What I Learned After 100 Hours Of Meditation In 10 Days, Aka Vipassana

Elisabeth Tavierne
Apr 24 · 5 min read

The moment you guys have been waiting for! Drum roll please + thank you ; ) If you are reading this + not quite sure what I’m talking about: this is my last post on a series sharing my experience at Vipassana, a 10 day silent meditation retreat. Links below!

It’s been exactly one month since Vipassana ended. In a way, it feels like a far removed dream. I had been talking about going on Vipassana for so long, + when it finally happened, I didn’t have the experience I expected… so my mind is a little bit like, “did that actually happen?”

Here’s what I expected my experience to look like [based on journeys from people I know]: tons of memories from childhood, childhood traumas released, flashes of profound insight, the hardest thing that I’ve ever done but the most rewarding.

To my surprise, I had zero memories from my childhood [I realized what an incredible, privileged childhood I had] + the overarching takeaway from the 10 days: It’s okay to be okay.

It sounds so weird, but I had [have!] such a hard time coming to terms with this.

After watching Brene Brown: Call To Courage, this feeling “it’s okay to be okay” sunk into me even more. She talks about feeling joy, + how it’s the most vulnerable emotion we experience in our lives.

e are terrified to feel joy. So often we’re afraid to be grateful for what we have, especially in front of people who’ve gone through great trauma + loss because we think it’s insensitive.”

So many people experience great suffering. My heartaches + pain seem so small compared to the traumas of others I know, not to mention those I read about in books/see on the news. I don’t belittle any one else’s suffering, why am I belittling mine?

A follow up thought to it’s okay to be okay was: while you may have not experienced the *flavor of suffering* [this is a Tony Robbins term] as others, doesn’t mean you can’t help + show up with love. Be a good, loving person! It’s as simple as that. ++ be grateful for what you have — you’re on the path, stay on the path.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to — I desire [yet am terrified] to be fully seen. I believe most humans are. I must remember: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Other things I learned//takeaways…

1] Many of you know my left shoulder has been in chronic pain for years. I talked with a Medium about it, + even she could easily tell by my aura that it had to do with stuck traumas + was undergoing healing. My only *flash* of insight that I had was on the fourth day: I discovered the root of my shoulder pain [it has to do with expectations]. Crazy enough, it has been feeling much looser.

2] More meditation, always! I want to sit 30–45 minutes every morning.

3] Use lovingkindness meditations to improve relationships.

4] Move s l o w e r — this is always a takeaway I have after retreats. In this world that glorifies busy it’s so hard to implement. This was a quote on my tea bag during Vipassana that I loved: Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

5] Wedding ideas [lol]. I’ve never been the girl with the Pinterest board that knows exactly what she wants for her wedding. On one of the later days, when I was extremely bored doing the body scans… I was like, “Eff it, I want to think about something!” So, that’s what I did ; ). [PSA, no I’m not engaged.]

6] Really enjoyed the *simple* things [probably because it was the only thing other than meditation + eating that I could do] — loved flossing, tongue scraping, making my bed, seeing how slow I could walk. I will say… I’ve made my bed every day since Vipassana! Flossing… not so much.

7] I want to do a yoga/meditation retreat with my mom.

8] One of Goenka’s stories that I loved portrayed how much we all care about *my + I* — “A friend’s expensive watch falls on the ground + breaks, we say aweee that’s a bummer. Our expensive watch falls on the ground + breaks, we get extremely upset… maybe even cry! It’s the exact same watch! Why different reactions? Because we care so much about the my — my watch. We are so attached to our possessions.” Yikes.

9] Take a silent day [or weekend!] every season to #rechaarg. Including journaling, writing, + reading though ; )

10] I don’t need to accept someone’s “anger” present. If someone’s angry/frustrated/etc, + takes it out on me… it’s easy to marinate on their words + allow it to be trapped in my mind for awhile. Instead: stay calm, + don’t take their negative energy personally!

11] Look up meditation groups in Chicago, or start my own with friends.

12] Loved, loved, loved the technology silence. I didn’t think about my phone at all during the 10 days… which I was shocked by! A few days after getting home, I kept the *technology silence* going + was barely on my phone/instagram. It was so, so nice. I must admit, I’m back to my typical habits. This is another reminder to myself to let go of the addiction.

It’s crazy to think that after 100 hours of meditation [okay, more like 75 if you read *my schedule* — BUT STILL. A LOT OF HOURS!], I really only had a handful of takeaways, right? That’s why I was discouraged after Vipassana… I wanted tons of groundbreaking insights! But the funny thing that I’m starting to realize: Life is pretty simple. We are the ones that complicate it so much.

Less striving, more living… more loving!

Rooting for you,