La Candeleda Meditation center. The views we had during the breaks...

La Candeleda Meditation center. The views we had during the breaks…

 

But what a surprise this 2nd course… I didn’t want the course to finish! I wanted to stay there and continue meditating, enjoying the silent, the learnings… What a difference!

In my first course, I thought about quitting it several times, I cried, I felt peace, I felt anxious, I felt happy, I felt joy, I get bored… I felt all the range of positive and negative emotions like a hurricane, letting them affect how I felt and reacting to them. I was learning like an ant creates her own path :) A year later, after having practicing it continuously, I was amazed on how well I felt among all the 2nd course. I felt in peace, listening to my sensations, feelings and thoughts without letting them drive me. I felt an indescribable inner peace during all the days of the course, although the difficult times I was facing those months in the external world (real uncertain future, no job, no professional network in the new country and a long etc). I felt calm, peaceful, optimistic, positive, and felt the happiness within me. Equable to my emotions, maybe is the word. And what surprised me the most: I wasn’t hungry for dinner! I wasn’t desiring to eat when the mind says “it’s time to eat” after midday, I was accepting life just as it was, at that present moment, and being comfortable with that. I had no problem at all to sit 11h per day, meditating, some of them without moving on the entire hour. I didn’t see the time pass by. I was enjoying the silent, the fact of not speaking to anybody and not feeling forced to please anyone, just being focused on my sensations, something that was not easy for me at the first course… I was, in fact, enjoying the course! Going deeper and deeper everyday… Unpredictable! Not only I survived, but I loved it!

After a year and a half having taken the first 10-day Vipassana meditation course, and half a year of having taken the second one, considering that all these courses are for free (sorry guys, money is not an excuse to personal growth :) ), that the only thing that you need to do it is time and bravery (no meditation experience is needed), I highly recommend to each one of you to think about taking, why not, one 10-day Vipassana meditation course once in a life. As one friend told us, they are going to be, maybe, the 10 days best invested in your life. Just to be clear: it is not a sect. They are just trying to spread awareness and tools to make people live happier in this crazy world…

A summary of the main benefits to encourage you to consider it? Live happier than you have ever thought; live healthier not because you force yourself to do it or because your doctor told you so, but because you really feel it for yourself and you want to; live more aware of so many things I can not list…; choose your life with more self-confidence, as you are not being driven by your temporary emotions, sensations or thoughts; meet great people from around the world with diverse backgrounds; share your experience with people that will leave a footprint also in you… and a list of uncountable benefits! Want more? Learn more about these courses here.

Getting to know each other once the "silent" rule is broken (9 day of the course). Great moments and experiences shared!

Getting to know each other once the “silent” rule is broken (9 day of the course). Great moments and experiences shared!

 

Be happy guys! :)

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