Over the years, I’ve done several 10-day vipassana meditation courses. I can recommend them very highly for the fact that they are conducted in silence, and usually in a quiet rural setting.
The downside of hanging out in a silent environment is that for me the noisiness of my mind (citta vrtti) becomes amplified. Eventually, my mind will get quiet but sometimes not without a struggle.
I remember the vipassana facilitator in the nightly dharma talks discussing what happens when we slow down, and, at the same time, outside stimuli are severely reduced. We have the potential then to observe sensations in the very moment they arise and pass away.
Ordinarily, as soon as we humans perceive something, we begin to interpret, make associations, judge and evaluate and so on, and then, of course, we are no longer with the sensation.
We were told that sensations are really like a shower of micro moment events, and meditation trains us to watch one phenomenon succeed another without getting caught up in the musings.
Well, I still haven’t developed the steadiness of attention to minutely observe fleeting sensations, but just the effort I put into doing this, in savasana, pranayama and meditation, is calming and peace-inducing. So, I keep striving and that is enough.
Visayavati va pravrttirutpanna mansah sthitinibandhini
By regular enquiry into the role of the senses we can reduce mental distortions.*
*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V.Desikachar