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The Mindfulness Experiment

I tried an experiment with Mindfulness! Why did I do it? Because I believe It's important to try something new and positive once-in-a-while because sometimes some experiences can change your perspective so strongly that it starts to impact your entire being. Some of these experiences are sad and devastating. But some other times, they are highly positive and motivating. 



A little while back, I had the opportunity to dip my toes in one such absolutely life-changing experience. An experience that has changed the way - the manner in which I do my work and live my life. It made me realize the potential of each moment and how much more happiness and satisfaction we all can achieve in every single moment. This was an experience that I first saw as challenging and difficult for the mind to patiently endure, which is why many people judge much before they have tasted the grapes in this case, and end up completely giving the chance to experience something that is truly extraordinary. 



This opportunity came to me in my life at a time when I was on a soul-searching solo trip. It came in the form of learning Vipassana (The art of Mindfulness and Meditation)  in the beautiful snow-surrounded valley of Ladakh, India, In the gigantic Himalayan region. On my solo trip to Leh, I chanced to find a program that allowed me to experience and learn the art of mindfulness in a rigorous 5-day program at the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC, Leh led by Ven. Bhikkhu Sanghasena). And, the experience of this program was absolutely rejuvenating. 



This opportunity allowed me to experience a sense of being and appreciating life in every single moment. It comprised of breathing exercises, some yoga, trekking, and the art, most importantly, of mindful meditation. At this point, you may ask “so where was the difficult part of all this?”. 

Well, the difficult or challenging part of this was that you have to refrain from talking for the complete duration of the program. Which meant - Silence. Absolute silence!

No contact with the outside world whatsoever. All talking is restricted only to you and yourself. No phones, no iPads, no reading, no computers, no INTERNET! And it seemed all the more daunting because I was traveling all by myself-so the only source of motivation was also just me! And as I decided to take this challenge and explore it further, I informed the people who are most connected to me that I was switching-off my connection to the social world for the next five days. And, since I am the chirpy talkative kind of individual, people were obviously skeptical about me joining this program. Nonetheless, I went ahead and signed up. And Boy! What an experience it was! I am so happy and so proud that I did this for myself. And the results are what I am still living and continuing to experience, and they are simply brilliant. I learned so much from the silence and experienced a new sense of calm, I had never experienced before this. It was totally worth it!



The program structure of the mindfulness program was very well designed and was led by seasoned monks from around the world. The food they serve is locally grown and very simple yet tasty. And the staff and members of the organization are all always smiling and courteous. The program saw people of different nationalities and was led by a Buddhist monk of America origin, famously known amongst the Buddhist community as - Bhante Rahula. During the course, I also had the opportunity to interact one-on-one with the founder of this great institution - Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena. This experience was simply amazing. His happy demeanor, the willingness to struggle for the betterment of society, I'm just glad to see all contribute towards his powerful aura. The entire organization is driven by an optimistic approach and has done wonders for the social and financial welfare of the Ladakh Region.



At the time of enrolling myself in the program, I would consider myself a hardly-able-to-sit-patiently-for-a-meditation kind of a person. I had made many attempts, but 10 minutes was my best by then. But, I know for sure that this program was effective for me because by the end of it I was meditating for 3 hours at a stretch. And I still continue to practice mindful meditation. The program allowed me to calm down, and synchronize with my thoughts. It almost felt as if I had cracked the code to Mindfulness and Meditation, and the feeling was brilliant. I learned about and practiced the art of mindful eating, mindful conversations, mindful walking, and how to be mindful in almost everything. Mindfulness has enabled me to connect and engage with the world so much better. I share these insights with as many people as I can through my interactions via various different mediums. 

Learning the art of mindfulness and meditation in the peaceful and beautiful valley of Ladakh region, in a program run by a social-welfare institution (MIMC Leh), with the proper guidance of a teacher, and being able to grasp the concept and practice it - all put together was a life-altering experience for me. It was when I learned about Mindfulness, that I truly understood the importance of engaging with “NOW” - This Present Moment. And all the techniques I could use to bring my awareness, not to some memory or future anticipation - but rather to this present moment.

Through this program, I learned Mindfulness and how to Meditate effectively, the importance of calming your mind, and the true essence of happiness in Life. I have used this extensively in my own work, life, and interaction with people. And I can’t, stress upon it enough as to how important it is for everyone to learn the art of Mindfulness and Meditation. 

My experience was nothing short of a miracle in my life! Go find your own miracle. The art of finding it lies in the art of Mindfulness.


You can find more information about MIMC, Leh at the link given below - You can even choose to sign up for a short program at Mahabodhi too. :)


The Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) is a great example of one man's vision turning into reality. Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena established the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center in 1986 to offer both spiritual instructions as well as desperately needed humanitarian services to impoverished people in the remote land of Ladakh.


Comments

  1. After going through your experience in mindfulness and meditation I am almost compelled to have such an experience ,may be it will also change my perception and handling of day to day affairs .I feel it will certainly give me more peace of mind and lower my stress levels. I can't make s trip to Leh but I am sure you can help me or others like me in giving some fine tips, in how mindfulness can be achieved through meditation. I tried doing the same but couldn't concentrate. I would like to take some tips from you in how to meditate or alternately I will request you why don't you formally teach this noble art.
    Adarsh

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