I sat like a statue; my eyes were closed and my legs were cross-folded. There was pin drop silence in the room. Along with 150 people sitting in the hall, my mind was chained to my nostrils and cautiously observed each and every breath. In the midst of this silence, suddenly the audio started to play, “Bhagato Sabba Mangalam” (May all beings be happy!) and repeated the phrase three times. Everybody bowed saying “Sadoo, Sadoo, Sadoo!” (We wish the same!). And the 1-hour meditation session ended.
This was the third day of a 10-day residential Vipassana meditation course. Vipassana, discovered by Gautam Buddha, is an ancient meditation technique which helps to practice objectivism. When I was nine years old my mother sent me to a 1-day Annapana meditation course, a small part of Vipassana, which taught me to focus my mind on my breath. After attending several 1-day and 3-day Annapana meditation courses, I took my first Vipassana meditation course at age 17 and it had a profound impact on me.
After practicing Annapana meditation for three days, I learned Vipassana on the fourth day of the course. Strenuously concentrating on my breath for three days made my mind sharp and on the fourth day, as instructed, I shifted my concentration from my breath to the top of my head with the goal to observe any sensations that came across on that region. Although, I barely felt anything at first, with continued concentration I felt some heaviness in that area. Then, shifting my concentration on other parts of my body piece by piece, I observed different sensations in those areas but objectively.
As I sat with my legs cross-folded, it would start to hurt but while concentrating on my legs I tried not to generate any feelings of aversion. I maintained a neutral perception with the understanding that this pain was temporary and loathing would only cause me misery. Throughout the meditation, I kept this understanding and maintained my neutrality.