Friends: At the Vipassana retreat, I decided to leave Facebook for an indeterminate period. Please leave me your email to stay in touch. (And wish me luck!)
The rationale might sound annoyingly self-helpy, but I so want to share the benefits of Vipassana that I’ll take a stab at a summary.
First: life is suffering, and suffering is caused by craving or aversion to impermanence. We all die. Peace–learning to live well–starts with starving the dangerous monkey-mind. Day three of just sitting on my pained ass trying to focus on my breath, I realized that my rapid-fire like/dislike mental habit pattern is strengthened by Millennial information flows that exercise my reactive brain. I understood on a physical level how anything engineered to create attachment to self, or to see things as I want them to be instead of as they really are, is literally hurtful.
By equanimously observing arising and passing sensations, one starts clearing away old garbage to walk a taller, lighter, and with an easier smile. If I’ve dedicated my life to a stable climate for the good of fellow beings, my first responsibility is to my own happiness. How will I prevent others’ heartbreak if I keep identifying with my own? Vipassana teaches that “When we suffer, we do not keep our misery limited to ourselves; instead, we keep distributing it to others.” It’s like putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.
Detachment isn’t not caring. On the contrary: reacting less means acting more on behalf of what matters. You save your life and countless others by observing the road instead of worrying about bugs on the windshield. I want to be an excellent driver who can take busloads of partying people to great places.
All in all, this is just a small way to reallocate energy to developing the happiness, wisdom, compassion, equanimity and determination to navigate change, global and personal. Meditation, work, and friendships are going to fill the saved time. I’m going to have my password changed and will check in once in a while for messages.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m also one of those people keeping post offices open; snailmail rocks. And consider going to Vipassana! There are beautiful centers all around the world, and it’s totally free. It might also end up being the best thing you ever did for yourself.