You can watch people’s hair grow! You forget your passwords. But before I try to tell about my experience I need first to tell you, it will nothing like yours or mine... my next time. It all depends on the day, your karma, your body and your own life experiences. If I do it again, and yes, I will… it will be totally different, and yet, not unfamiliar. Now planning on a 30-day in the next two years(came sooner, April 2016!). I went eager hoping to deepen my practice, and maybe experience the jaunas while pulling up deeper hidden sankaras. I had just heard my sister committed suicide and watched a friend who was dying in hospice of hepatitis B cancer pass with little wisdom or insight the week before. All of this was unexpected, but that it with most of life. A 20-day Vipassana meditation is only old students, so it is very quiet, and nice with responsible meditators cleaning up the dorms daily with no laziness one normally sees with new students. Basically, for those unfamiliar, you are training the mind to accept that all life is impermanent, starting with sensations where all misery originates. I started in, able to meditate most of the day wherever we wanted, except the evening sits from 6-9 pm which were held in dhamma hall which included a detailed one hour talk about what one is doing. Starting with 7 days of anapana, watching the feeling of the breath just at the entrance of the nose in an effort to make the mind concentrated. This gives one the unique ability to pull up deeper previous hidden sankaras, when you do start scanning Day 8. I used only the dhamma hall and the pagoda cells alternating sometimes with a walk outside if the mind was hooked on something. One issue that kept reappearing in my head was something when I returned never materialized, so I was making misery unfounded. I rarely found it to have traumatic hooks on things, but more like an endless loop playing in my head that I could not seem to drop. Although Geonka, said to disregard dreams as subconscious helplessness, Day 9 night dreams to me exhibited an issue, I thought mentally was gone, but obviously the body held a different idea. It woke me up, I replayed the whole dream and it all fell into place and I went to my pagoda cell early that morning, awake with happy release. The brain will have learned that this process is good for you and then just pulls to do it more.
I had another dream that seemed to be a self-guided warning that my anger will kill me if continued. Scary in dream form, but once awake I easily analyzed it. Generally, with my knee pain my samadi was not as usual, but with learned equanimity, I felt no remorse at where I was at any time. This was really a first real sign of being equanimous, where I could later tell looking back why under pain I did not want to run away, instead solve the problem as best as I could at that given moment, so I could continue moving part by part observing sensations. My body/mind knew wisdom could be found there, which also pulls you back to sit more. I just adjusted my sitting posture, trying kneeling, moving my right leg higher to undo the cause of years of sitting improperly and knowing chairs are available, if it was worse than imagined. At no point was masochism involved in this wisdom. The comparing mind was never involved, one took things as they are which is pretty much how one should treat life. As far as eating, one eats less and less because it only affects the quality of meditation, and you are way past the idea with food as an answer to pleasure if you are dealing with feeling the digestion of each meal, daily. Sleep too, begins to be less and you don’t feel the need to run to bed to escape what you doing with mind and body. In the whole 20 days, I only missed three hours of meditation because of a little more sleep or walking to break a thought pattern, making to sit down at the latest 4:30 am until 9pm, with the normal breaks. And the bonus of seeing your own death as a reality that you can't run away from. I recommend highly to take a 10-day to see all the self-created dukkha.