Friends! I'm sharing my 10-day experience of living as a monk while taking a course of Vipassana.
What is Vipassana:
The core of this meditation technique is to focus your mind, to sharpen it and make it precise, to learn to monitor your body's involuntary reactions and observe them.

Metaphorically speaking you could compare what was happening to my mind to a magnifying glass I used to catch rays of sun with and do poker-work when I was little; something akin to it happens during a meditation, where the mind is rays of sun, and the meditation is a magnifying glass.

The technique was newly discovered by Buddha 2500 years ago; it's not about religion, there were Muslims, Buddhists, esoterics, Catholics, Atheists, Christians, astrophysicists and probably many more in the same room as us.
We had about 60 people who attended this course and came from all over the world: there were people from New Zealand, Belgium, France, Indonesia, Russia, Australia, Italy, Germany, India, Ukraine and many other countries. Unfortunately, not all of them managed to finish the course, it was really a hard brain work, some moments your head would turn into a cauldron on a slow fire, and yet you weren't allowed to even move when all you wanted was to escape.
Every day started with a sound of gong at 4 am, and before bedtime at 9 pm you'd have been through 11 hours of group meditations, and the rest of the time you'd meditate on your own, study the technique, communicate with the teacher, eat and rest a bit. Throughout the whole course you remain silent. You don't use your phone. You're not allowed to meet anyone's eyes. You eat vegetarian food: light breakfast in the morning, dinner at 11 am and only a small portion of fruits in the evening.
So why did I do that?
I heard and read good reviews, considered it an interesting experience and a trial of my abilities, important for further advancement in meditation, and attending a Vipassana course was also among my goals for a spiritual development this year.
The result:
3 decisions were made on starting activities that I kept putting off:
Share with others my groundwork for personal performance
write a post/article about the way I manage several business projects in different countries while living in Bali, to travel the world, in a month to have 39 training sessions (work out and surfing), to read 14 books, to have 25 English lessons, to implement 2 different habits, to read 110 articles/videos on self-education, to practice a new skill and to spare enough time for personal relationships and to be happy EVERY day. *
* the data is precise, rounded upward to whole numbers, as I keep about a dozen separate journals where I carry out the full analytics and record my life in all areas of activities. I averaged those for a month according to this year first 4 months' data.
Start researching for my book.
Try run a YouTube channel.
Also 1 idea for a new business and 7 new habits to implement:
Not to have expectations
To maintain a proper posture. Thanks to Marat Chasanov for a striking example of how you can do that
Not to involuntarily react to irritants, but to observe the changes
Things you react to with dislike, that breed disgust, and it, in turn, breeds suffering - you must monitor and consciously accept the way they are
To keep track of your own behavioral patterns, to record it and analyse for improvement
Not to give a negative judgment
To determine the triggers for undesirable patterns and record it for a later cross-flash
So I arrived to these conclusions by the end of the 8th day of Vipassana, and if anybody asked I would honestly say that is an interesting experience. By if they asked what would be more valuable to me - 10 days of my daily life or this experience - I would say that I could spend my 10 usual days with more benefit than going through with Vipassana and I wouldn't recommend this course to anyone. HOWEVER at that moment I didn't know what would happen to me tomorrow, something that would radically change my attitude to this wonderful technique.
It would make more sense if I started with a backstory. At this point in life I've got only several unsolved issues that are bothering me; perhaps it's because I don't realise all of them, or because I work very hard on determining and uprooting these issues and bettering myself as a person.

Lately one of those was my reaction to conflict, on the edge of violence. I'm usually a very calm and balanced person, but in 18 months on Bali there were 7 such situations, that were on edge, and I felt that it was accumulating and not going away, that there were unpleasant thoughts left after these events and I kept replaying my negative emotions for some time.
I usually work well with negative feelings and am able to change them or keep them away, but in situations such as those I wasn't, and it was bothering me a little.
So now I'll pass on to describing the way how the jigsaw puzzle of solution came to be in my head. At first, as it is with any jigsaw puzzle, I made a frame: when on the first days of Vipassana these negative emotions emerged from within. On the next stage I already had lots of assembled puzzle pieces, and I woke up in the middle of the 4th night and suddenly started recollecting all the similar situations in my lifetime and couldn't sleep, and kept replaying this movie over and over in my head. Once I thought it over and couldn't find any radical solution, I fell asleep. The next stage when I almost had the full puzzle assembled was on the 8th day when we were listening to some parables in the evening, one of those was:
Once several people started to insult Buddha.
While listening he stayed silent and very calm, so they became uneasy. One of those people addressed Buddha:
"Aren't you hurt by our words?!"
"It's your decision whether to insult me or not," Buddha replied. "Mine is whether to accept your insults or not. I refuse to accept them. You can keep them."
One of his students asked Buddha:
"So what am I to do if somebody hits me?"
Buddha replied:
"If a dead branch falls from a tree and hits you, what will you do?"
The student said:
"Nothing! It's only an accident, a mere coincidence that I was under a tree when a branch happened to fall from it."
Buddha said:
"So do the same. Somebody was mad and in his anger they hit you. It's just the same as a branch falling on you from a tree. Don't let it trouble you and go on your way as if nothing happened."
At that point when I went to bed something in my head already started to change. So the next day, the 9th day, during a morning meditation the final pieces of the puzzle completed the picture and once I saw the full picture I had an epiphany, the one that had all the hallmarks from the stories of enlightenment: white light before my eyes, joy and overflowing happiness from the realisation of the simple answer: "Love and compassion." And I reconsidered all these situations at once, with a whole new attitude and sense, and I felt so well and nice - if other people weren't sitting with their eyes closed, they would surely see me shining from the inside. I decided to dedicate a day and meet all the people I can from there and thank them and to give them a piece of my favourite cake that they make in Canggu.
And what can I say about Vipassana on my 9th day? I can say, judging from my experience, that Vipassana is, in one word - "Wow!", and that I will definitely recommend it and will take another course in India or Tibet.
My mistakes and what I plan to do next time instead:
I will use the time 4:00-4:30 in the morning to meditate in my room. I also calculated that after a meal, when you can rest or discuss something with a teacher, there are 2 hours and 10 min you can use for practice, which comprises 21 hour and 50 min a course.

Talk to a teacher and ask questions. I mistakenly decided not to talk for 10 days at all, and if I asked questions the result would probably be even better. I was thinking this way: they're explaining it clearly anyway, the rest is practice, and that's it. If you have questions, the answers must be inside.

To practice in a more strict manner, not letting myself start fantasising again or thinking about something unrelated to the technique.

Not to exit the hall during a meditation. Not to open my eyes. If there are strong distractions or a headache I would simply concentrate on my breathing. Not to explore the place, but to concentrate on the practice. To concentrate during meals, to eat slowly, and while walking.

I want to thank Buddha for this technique, Goenka for making all of this possible, the teacher from my practice, his acolytes and Roza Rafikova, Elise Ayeh, Ihor Dot, Anna Amurova, Marat Chasanov, Eva Sion, Gregory Kireev, Mayya Vishnyakova, Rissa Egitia, Sarah-Jayne Lee, Krishna Chieppa, Juju Oceanic Mélot, Tomas WV, Elena Timofeeva, Lui Bross, Ela Fantessa, Anna Lozhkina, Aleksandra Denic, Misa Kalinova, Daniel Afreelancehuman Cosmic, Jamie Tumanako Pene-Gestro, Daryala Nill, Philip Korenevski, Nikolay Onufrienko and everyone who shared this experience with me.
I write this to share and even if one person decides to take Vipassana and it will make their life better, the goal of this post will be fulfilled. And I, in turn, ask you to follow the principle of "Pay it Forward".
Peace and love to all living creatures.
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Felix Demin
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