Courtesy of blues4pablo

On my ten-day meditation retreat, I learned about Buddhist principles that relate to daily life and a spiritual path. I had learned about these principles many years ago, and more recently had revisited these concepts via the meditation retreat.

S.N. Goenka, a Buddhist teacher who teaches the Vipassana technique (via DVD and audio files at the meditation retreat; but died in 2013) stated that three things create ‘misery’ in your life. These include 1// Ignorance, 2/Craving/Attachment, and 3/Aversion.

1/ According to Buddhism, IGNORANCE is about the distortion of reality or living with illusions. You see things as you’d like them to be and tell yourself stories. These stories create fantasy. Until you become enlightened, you are somewhat ignorant of what is real or true in life. Your perspective can change via Vipassana so that the truth about people and life is realised.

IGNORANCE is about lack of wisdom, as along the Vipassana meditation path, you’ll develop wisdom and enlightenment. This is a lifelong process.

CRAVING creates misery when you identify with or attach yourself to a pleasant object or concept. Without it, you become miserable and might even commit bad actions simply to get your craving. You become highly emotional and overreact to the craving when you can’t have it. This lack of the pleasant experience might even lead to aggressive behaviour.

Are you attached to money, status or ambition? Are you attached to a person? Have you craved something so much that it’s caused an addiction to alcohol or drugs?

When you become attached or identify yourself with an object in the environment, you lose sight of reality.You try to control others. The attachment/craving controls your mind and your life, and most intensely, it‘s as if you’re possessed by a demon. Nothing else matters.

AVERSION means dislike. You don’t like unpleasant experiences, and when dislike is reinforced, this escalates to anger or hate. Aversion is about ‘hate’, and this can trigger harmful behaviours such as aggression or even murder. Alternatively, reacting less to unpleasant experiences means you detach and are not likely to commit hurtful acts.

In relation to AVERSION, you have the tendency to get rid of the unpleasant experience and believe that your attachment can make you happy when there is a chance it can lead to disappointment and pain. Hence attaching too closely to an unpleasant experience creates misery.

Another concept you need to understand is ‘impermanence’. This means that things in life constantly change. Without this understanding, you develop an aversion to life. Yet things in life come and go and never stay the same, so there’s no point attaching yourself to anything. If you are able to detach and realise that things are ever-changing, you won’t react to anything. This is not about lacking emotions or feelings. This is about having a balance of mind where you are not overly attached to anything, as attachment can lead to a chaotic and irrational mind.

Vipassana is also about love and compassion. It’s about helping others in service or volunteer work. It’s about giving yourself freely to someone without expecting anything in return. Love is about giving without an ulterior motive. You love freely and without expectations.

In the pre-Vipassana technique (meditation retreat), you are learning to focus your mind on your breathing by concentrating on the in breath and out breath via your nostrils. Then you move on by scanning your body to feel physical sensations with objectivity. You observe your physical sensations and don’t identify or react to them. You need a calm mind when exploring sensations in the body. In this way, you’ll learn to be less reactive to pain or stress within your environment. The technique teaches you discipline, concentration, and awareness/observation so that emotions become less intense in the way of craving and aversion.

For further details about the Vipassana technique and meditation retreat, go to http://www.dhamma.org.au/

For further details about my ten-day meditation retreat experience, go to http://holisticallylucy.com/journey-ten-day-meditation-retreat/