My Vipassana Meditation Retreat Experience

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vipassana-buddhaIn September 2016, I spontaneously decided to attend a Vipassana meditation retreat in the midst of some personal, spiritual, and professional turmoil. I was under the most stress and pressure I’d ever experienced and had been for the last 6-8 months. My agent dropped my contract the day before I left, and I had just come to the realization that dreams don’t exist. We moved out to LA and sacrificed everything (savings, marriage, time, etc.) to follow a “dream” I had since I was a child. However, when we begin to live more consciously, everything seems to be directly linked to liberation and freedom. We live in a slave system, and it isn’t natural to work 40 hours a week to earn hourly wages to pay for necessities the Earth has provided. Money began to seem like a huge burden because I was going to have to earn it by either being exploited or exploiting others. I hadn’t had health care in 2 years and was ready to fully unplug, with hopes of finding a solution for the deep hole I had dug myself into. There are far too few wise elders in my life, as most have been brainwashed by this Matrix we live in. So I quit life for ten days.

MY EXPERIENCE

I was inclined to try this technique because the Buddha’s teaching is not religious. According to him, you have to work out your salvation; he can only show you the path. I am not religious and am very skeptical of any sectarian philosophy, but Vipassana technique is for anyone, anywhere, of any religious background. I also liked that it was completely free, they don’t accept money from wealthy benefactors, and are anti-capitalism. The staff/teachers are volunteers, and the students can attend as many retreats as they want which are entirely funded by past students. Once you become a past student they invite you to donate by setting up a discrete table in the corner of the dining hall on the last day – no buckets are passed around, and there are no promises of salvation after you die.

During the course, we followed a rigorous schedule for ten days, waking up at 4 am and meditating for 6-10 hours a day. Men and women were segregated. The management, kitchen staff, teachers, and coordinators were all volunteers, but they took their jobs very seriously. If you were five minutes late to the group meditation sessions, the management would come knocking on your door. At the same time, I felt the desire to abide by their strict rules because I felt very lucky to have the opportunity. The time and money of others, strangers at that, was paying for my liberation – with no strings attached. Everyone was incredibly kind, patient, and understanding, so I felt obliged to follow the rules and adhere to the course guidelines as closely as possible. We observed “noble silence” which kept us from making as much as eye contact with fellow students and watched nightly lectures by the founder of the Vipassana centers, G.N. Goenka.

Before the course began we had to agree to follow five precepts:
No killing
No lying
No stealing
No sexual intercourse
No intoxicants

Sounds easy, right? I spent eight days following the precepts perfectly. I didn’t have any sexual thoughts, didn’t steal anyone’s ponytail holders, and even rescued a frantic ant from the cafeteria. That was until the ninth day rolled around, and I killed a gnat without thinking. We also weren’t allowed to read, write, sing, exercise, eat snacks or outside food, use scented lotions or hair products, wear tight fitting clothes, and we couldn’t communicate with other students, members of the opposite sex, or outside friends/family.

VIPASSANA CALIFORNIA VS ELSEWHERE

The campus I attended was the center in Twentynine Palms, CA, about three hours outsvipassana-globalhqide of Los Angeles. It was close to a major road, but far from the hustle and bustle of the city. The climate was hot & dry, but the facility had everything you needed: vipassana, California style. The dorms had air conditioning, heat, the food was high quality and DELICIOUS, the restrooms were immaculate, and I felt protected from any source of danger. They provided extra lotion, tissues, tampons, cough drops, and pretty much anything else you may need. I think the most incredible part of the campus was watching the sunrise and set, and star-gazing at nighttime.

A very cool part of taking Vipassana, California style, was that nobody judges or defiles anyone else’s spiritual beliefs. In my home state of Missouri, if you’re not a Christian, it’d be a mistake to attend a Christian church to observe their beliefs. If people know you’re not a member, they’ll stare, say nasty things, and may even get you kicked out. There were students from Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim backgrounds, Indigos, Starseeds, Monks, Wiccans, and Atheists. And it made no difference. After we had broken silence, I talked about cannabis, DMT, & psychedelics with one group and Jesus with another.

Throughout the Vipassana meditation retreat, there were very few distractions. Without highways, loud generators, multi-story buildings, Facebook, Instagram, wifi, chemical food, fluoridated water, music, weed, alcohol, noisy neighbors, crystals, books, nobody to laugh with, work, pets, or bills, I got to chill with my thoughts. I didn’t realize how sabotaging “real life” was until I struggled to readjust after the course ended. The transformation you can go through in ten days is mind blowing, especially without major distractions.

THE TEACHING

vipassana-goenkaAttachment breeds misery. Because of ignorance, we react to sensations and our unconscious thoughts. This generates either cravings and aversions. These cravings manifest as an attachment to a particular material thing, outcome, or experience. Fully understanding a sensation, as it is and not as you want it to be, puts an end to craving and aversion. We observed the arising and passing away of sensation, the relishing of them, the danger, and their fading away at an experiential level.

I learned that the immediate cause of suffering and desire is not outside but in my mind. Suffering, at the root, is a substanceless sensation. I only respond based on past experiences, emotions, beliefs, and programs. Vipassana technique is about learning to deal with the inner reality of a sensation. The wisdom of impermanence must be understood and experienced to liberate ourselves from misery. Equanimity between good and bad sensations is the key.

There are four stages in the habit pattern of the mind: cognizing, recognizing, feeling, and reacting. An example, you observe the sensation of a mosquito biting you (cognizing), you realize mosquitos have bitten you before (recognizing), so you begin to feel annoyed and angry (feeling), and you react by smacking your arm, and killing the mosquito before it can fly away (reacting).

The mind is always reacting to unconscious sensations on the body: pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral. The habit pattern of the mind is to react rather than observe. Vipassana technique teaches us to quiet the mind to see even the subtlest sensation. You change the habit pattern by realizing the entire physical structure of the mind & body is constantly evolving. Life itself is a process of growing, dying, arising & passing away. There’s no meaning or purpose in generating aversion toward something you don’t prefer because misery is inevitable, but it is also impermanent.

POST VIPASSANA MEDITATION RETREAT

I was so excited to reunite with my family after such a transformational experience and can see things from a perspective I never had before. I lost 8 lbs at the retreat, proving a mental workout may be more intense than a physical workout. I also became adverse to eating some foods like chocolate and oil (I used to fry everything). My relationship is much more peaceful and tranquil. I don’t interrupt my husband by prioritizing my agenda/thoughts over his like I used to.

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I have to admit I feel a little uneasy. The amount of distraction we deal with is insane. The societal obstruction of personal space is constant. I’ve heard about the effects of wifi, stress, and sitting at a desk all day. But it’s different when you step away long enough to experience them. Readjusting feels like getting into an ice bath after running a marathon. A necessary, but painful experience. It’s forcing me to put my newfound discipline and awareness to the test. But I learned to be equanimous and experienced how everything is always changing. Because of this newfound wisdom, I feel a sense of well-being.

Getting away from all the pollution and stress allowed my mind and body to heal. When I first moved to LA, I was overcome with blackheads and a lot of my hair fell out. An unexpected benefit of doing vipassana California style is that my skin has cleared up. I also made a conscious effort to feel gratitude during the rigorous retreat, and I’m glad now that it’s over. I would never insist on someone attending a Vipassana retreat. However, I am now an Evangelist. A desire for liberation has to be strong enough to will yourself to complete the course and follow the guidelines. I realize not everyone is ready for that. I’ll do it again – maybe even once a year.

Click Here to Attend a FREE 10-Day Vipassana Retreat

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Deprogramming and Depersonalization Cure / Derealization Cure

There are tons of people researching Deprogramming or searching for a Depersonalization Cure / Derealization Cure. I firmly believe anxiety – as well as stress, and other illnesses created through our perception – are the physical manifestation of something far more spiritual, and other-worldly. If you’ve found this article, you’re well into your journey toward ascension and enlightenment. I’d like to present a theory and personal case study that might answer some of your most pressing questions. Try to have an objective, open-minded opinion – as this is a very esoteric, high level, yet important concept.

The Holy Trinity

In the beginning of your ascension journey toward greater spirituality, things are very simple. You may experience light-headedness, spaciness, flightiness, anxiety, getting sudden migraines, over thinking everything, or even getting goosebumps while having enlightening conversations or listening to powerful music (I got them when listening to Bob Marley & Michael Jackson).

This makes sense becderealization-2ause we see a “holy trinity” across many religions and belief systems. Once we get over the idea that this 3D reality is all there is, we open ourselves to a greater power. The power that Jesus tried to impress upon us, is equally available and abundant in every corner of the Earth. In Christianity, you have a trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy spirit. In traditional science, you have the Body, Mind, and Soul. In Psychology: the Id, Ego, and SuperEgo. In New Thought you have the Conscious, Sub-Conscious, and the Superconscious or OverSoul. No matter how you look at it, there are always three aspects. First, we have the Over Soul which represents divine essence & reminds us who we are. Secondly, our Masculine Self represents the mind, the conscious mind, logic, reason, the 5 senses, and physical 3D reality. Last, our Feminine Self represents the higher faculties, the heart, empathic intelligence, general sense of knowing subconscious, creativity, imagination, and our intuition.

When we start to wake up, our “reality” begins to shift and I can totally understand how people get strung out and ruin their lives if they don’t have a clear goal in their ascension. Mass unconsciousness is the most dangerous, life threatening disease we face today. We walk around with a power beyond our own comprehension, and spend most of our lives unaware of it. Luckily we’ve been gifted with meditation techniques and herbal substances that work as deprogrammers. My favorites are these Caramel Apple PopsCookies and Cream Chocolate Bar, and Strawberry Sour Belts (you don’t need a med card to order edibles).

Getting “Too High”

Herbal “drugs” (Marijuana, DMT, Psilocybin Mushrooms, Ayahuasca, Peyote, etc) are heavily abused in my opinion. I would suppose ancient shamans knew their power and only used them for their ascension abilities. I can imagine how people that are unprepared for this massive frequency shift caused by these herbs go “crazy.” I’ve experienced this sort of altered state of consciousness after having an edible, and it’s brutal. If you’re “unconscious” when experiencing this, you may create unwanted suffering in your life through your subconscious beliefs and actions.

Have you ever seen someone that was “too high” starting saying crazy things about dying, or killing other people? Then called an ambulance, just to be told they were having a panic attack or anxiety? What they’re going through is called Derealization or Depersonalization. It is very common, and 10,000 people search about it every month on Google.

The process goes something like this: the individual begins to drift and appear to slow down. The world starts to feel very mechanical, almost like they’re in a dream or watching a youtube video of themselves through their eyes. Their short term memory is shot, and everything feels like a fog where they’re questioning everything – almost to the point of paranoia. Then they begin to feel drowsy and completely out of it. They may experience lack of coordination and want to lay down. Eventually they start talking about feeling like they’re going to die, and maybe even killing others or themselves. They then either pass out or go into a frozen psychosis where they stare at things for long periods of time or freeze mid-action, rambling and their heart is racing. You may feel the urge to call the paramedics or cops – understandably because the person is in a dream-like state. Their vessel (body) is operating solely on subconscious programming, without the ability to judge good over bad. They no longer are able to control or discern their actions.

Some symptoms of Depersonalization or Derealization are:

  • feeling disembodied
  • divorced from oneselfSpiritual revival
  • feeling like there are people around you but you can’t see them
  • feeling apart from everything, unattached, dead, or ascended
  • feeling puppet-like or robot-like, a spectator, not fully in control
  • feeling two dimensional or like you’re made of cotton-wool
  • having mechanical or robotic actions
  • witnessing ones own actions as if in a film or on a TV program
  • not doing one’s own thinking or feeling responsible for what your own actions
  • feeling like you’re avoiding death every second

Deprogramming Without Becoming A “Pothead”

You may see these symptoms in people that have panic attacks, agoraphobia, OCD, or PTSD – which are usually treated with sensory numbing medications in modern medicine. Depersonalization affects the perception of oneself, and derealization is a perceived environmental shift where the world feels unreal and unfamiliar. This unfamiliarity is caused by a change in the way our senses perceive our surroundings.

Mentally, what’s happening is that the brain is having it’s first “break down.” Most people don’t know how to deal with this. It may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes the mind tries to cope with it by setting the body on “auto pilot.” Without the proper information, or a high enough frequency & vibration to understand this process – herbal deprogrammers become very dangerous.

bob-marley-herbI’m sure you’ve come across “potheads” that have found a certain level of comfort in doing nothing. They appear to have found a sort of enlightenment and peacefulness in living a simplistic life. Quite the contrary, they have actually reduced the motivation to seek true enlightenment and made it almost impossible to progress in terms of self-actualization. They have created an insidious, extremely harmful, illusory reality – and can be seen as effectively brain damaged. The use of a deprogrammer in massive quantities – prior to understanding it’s ethereal purpose – can be detrimental.

I personally believe this “too high” psychosis has very little to do with the amount of weed you consumed. It has more to do with your vibe/frequency and any other state altering substances in your system at the time. This psychedelic state is meant solely for the purpose of ascension and greater understanding, and should be used accordingly. As I’ve grown in my spirituality, I’ve found that cannabis has allowed me to communicate with the Earth in a higher dimension. I experienced what it was like to be a piece of an oversoul, and completely detached from the outcomes of this physical 3D existence – a truly eternal being. It has helped me develop a meta view of how the world works and the ‘lila’ we’re all a part of.

Breaking Down Strong Ideologies

Once you break down the mental prison of strong ideologies (religion, nationality, politics, etc) you’ll very soon understand that we are far from alone in this universe. I’m sure you’ve heard that the Earth is a school where we have contracts to complete certain tasks and gather information. We must master ourselves to complete the Earth school, and balance human/physical as well as ET/metaphysical aspects of ourselves. The more we master ourselves, the more powerful we become. It’s like a game… like The Sims. We program ourselves to survive based on what we observe in our environments, and then work to regain spiritual competency, balancing the physical and the metaphysical. As we ascend, we gain courage and fearlessness in our self-exploration – which perpetuates further ascension.derealization-1

We must look at this experience like a kundalini meditation of sorts. Kundalini energy gives access to a new dimension of thoughtless awareness which allows us to push aside obstructions hindering our ascent – like permanent deprogramming. Those obstructions can be anything from perceived stress in a relationship to self-doubt or irrational insecurities. Many people complain that they no longer feel “normal” after a Derealization, Depersonalization, or Kundalini experience. But we need to shift our way of looking at this. Remember, Francis Crick,  father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD (not that I advise doing shrooms) when he deduced the double-helix structure of DNA 50 years ago and won the Nobel Prize-winning.

There is no Depersonalization Cure or Derealization Cure because this isn’t an illness. I am firmly opposed to treating these experiences with prescription medication. My personal opinion is that our school systems should be teaching meditation and self-mastery techniques. An appropriate remedy would be to learn spiritual hygiene, study our ethereal origins, embrace creativity, and to learn to meditate & quiet the mind. To feel “normal” would require nothing to have changed, and the obstructions to remain, keeping us grounded in the lower realms. These experiences are to help us with our ascension and shift our view of reality. We’re always in control, and just expanding our meta view of this Earthly experience. We need to adjust our beliefs to support our ascension and remember we’re of a singular divine source with infinite power and potential. We’re never alone, always expanding, and made of pure love.

“Truth is stranger than fiction.” – Mark Twain

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or trained medical professional. I am not making any recommendations or prescriptions whatsoever. This is simply a recollection of my experience so that it may offer some refuge for those seeking answers on their spiritual journey.

Short Guide to a Long Life

Everyone seems to be searching for a short guide to a long life. After doing some research, I found that a long life seems to be the result of a short list of healthy habits. In 1930, a professor of the Chengdu University discovered Chinese government records from 1827 congratulating Li Ching-Yuen on his 150th birthday, and further documents later congratulating him on his 200th birthday in 1877.

Li_chingYuenLi Ching Yuen began his journey as an herbalist at the age of 10. He gathered herbs in mountain ranges of rural China and learned of their benefits toward longevity. For almost 40 years, he survived on a diet of herbs alone. Herbs such as lingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shoo wu and gotu kola, and rice wine. In 1749, at age 71, he joined the Chinese armies as teacher of martial arts. Li was said to be a much-loved figure in his community. He married 23 times and fathered more than 200 children. Li was able to read and write as a child, and by age ten had traveled in Kansu, Shansi, Tibet, Annam, Siam, and Manchuria to gather herbs. For the first hundred years of his life, he continued at this occupation as an herbalist. He then switched to re-selling herbs gathered by others. He sold lingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shou wu, and gotu kola along with other Chinese herbs, maintaining his diet of solely herbs and rice wine. Other in his village claim to have encountered an even older – 500-year-old man. He taught Qigong exercises and dietary recommendations that would help extend the lifespan to monumental proportions.

On his death bed, Li said, “I have done all that I have to do in this world” as if he’d perfectly calculated the timing of his death. To some degree it seems that he was one with the infinite intelligence that permeates and penetrates all time and space. Those final words held the biggest secret to Li’s long and fulfilling life. In the Western world, we’re made to believe that aging is some sort of curse and our prime is less than 10% of the length of Li’s life. Could you imagine if he spent the remaining 90% of his life thinking he was past his prime? People always tell me that y 20s are my golden years, but frankly I feel quite lost and confused. I’d hate to think of spending my “golden” years trying a bunch of different things I end up quitting and traveling to a bunch of places without anything substantial that impacts the lives of others. It’s mind boggling that this man could survive on herbs and a simplistic lifestyle while most Americans seem to be shoving prescriptions down their throats & treating stress/depression with alcohol and other low vibrational substances – hoping it somehow let’s them live a long and joyful life.
When Li was asked what his secret was to longevity, he said “Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon, and sleep like a dog.” He maintained an inner calmness and peace of mind compounded with breathing exercises, and a lean, high vibrational diet. It’s crazy that the oldest living person in recorded history attributed his life to his state of mind. As technologically advanced and forward thinking the United states is, it’s a shame our life expectancy is only 70-85 years. The idea of someone living over 200 years seems unimaginable. I don’t want to get into conspiracies, that’s an entirely different matter, but it almost seems suspicious that we’re offering so many people free “healthcare” and “food stamps” yet our average life expectancy isn’t even in the top 40 countries in the world.

Maybe the forced 9-5 lifestyle, stresses of debt and taxes, difficulty to acquire food/materials by gathering, polluted air, chemically altered water, GMO food, manipulation through marketing, government propaganda, celebrity culture influencing the masses, and lack of focus on exercise in our culture have something to do with it. The rural Chinese don’t eat refined sugars or flour, or any foods that have been sprayed with pesticides that’s for sure. They aren’t eating fast food, if that even counts as food, and don’t know about all the bad in the world because they aren’t watching it on the news and reading it on the internet all the time. These people don’t eat fatty meats, a very small amount of fish, definitely don’t eat sugary deserts, and of any genetically modified foods whatsoever. There are no antibiotics used on the plants or animals, alcohol or tobacco use. Their diets not only exclude junk food and candy, they compensate by including superfoods and herbs which super power our organs and immune system. I wouldn’t even know how to get half of the things they eat regularly.

Li spent his spare time in nature keeping his mind sharp, practicing breathing techniques, and meditating which are known to improve mental, physical, and emotional health. By keeping things simple, getting proper sleep, and spending a great deal of time in nature under the sun – at peace with oneself, he was able to live an epic life. Relaxing in the sun instantly rejuvenates us so why not do it more often? It feels so great to be on vacation, even if you’re staying with a host family in a hut. A lifetime in the mountains with so much fresh unadulterated oxygen, balanced with perfect mental, spiritual, and physical well-being sounds like something out of a fairytale. The Western lifestyle has its benefits, especially for entrepreneurs and capitalists. I just wish people knew there were other ways to do this thing we call, life.