4th Vipassana Sit Lessons & Behavior Changes

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Disclaimer: I don't know what I don't know. 

It was day 7, noble silence was about to be lifted the very next morning & my mind was going nuts. It was about to end and I was ready to break the rules so I grabbed a notebook, a pencil and asked myself "What did I learn & How will my behavior change?". 

The following is a list of the lesson I learned and How I am aiming to integrate these lessons into my daily life. 


1. Equanimity lies in a "Higher Order" than any sensual pleasure.

This insight is so deep and so radical that I cannot even fully accept it as I am typing this. What I am saying is that if you develop and maintain the equanimity to anything "Evil" like torture, depression, genocide, or the murder of your daughter beats the gratification derived from experiencing anything "Good".

What can I do?  I am the very mechanism which reacts.

Equanimity & Awareness is prior to behavior. 


2. Surrender to the fact that I don't know what I don't know.

Speculating is a subtle addiction of mine. This habit so sneaky and painful to admit because it fuels most of my other habits and behaviors. 

I had crystallized a habit of speculating during my meditation sits. Constantly imagining up arbitrary thoughts like "that guy farted 20 minutes ago, and the teacher coughed 40 minutes ago, so there is only 15 minute remaining". Imagine doing this again and again and again during my meditation sits which prevented me from really soaking in and surrendering to the fact that I don't know. 

This addiction permeates through out my life at very subtle levels. If I were to re read this post after I am done, I would discover many instances of speculation which in itself is a speculation. There's layers to this shit.

An Immediate behavior change is that i have began to say "I don't know" and let go whenever my mind begins to speculate during meditation. Also I can foresee that contemplating "what is speculation?" will help me navigate and differentiate the instances when speculation is helping me and when its harming me. 


3. Ultimatums are very deceptive. 

One of my major self sabotaging behavior is to react unconsciously with the intention of compensating later. "Lemme pig out, I'll fast tomorrow" occurs very frequently. This behavior of creating but not fulfilling ultimatums contributes  to the very root of my major misery which is my toxic relationship with food. During the breakfast / lunch period at the retreat, although I was quiet aware that a full stomach leads to weaker meditation sessions, I leaned towards being indulgent. It was a rude awakening to realize that even at a setting where I signed up to maintain awareness & equanimity, I was unable to do so. 

Slow conscious change of contents has slowly made changes to the structure. I've been swinging in a pendulum of extremes, fasting for days, overeating for days, being a food cop, then recklessly giving into backlashes. It is because of my tendency to lean into extremes, I adapted a habit of generating ultimatums because If I didn't do so, I would face many instances of death which I couldn't have handled.

Behavior Change = Wear a rubber band and every time I see it, remember to remember this insight. 


4. Cooked Food = Blockages in Body & Increased Sleep Quota

Especially wrong Food Combinations and Toxic Ingredients

Ultimatums and pendulum swings have helped me in one way and that is to make new discoveries through experimentation. From being a person whose diet consisted of only meat, dairy, egg, and potatoes for 17 years of my life, a few deep psychedelic trips lead to making an instantaneous change. I went from a person who told vegans to "eat a steak" to becoming a full fledged ideological vegan myself. 

For the last few months, I've been experimenting with Sadhguru's advice that it is possible to reduce sleep quota to 3-4 hours with a simple switch to a diet. I started to eat mostly raw foods with the intention to sleep quota so I can supercharge my life purpose. For a little more than a month, I had managed to reduce my sleep quota to 4-5 hours by simply following this advice. I abstained from garlic, onion, tomatoes, potatoes as these foods are known to increase inertia and lethargy in the body. 

Through my direct experience, I verified this during my time at Vipassana. A sudden change to my diet occurred when I entered Vipassana. 100% of calories were coming from cooked food, unsuitable food combinations and questionable ingredients. From the very first day, my sleep quota increased to 7 hours even though my activities were static. My digestion was shit for the whole week, I am pretty sure I have at least 5-6 meals I ate which has still not come out and I feel many blockages within my body which has greatly affect my energy levels and clarity of my mind.

Even though I realize this, I have already decided to give an ultimatum of starting a 30 day juice fast in the beginning of January and until then I will allow myself cooked food. 

The change here is simple, I will return to the regime that I was following before Vipassana after my solid food vacation in December. It is not what I eat... why I eat seems to be my major problem. 


5. I do not experience Hunger

I only experience real hunger when I am fasting and even then it passes so quick that I eventually feel satiated without having to eat. I acknowledge that my desire to eat is solely for pleasure and taste although I have sneaky mechanisms to fuel my eating disorder that tell me to "eat enough calories" & that "I might not have energy tomorrow".

A radical behavior change for me would be to eat only when I am hungry which would require me to be very mindful and honest about my energy levels and hunger. 

Overall my food habits have to be reconciled with my budget, my energy expenditures, and a regime that works best for me. 


6. Praying before eating is good practice

Throughout my days at vipassana, I discovered that a moment of closing my eyes and verbalizing compassion and gratitude before taking my first bite helped in subtle ways. I managed to do a bit of prayer before every meal at the retreat center, with the intention that I will continue to do the same before every meal however after having come home from the retreat, I have begun to forget, especially when I am reacting to cravings. 

I am continuing to make an effort to spend a minute or two closing my eyes and practice compassion and gratitude as this has helped my relationship with food in very subtle ways.


7. Time is imagination

After surrendering the fact that I don't know how much time has passed or is remaining, I glimpsed a few instances where I was fully present and the concept of time was completely absent. Having experienced this, the moment I started thinking about time, I was aware that I am imagining it and this imagination is relative to the reactive / materialist paradigm. 

This truth has permeated throughout my life, especially after reading "the big leap" where Gay Hendricks talks about time as something that is created rather than something that is inherent to reality. I am conscious that I am not a victim to time and that I create time so its not that the alarm clock will ring in time and space but I will imagine the alarm clock ringing within time and space.

My behavior has already begun to change, my vocabulary doesn't consist of saying "I don't have time" but recontextualized into saying "I will not create time for that".


8. Maintaining Awareness after a sit is difficult

This one was very counter intuitive. You might assume that after an hour of mindfulness would permeate to the moments after the sit however I realized that the moments after my sit, I was agitated & reactive. Although this is not an ‘every time’ thing because I do have some sessions where I am left with a serene presence but in a retreat session, I seem to react with unconsciousness. 

I have started to set a few moments aside after the alarm rings to just chill & soak in the accumulated presence instead of reacting unconsciously and moving onto the next worldly activity.


9. Looking down while walking helps with mindfulness

This one came full circle. Previously, I would walk looking at the ground because I couldn’t summon up enough self esteem to walk with my chest high up. In the last year, after having done a lot purification work and practice self love, I finally learned to walk with my chest up, looking forward. 

I have resorted once again to looking down 4 steps ahead of me when walking as it has made me realize that I am more present. This switch has been liberating because neither I ever liked having to say hi to everyone I make eye contact with, nor there is anything I am going to miss out on by frivolously looking around. 

10. Going to sleep with Awareness = Waking up with awareness

Goenka puts a great emphasis on maintaining awareness of bodily sensations ALL THE TIME. I have a hard time believing that I will reach a state where I will be able to maintain mindfulness 24/7 even when sleeping. 

A famous quote which fascinates me goes something like this: “When the world sleeps, the yogi is wide awake”. Not that the yogi doesn’t need rest but that he is mindful when resting. 

To reach the stage where I am mindful 24/7, I make a conscious effort to observe bodily sensations right before going to sleep which has resulted in me waking up in the morning aware of bodily sensations. I’ve also had instances while asleep where I am aware of sensations on my body.


11. Bad Habits are very apparent in a retreat setting

This reminds me of the video from Leo called “Awareness alone is curative”  and during the 7 days, I summoned up enough awareness to recognize immediately the unconscious patterns that are fueling my bad habits. My tendency to look at the mirror in complete “unknowingness” and doubt of whether I am attractive to others or not & my subtle habit of rolling in thoughts about food were revealed at a very surreal level. I became conscious of the very thought / energy pattern that sparked and perpetuated this unconscious behavior.

Having articulated this phenomenon, I now immediately realize when I am fueling these patterns. I catch myself looking in the mirror for no reason and it is very humbling because here I am thinking of myself as a noble selfless person but I seem to care so damn much about my physical appearance. Same with food, I like to think and project myself as a healthy person but deeper lies a great deception.  


12. Dreams seem to be conscious choices

It is becoming very apparent to me that I am the one who is in control of my dreams. Not in the sense that I am always lucid dreaming but that it is I who makes choices within dreams. I’ve had many dreams where I can recall having make conscious choices and decisions. The choices I previously made and still make within dreams are mostly fueled by unconsciousness but I am beginning to have dreams where I choose to make better choices that are aligned with my values. 


13. Vibes Matter

Having entered the world of spirituality, it was very easy for me to buy into the idea of energy, vibrations, frequencies, etc. without actually having experienced it. Although I experienced such phenomena at very subtle levels, for example, I knew people emit positive vibes and negative  vibes and that the vibe of a night club is different than the vibe of a funeral however there was never a point in my life where I could tangibly pinpoint these phenomenon.

This vipassana sit really got me in touch with the experience of positive vibrations. Moments where I tangibly experienced good vibrations was when I was meditating in my pagoda cell (a small dark room for meditation). I could distinguish a different energy surround me when meditating in the cell in contrast to meditating in the hall with others. A pagoda cell is supposed to deepen one’s meditation by amplifying positive vibes and although I previously believed that this was true, I now have a direct experience that vibrations are certainly a thing. 

I have begun to take note of what vibrations are and how they work in my own daily life. For example, it is very clear to me the vibrations I emit and how it affects my surroundings and also how my surroundings interacts with my being. One of my mentors always mentions that meditating at night is less conducive because the whole city is emitting lower consciousness vibrations and that morning meditation is superior because there is less negativity in the mornings. I get the sense that this is true through direct experience


14. Sitting with the base of spine erect = concentration. 

Pretty self explanatory. I discovered that all the times I’ve spent leaning my back against something and avoiding the pain and suffering that initially comes with sitting for an hour without resting my back lead me towards inertia and drowsiness during my meditation. I had developed a habit of maximizing comfort as an escape from pain and suffering of strong determination meditation sits (it never worked). 

It is critical that the base of my spine is erect as it leads to a deeper session. I am still struggling to maintain an erect back because I’ve only recently let go of the habit of having to use a back rest however I can foresee that in a few months, my posture will be awesome. 


15. Empty stomach meditation hits harder

It is a blessing in disguise that they only provide 2 meals at the retreat centers. Food is a culprit if your aim is to have deeper meditation sessions. It is absolutely necessary to eat a reasonable amount and always have a part of your stomach empty so you’re not bombarded with lethargy and drowsiness. Many of the students including myself tended to over indulge, especially because the only source of instant gratification throughout the day was breakfast and lunch.

I am using the “awareness is curative” approach to resolving my tendency to eat a lot. During meditation, it is very clear when I ate more than I needed to due to the pain and suffering I feel. I am definitely getting better and this issue is bound to be cured if I keep walking this path of awareness.  


16. This work is not for the faint hearts

This one is mere speculation because I am not faint hearted but I cannot imagine that people would be able to go through the pain and suffering consciously with the aim of developing oneself. It seems to be very easy for people to rationalize their way out of difficult situations so the mind will have 101 deception mechanism up its sleeve to never actually surrender to this work.

If you are doing this work, I salute you, I appreciate you, and I love you.

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Very relatable I enjoyed the read. I'm going to my 6th sit in a few weeks. It's different every time, yet it's the same same.


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@Vipassana Great stuff. Love your no-BS attitude. Keep at it.

Might want to start Kriya yoga.

You are God. You are Truth. You are Love. You are Infinity.

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On 03/12/2019 at 4:11 PM, Vipassana said:

It is not what I eat... why I eat seems to be my major problem.

I had this insight today - there is not "right" way to eat, hence why different people eat different things, "thriving" is relative. However when I drink an orange juice for the sweetness and the cool, refreshing sensation on my tongue, I undermine my primary intention of prosperity, an intention that could go without such pleasures.


Thank you for sharing brother!

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On 3.12.2019 at 6:11 AM, Vipassana said:

1. Equanimity lies in a "Higher Order" than any sensual pleasure.

This insight is so deep and so radical that I cannot even fully accept it as I am typing this. What I am saying is that if you develop and maintain the equanimity to anything "Evil" like torture, depression, genocide, or the murder of your daughter beats the gratification derived from experiencing anything "Good".

What can I do?  I am the very mechanism which reacts.

Equanimity & Awareness is prior to behavior. 

Could you explain what you meant by this? I did not quite understand.. 

And great insights, thanks for sharing! 

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@Pilgrim You reach a 'stage' by meditating a lot where you begin to develop whats called "equanimity". I don't know how to further explain this concept because it is rather experiential but the dictionary definition is "mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.".

You have to understand through direct experience is that your mind is very reactive. Next time you experience an itch, witness how quickly your reflexes arise in order to itch that itch. You will only realize that you've reacted after you have reacted. You have to peel layers upon layers to acknowledge your tendencies to react to various situations in life, from the macro to the micro levels. 

The thing with equanimity is that it lies prior to reaction and goes hand in hand with awareness. You develop mastery over your direct experience. Detachment becomes your true nature. 

Because Language is inherently dualisitc, I have to make further dualities to elaborate on what I mean by detachment but if you understand this concept of detachment then you will understand what my insight was. 

Detachment is defined as the "state of being objective or aloof".

Acknowledge that within your own life, the past has failed to make you truly happy in life and that the future is just imagination. No matter what experience you have experienced or will experience, You have not and will not be able to sustain a constant 'climax'... unless...  You are equanimous. A highly developed equanimity is such a radical state of being that every moment you are completely detached. No matter how pleasant or unpleasant an experience is, you will be able to sustain an indifferent awareness of the present moment. 

The very core of my insight was that, no matter if I shoot heroin up my ass or get gas chambered by Hitler, my current mind will react with unconsciousness which essentially means misery. It is by developing awareness and equanimity, I will be able to sustain a 'constant climax' although this 'climax' is rather non climatic, it is merely awareness of the present moment... as it is. 

Being equanimous to torture, genocide, rape, or the murder of my daughter undermines ANYTHING "good" I experience with my conventional unconsciousness. 


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On 03/12/2019 at 2:11 AM, Vipassana said:

I started to eat mostly raw foods

Nice work bro!

Could you elaborate on "raw foods"? I'm thinking of doing the same thing but could you be even more specific? Like breakfast, lunch and dinner or whatever eating schedule you followed(if there was one). If you have any external resources to share on the matter I'd be thankful.

Edited by Espaim

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4 hours ago, Espaim said:

Could you elaborate on "raw foods"?

thank you for your interest!

When I say raw foods, I mean anything that hasn't been processed or cooked. Some of my staple foods are bananas, dates, strawberries, mangoes, oranges, avocados, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, oils & sprouts. 

The thing with raw foods is that they require less energy to be digested by the body than most cooked food thus saving you a great deal of energy. This is because many foods come along with the enzymes needed for your body to break them down. However If you're aroused to follow a raw diet then its very important to do it properly!

I do incorporate some cooked foods into my diet. Mostly I consume a multi grain porridge which is basically baby food. I love the way it makes me feel and it doesn't demand much energy to be assimilated by my body.

4 hours ago, Espaim said:

eating schedule you follow

My eating schedule is all over the place. Fasting is a huge part of my life and I tend to fast everyday so I have yet to find a fixed eating schedule. Currently, I am inclined to eat mono fruit meals for breakfast & end my day with a multi grain porridge.

I would recommend you eat your fruits in the morning, heavier foods such as nuts, seeds, & fats in the afternoon and end your day with a light meal. Your evenings will begin to become more productive as you leave your stomach partially empty. 

I am still struggling with all this. I have a terrible habit of over eating and giving into cravings but I am carving my way out of it. Raw foods has been of great help. I also just ended a 26 days long juice feast. A lot of fecal matter exited my colon, I was having bowel movements after 25 days of not eating anything! Now my digestion has gotten better and what I eat doesn't take long to exit my system which means that the foods are being digested properly.

There are so many resources but I've found John Rose on youtube to be most insightful & practical. Although he's a little ideological about his approach to diet, it makes a lot of sense and people seem to be thriving. 

I would strongly encourage you to take a break from solid foods for a while so you can experience some of the things people commonly experience.


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@Vipassana Thanks for your advice.

I'll watch more videos on the topic and plan my meals accordingly.

Considering my financial conditions I'll probably need to adapt some of the principles but nothing too big.

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