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Back into the world

Here I am, back in Pokhara village after 11 days of silence in a completely isolated world. Yesterday I couldn’t really enjoy coming back into ‘normal’ life: Normal life with other people then just the group we were with, with internet access, with my phone, with 323 whatsapp messages and 153 emails. But I am slowly coming back… Sipping my first beer in almost a month: can you imagine me not drinking for a month?! Here I am. Just me, my beer and my laptop. And I think I am ready for normal life.

I am very happy I completed this course. It’s been hard and intense. I often thought ’why am I doing this?’ but I now know that is the mind and not me. The mind fucks you up… It wants to rule over your life. That’s what this course is all about. Purifying the mind is the Vipassana goal. It’s not a technique you can learn by reading books. You have to experience it yourself. Observe your breathing and the sensations in your body. Observe reality as it is by seeing the truth inside. Knowing one self. As one practices, one keeps freeing one’s mind from the misery of mental impurities. From the gross, external, apparent truths one slowly penetrates into the ultimate truth of mind and matter.

At least that’s what should happen.

Back up 11 days. Imagine me on the 1st of April… Stressing out, finishing my last story before 10 days of silence. Ready for upload. No internetconnection. Shit, what to do now? Walking aroundand searching for a connection. Finally: one bar. Yay! Trying to upload, still takes too long. I have to leave soon. After 15 minutes: ’Page not found’. Aaaah. This went on for about an hour. Finally got the story out. Only 10 minutes to fill my backpack. What do I bring? Just comfortable clothes, no writing stuff, no Ipad, no books, not even a pen. It was a pretty empty backpack.
I arrive. First person I speak to is a Dutchy. Ofcourse… we’re everywhere. I feel very welcome. Everybody is so nice. Everybody has the same curiosity. And everybody is nervous. We are all wondering what the next 10 days are going be like… 15 girls, 15 boys. Internationals from allaround the world. Only a few hours to talk to each other, tomorrow it will be complete noble silence. Not even eye contact. There is a man area and a woman area. I sleep with 2 other girls in a room (left bed in the photo is mine). It’s strange to share a room with 2 girls and not being able to talk to them… not even being able to smile at them. So we go to sleep, in silence.


At 04:00 the ’gong’ wakes us. Now it’s really going to start… At 04:30 we meet in the main hall to meditate for 2 hours. No breakfast yet. It’s hard, it’s rough, but it’s also very peaceful. For those of you lucky enough not know: at 04:30 the world is still quiet and dark. But slowly the birds start to wakeand they sing their beautiful songs. They sing louder and louder as the sun gets stronger and stronger. We meditate for 2 hours. The first few days I couldn’t concentrate at all. My mind just kept wandering. Sometimes I ‘woke up’ realizing I have been thinking about random stuff instead of concentrating on my breathing and my body. Then you go back in but after 10 minutes the same thing… It’s crazy how your mind keeps on taking over. It wants to be there all the time. It is like it has a will of its own.

At 06:30 it’s breakfast time: a very happy moment.Diner (at 17:00) is only 3 pieces of fruit and some dry cereal. So you can imagine the craving for breakfast… And when it finally comes… Sometimes porridge, sometimes rice, sometimes mashed potatoes… You savor it. After breakfast it starts again… 1 hour of group sitting (meditation without changing your posture, veeeery hard in the beginning), 5 minutes of rest, followed by another 2 hours of meditation.


At 11:00 it’s lunchtime: again a very happy moment. Food and rest for 2 hours. Time to shower, to take a little nap or just to relax and watch the amazing views. I was so lucky with the views: a big lake and snowy mountain peaks surrounding it. Everyday I became more aware and grateful for the simple, obvious things.

Unfortunaly it was very misty on the last day when I was able to have my phone and take photos. But in the morning, with clear sky you could see all the snowy mountain peaks, amazing!



And then rest time is over… at 13:00 I go back to my little cushion, back into my inner body. 1,5 hour of meditating, 5 minute rest, 1 hour of group sitting (again! but after a few days I could manage to sit for an hour without moving), 5 minutes rest, and… another 1,5 hour of meditation. From 13:00 till 15:00 it is so hot that the only sensation I can feel is heat, heat and heat. This is when it becomes really hard. Will I be able to just observe and not react? Sounds simple but it’s not so simple. Just feel the heat and don’t move, just think ‘it comes and it will go away again’. Just be and accept all. It is really hard.

Dinnertime comes at 17:00, another very happy moment. 3 pieces of fruit and some puffed rice. I enjoy every little bite. You know there will be no more food until 06:30 the next morning. Every bite is delicious! I really enjoy dinnertime, partly because I know that the hardest hours are over. Only 1 more hour of meditation left, from 18:00 till 19:00. Group sitting, but hey, it’s only for one hour…This particular hour always went really well.

Every day from 19:00 till 20:30 we had ’Dhamma class’. We watched movies where the teacher, mr. S.N. Goenka explains the technique and stories behind Dhamma. They were very interesting and helpful for the next day. And also no mediation for 1,5 hour… what a relief!

20:30 and only half an hour before the day comes to an end. Half an hour of meditation, of course, but this is very relaxed. Half an hours is like a walk in the park now. At 21:30 it is bedtime. I am ready for my 6 hours of rest… Rest? Wow what a dreams! I dreamed like crazy! And I remember them so well…These hours of ‘rest’ were amazing… And then the ‘gong’ would wake us at 04:00 and we do it all again.

The writing might sound really heavy. And that’s good: because it was. But it’s 100% worth it! I am so happy I completed the course. Now it’s up to me to apply it into my daily life. It will be hard. I plan to meditate every morning and evening, and maybe do another course next year. We will see what it brings.

Some people say this experience changed their whole life. I don’t know if it will change my whole life. I do not think that’s something you can say after 2 days. A little seed has been planted and now it’s time to let the seed grow into a big tree. Only I can do that. I will have to keep practicing. But I believe it will change my life, and it will change the way I participate in life.
I have noticed that I feel my inner body much more since I’m back. All the sensations are flowing through my body and I actually feel them. But this also will only be possible if I keep on practising Vipassana…

I can highly recommend everybody to do a Vipassana course! If everybody would learn this technique and apply this in their life I’m sure the world would be so much friendlier and more peaceful. They have courses all over the world and it’s donation based. At the end of your course, if you have benefited from the experience, you are welcome to donate for the coming course, according to your volition and your means. If you want to know more about this beautiful technique read about it on the Dhamma website:

May all beings be happy :)


8 reacties

  1. Wessel wrote:

    Interessant verhaal om te lezen. Top dat je een blog bent begonnen met zoveel gereis

  2. Connie wrote:

    Heel mooi,interessant om te lezen. Je bent een schrijfster Lisanne. Geniet nog van je tijd daar, ik geniet van je ervaringen.

  3. Anne wrote:

    Zo trots ik jou! Kan na het lezen van dit fantastische verha niet geloven dat je dit hebt gedaan!

  4. Hidde wrote:

    Wow Lis! Ontzettend trots op je! Heel leuk en duidelijk en duidelijk opgeschreven ook. Way to go babe! Kus

  5. mam wrote:

    You dit it girl….je mag trots zijn op jezelf :) Dit ga je nooit meer vergeten…Een prachtige ervaring.
    Nu genieten in de bergen schat…

  6. René L wrote:

    Wow Lis, overweldigend verhaal. Ik probeer het te bevatten, maar het gaat moeizaam. En dan denken we hier dat we het zwaar hebben. Ik vind het moeilijk om te verwoorden wat ik voel en vind dat jij je ervaring prachtig heb geschreven. Go go baby, we denken aan je! Dikke kussszzzz