How Vipassana Meditation Changed My Life by Margret Young
Vipassana Meditation means seeing things as they really are. It means that you are not just looking at things, but really seeing what they are all about. Seeing through the mask, seeing the truth. Ultimately, this path leads to wisdom and with this wisdom comes that stress, anxiety and depression fall away and a relaxed person is left, who is unconcerned with the little problems of every day life, but knows how to handle them with wisdom.
This all sounds like a passage from the I Ching, but it is not. It really is what Vipassana not only claims to be, but is. If you can get yourself to practise diligently, not just on a 10 day course but daily thereafter, also helping others and sitting more and more courses, you will find this is the truth.
It is a bit like a small child asking the question: why? Why are things the way they are? Why am I supposed to wear this and behave like that? Why do we eat the things we eat and say the things we say? As an adult who has learned to simply accept these things as a matter of fact, it is difficult to answer these questions. Also, we do not like to think about them and their possible consequences. What would happen if we suddenly decided to change our lifestyle, our clothes, what we eat and drink, what we value and care for? Our environment, our parents, family and friends would be shocked! You can’t do that! You are supposed to ….etc. They would pressure us back into the way we are accustomed to.
But this is exactly what Vipassana does, it asks the question WHY? And you have to face it and answer it. And then you have to ask yourself if that aspect of life is really where you want to be. Does it really help you. And then you can make a decision if you wish to change that in your life or not. It asks the question if you are really doing something because YOU want it, or because OTHERS want it. Your choice, your truth.
Vipassana meditation changed my life completely, and that is no understatement. I am now a much happier and relaxed person, while before I was depressed, suicidal and very stressed. I had panic and anxiety attacks and really did not know what to do with myself. On top of that, I was ashamed of myself. This is not to say that you can only do Vipassana meditation when you are are wreck like that. You can do Vipassana even when you are already rather happy, and still find a lot of benefits. But then again, this post is about my personal story and not yours.
What has changed me is seeing the truth. I used to go out a lot, drink a lot and even use some soft-drugs like most people of my age. After Vipassana I realised I was just doing these things to be part of the group, to be accepted. I could not love or accept myself unless others did so. The drink and drugs was a way out of my misery. For a moment everything seemed ok and I did not need to worry any more. For a little while I did not feel the depression and anxiety. Now I don’t need these things any more and I feel better than I every felt.
Unfortunately this also had some negative effects. I lost friends because I did not go out any more. They said I had become boring and not fun. But my real friends stayed and my relationship with them deepened. We had fun in other ways and they loved it as much as me. When they wanted to go to the pub, they went without me. When they wanted to spend time with me, they did. Slowly people began to accept but in the beginning it was hard to be constantly tugged to try and get you to fall back into your old ways.
The most difficult challenge has been my parents. Due to Vipassana I realised that what I had been doing all my life is to try and live up to their standards. They wanted me to be one way or the other, and I always tried to comply, failing miserably because it was just not me. And then they would pounce on me telling me I was a failure, etc. This in turn made me very depressed and suicidal. Sometimes I would get myself up and try again but to no avail.
Now you must know that I have an IQ of 160 and hold two masters degrees in Science and Business. So I don’t think I’m so dumb that I cannot succeed. What I did not do very well though was to understand other people and how they operated. This is why I could never really succeed in what my parents wanted for me.