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Vipassana Experience Day 6: Strong Determination

Day 6. Finally, we have crossed the halfway mark. As I tried to recall my daily happenings at the 10-day Vipassana course and put into coherent thoughts here, it occurred to me how challenging it is to re-live the silent meditation period, perhaps more so than when I was in the camp. This is because the memories are blurred, from minutes into hours and days. I imagined readers that have been following my Vipassana ramblings to be on the same arduous journey.

To see things through to completion, strong determination is required. In life, we are often subject to difficult processes over and over again. In order to surpass these challenges, strong determination is required. Hence, I will try my best to recount my experience and learnings. At the same time, please bear with me and hopefully, you can accompany me till the end.

Adhitthana (in Pali language): strong determination

There was a notice board outside the dining hall that advised the daily schedules and important notes. On this day, we learnt a new word: Adhitthana. It is time to set the mind to work, and apply strong determination to refrain from moving, changing position or opening the eyes during the meditation period. Of course, if one really needs to move, you can do so slowly and consciously.



“The entire universe exists for a person only when he or she experiences it, that is, when a sensory object comes into contact with one of the sense doors… … Sensation is the forgotten missing link between the external object and the reaction. The entire process occurs so rapidly that one is unaware of it: by the time a reaction reaches the conscious level, it has been repeated and intensified trillions of times, and has become so strong that it can easily overpower the mind.” – S.N. Goenka  

Without pondering on whether I could do it or not, I resolved to do my best. I found myself becoming aware of heat sensations that I previously was obtuse to. Could this be a result of the meditation or was it the untimely women’s problem? I realised that specific parts and joints were emitting greater heat. Cold showers before the meditation sessions became a routine that helped me to focus better. I have also requested for a back rest/seat support, and that was really useful since I was trying to battle with stomach cramps.  

The day before, the teacher mentioned: pain is a combination of heat and pressure, and like all matters in the universe, it is ever-changing. I have never thought of pain that way before, and knowing its true nature made it easier to observe the sensations with equanimity. Another memory has surfaced:

I was transported back to my first visit at Tonga 4 years ago. It was my last day on the charming South Pacific island, and I was returning to my room at Dayspring Lodge. There was a piece of note on the floor. It was from my new friend whom accompanied me on a morning walk. As I read the note, tingling sensations started to arise. I was brought back to the present, the fond memory of my dearest friend lingering while I experienced the vibrations that captured my attention. Woah!

I tried to stay calm. I wondered why that particular memory that I have not thought about since it happened would cause me to feel what I was feeling. One thought led to another, and it was not long before I stumbled out of the meditation hall for a breather. The migraine was back, but that did not stop me from noticing how everything appeared to be more vivid.

Vivid awareness

The bushes of green illuminated in the afternoon sun looked brighter than ever, and the fresh air! Making my way to the public toilet, I stepped cautiously to avoid stepping on the trails of ants transporting the dead moth. One of the precepts was to avoid killing. The head was starting to clear, as questions faded to the back of my mind.

A butterfly has caught my attention. With its dull colouring, one may not give it much notice but I was captivated as it fluttered from flower to flower. I realised that one side of its wings was missing, yet the butterfly flew with such purpose, stopping at times to enjoy the nectar. The beauty of the scene struck me, and I wondered ‘is this a sign’? Even a butterfly with a broken wing lives its life so earnestly; this world is so filled with beauty! The beauty was strangely overwhelming and I could feel fizzy pulses from the heart.  

No matter the difficulties in one’s life, no matter the arduous processes, no matter how many times you need to start over, endure. Stay determined and true to yourself, and your dreams.   

[To be continued]

If you have enjoyed the above article, please stay tuned for more as I will be sharing a series of my daily thoughts on the 10-day Vipassana meditation at Dhamma Malaya Center along with some useful tips to know before going. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment. Peace, harmony and happiness to all! 

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