Experience the Ancient Technique of Vipassana Meditation
So you want to take a vacation, but you want it to be both meaningful and enjoyable. You can travel and see the world, but at the same time you can shift your perspective, relax, and learn.
A trip to Dharamsala, India sounds like an exotic trip that would introduce you to new cultures, ideas, and practices. Unfortunately, it might not be possible for you to make such a large trip. Some people don’t have the vacation time or money for such a trip. Other people worry about the carbon footprint they leave behind while travelling. No matter your reason for not travelling far during your vacations, it doesn’t mean you can’t experience other cultures.
There are many Buddhist centers in the United States that you can visit for many similar experiences of actually travelling to other countries.
The Vipassana 411
The origins of Vipassana, or “Insight Meditation”, are Buddhist. And is one of India’s most ancient practices. Vipassana courses are traditionally free, and participants are encouraged to make donation based on what they can afford. There are some Vipassana centers that take donations other than money, allowing guests and participants to volunteer their services by cleaning up after meals, serving food, or helping out around the center.
In the United States, the practice is taught at centers that offer tend day residential courses. Participants follow a Code of Discipline, where they wake up at dawn for a marathon of meditation sessions. They eat two simple, vegetarian meals during the day. While practicing Vipassana, participants abstain from sex, drugs, and alcohol. You also observe Noble Silence: no talking, gesturing, note-writing, or eye contact, for ten days. The evenings are spent listening to the teachings of the center’s meditation teachers, followed by an early bedtime.
This might not sound like the carefree vacation many people plan on taking, but it does offer you the opportunity to experience other cultures and traditions, while allowing time for spiritual growth.
Without having to travel all the way to India, you can experience this Buddhist practice within the United States. The experience is vigorous, but Vipassana offers rewards of the purification of body, mind, and spirit. You might find yourself better prepared to return to life and work after this kind of trip than you would running around theme parks.