I am a big believer in no presents policy. I believe I have everything I need, I need no more stuff in my life, and I don’t like the idea of the stressful search people seem to get themselves into trying to find something the birthday girl/boy will like+dont already have.
This year was a bit different because I gave myself a few presents-a few needed help from other people, and I actually asked for that help (very unlike me) but also let the helpers know that help is considered as my present.
I celebrated a special birthday this year, and I believe that the number made it more emotional and significant for me.
I mean- it’s not every day a woman turns 50.
I gave myself 4 presents- and in this post, I will share with you the first one:
a 10 day Vipassana course . here is a link if you are interested in reading about this wonderful technique that in my opinion shifts the responsibility for a person’s happiness -or sadly-sadness- back to the person itself, teaching him/her how to avoid feelings of anger, hatred, aversion- or on the other hand- how to maintain poise at life’s many cravings.
I spent 10 days in complete silence- obviously no electronic devices such as phones& laptops-Ipads-tv- were nonexistent, but even making eye contact or opening the door or saying “excuse me” to the other participants of the course was not allowed.
We got up every morning at 0400 ( no problem for me- this is my usual waking hour), and spent the rest of the day -untill 21:00, meditating -with a few hours of rest time, and a taped lecture of s.n. goenka in the evening.
The food was wonderful- vegan and simple-just the way I like it, I had a room only to myself- which considering the emotional turbulence I went through -was such a huge blessing. things just kept coming up and learning to deal with all the emotions without any distraction- at all- was difficult but rewarding.
I still have a long way to go, but the tools I got at this course were very powerful –for me. I believe the experience had such a huge effect on me because I let it . I simply put my cynicism and judgment aside for these 10 days-and gave all of myself to the experience. and it was amazing.
When leaving home I picked from the grass 3 fallen leaves from the ficus religiosa (bodhi tree) that was planted near the meditation hall, to remind me of the 3 main words that were repeated all the time- “aniche’-aniche’-aniche'”-everything is temporary- cravings-and aversions, joy and suffering. nothing stays the same, everything changes. all the time.
This was by far the most powerful birthday present I could give myself.
*by the way- the stay at the vipassana centers is based on donations given only when a student has completed his or her course, and you can give as much as you can-feel-want.